Thursday, January 22, 2009

TPH #062 Inspector Azad aur Bagula Bhagat

First it was the article in The Times of India, and then Toonfactory mentioned this fact in his post on Mr. Abid Surti that Inspector Azad was such a popular Indian comic character during seventies that a few filmmakers (including Mr. Raj Kapoor) had planned to make a film based on this character. The project couldn't be realised due to some reason but that gives enough idea of the popularity of the character.

Inspector Azad was a comic strip which was a regular publication in some magazines (notably the famous Hindi crime monthly 'Satyakatha'). But I never came across this strip. Didn't have sightest of clue about the comic book incarnation of the strip either.

As luck would have it, a few months ago, I found this rare comic of Inspector Azad in one old book shop. But unfortunately, it didn't live up to the hype created by the TOI article in my curious mind. I am not only disappointed by this Surti creation but actually disliked it for a number of things. It is a very poor comic from the story point of view.

Notorious thug Cheetu Pindhari is released from the prison after serving 5 years for his crimes. Azad wishes him an honest life here after but Cheetu has some other plans in his mind. He quickly gathers few small time crooks and after training them in various criminal activities, turns them into a gang of killers. The gang works under the deceptive cover of a group of 'Saadhus'. A number of heinous crimes are committed by this criminal team before the police could suspect them. Then, in an encounter the boss Cheetu is killed and most of the gang member are arrested. The story ends.

What is most disturbing is the way the story writer elaborates on the violent sequences. It is hard to believe that it is a comic expected to be read by a majority comprising of children. The cold blooded murders of men and women is illustrated in minute details, something good comic writes always avoid to display. Emphasis is laid more on the acts of the villain as though he is the main public puller. The hero has nothing much to do except for challenging the villain in the climax and finally be saved by the police chief who appears in the scene at the right moment for him.

Mr Surti's obsession with Dacoit stories is well known. If he could make it a bit more pleasant and balanced by bringing few more less bloody incidences and more interesting characters. Sadly it doesn't happen.

The present story once again reminds us of the hapless condition of Indian Comics. Read it yourself and let us know if you have any other impression about this.

Writer: Abid Surti
Illustrator: Ram Mohan or Pratap Mullick (the two worked on Azad stories, don't know who dealt with this one)

(33 pages, 1000 px wide, 7 MB)


  1. The violence in the Bahadur Indrajal stories was very gory & disturbing too. I believe they were written by the same author.

  2. Wow,That looks amazing. Thanks for this.

  3. TPH the scans are of high quality along with neat and clean photoshop work.
    Well,my opinion differ strongly with yours on script quality of the comic.In my view the script is quite taut and thrilling,illustrations (Pratap Mulick) are descriptive and of superior quality,which blends quite nicely with the story.There are not such objectionable violence descriptive scenes,keeping in mind that these strips were used to be published in the crime magazine 'Satyakatha',hence were out of reach of kids.Also they were written by Abid keeping in mind the taste of parent magazine.
    Basically the Surti story is based on the same plot over which a popular movie "Sungharsh"(1968,Dilip Kumar,Vaijyanti Mala) was made,which itself was inspired by a novel of Mahashweta Verma on 'Thugs Of India'.
    In the same context,if reviewed minutely,very early Bahadur Indrajal comics also use to contain even more gorier scenes(Ref:'The Blood Sucker',Issue No.270),so if any objection is raised on Bahadur series of Indrajal comics then it is more understandable.
    Surti injected few more much objectionable punches in Indrajal comics,for example the 'live in' relationship of Bahadur and Bela,which was rightly out of way of strong Indian middle class mentality of that time.

  4. Thank you very much dear friends for sharing your opinions and views. I'll put my further thoughts on this topic through a separate post.

    Thanks Ashish.

  5. hi guys, Seriously why not set up a yahoogroup so that we can discuss the comics in an organized way? Otherwise, as commenters we are just addressing the owner of the blog instead of the entire indrajal/indian comics community. :)

  6. Hey TPH, great post, I can't tell you how thankful I am for this post as I was looking for some Inspector Aazad Comics for Chitrakathaa.

    Check out my Chitrakathaa blog, I have started a group Chitrakathaa on Google and would like you to join it as your tips and comments will help us make Chitrakathaa an even better and comprehensive documentary

  7. Heah Phantom Head, thanks for posting one of my favorite indian heroes inspector aazad this time around.

    I agree that there were some gore in few of those comic panels, but I guess Aabid would have like to make it more in line with the Bolly movies released that time around.

    By the way, don't see any covers in the scan, were they any in your copy. which comics was this released on ?


  8. Sorry guys for long absence from the blog world.

    kk: I think it's a good idea. I support your initiative. Start it, I'll join.

    Toonfactory: Thanks. Happy to note that.

    I would love to join your group. It's a privilege to share thoughts with the likes of you.

    Rafiq Raja: Thanks and welcome. It seems Azaad was really popular.

    I also think that hindi movies of those times were on Mr Surti's mind when he created such characters and stories.

    Sadly, the comic is not having any cover and bad still there is no clue to the publishers inside. :-( Sorry.