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)