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"Mujib" Graphic Novel: "My biggest challenge was drawing young Mujib and getting it accepted."

based on unfinished memoirwas written by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman while serving as a political prisoner in Dhaka Central Jail. Mujib (2022) It recounts Bangabandhu’s journey “from childhood to political awakening”. An initiative by the Center for Research and Information (CRI), this graphic novel series is a visual treat for readers.

Daily Star Books spoke with renowned cartoonist Syed Rashad Imam Tanmoy about the book’s vision and methodology.

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What inspired you to design a graphic novel about the life of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman?

When CRI approached me with this idea, I was blown away. Having grown up reading comics based on the lives of icons like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, I have always had the urge to create something that swears the legacy of a local hero to the common people, especially children. Through Mujib, we were able to pay tribute to our national hero, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The name had more resonance than grenades and rifles.

How did you choose the stories for each book?

I was asked to base a visual story unfinished memoir And I liked it too. The novel’s screenwriter, Siddiq Ahmed, and I had to scan the book thoroughly before finding the cases we wanted to include because of the variety of stories to choose from.

While there were options to pick up on political and historical events from his life, we both thought starting with his youth would help young readers find out more. We wanted to focus on his historical milestones and reflect his human side as well. Presenting everything in an exciting way was the most important thing for us.

How did you translate such a complex political/historical event into a book for young readers?

When we stepped into this initiative, we expected our readers to be adolescents around the age of 12. Both young and old readers can explore, Mujibour target audience has always been teenagers in this country.

We like to treat children naively. But their maturity and knowledge at such a young age never fails to amaze me.

There was no room to change the history of this country and its Founding Fathers. However, I tried to portray unpleasant events such as bloodshed as gently as possible.

What aspects of Bangabandhu’s personality did you want to reflect through this series?

While reading about Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, I began to admire many of his unknown qualities that were apparent from his words and poems. His love and vision for this country will always come first. But the way he stayed away from all sorts of negativity and subtly presented even his saddest experiences is what I love most about him.

How did you plan the visual style, color palette, and overall tone?

My biggest challenge was figuring out the face of the young Bangabandhu and getting it accepted. Even though the prime minister himself approved the visuals, my anxiety never left my side for a moment.

I remember one incident from my first book launch event. After releasing the book, a woman approached me and asked, “Where is Bangabandhu’s mole?”

I realize that this journey will not be easy. I got a lot of feedback from my readers, especially younger readers, through social media and personal encounters. Over time, we corrected our mistakes and these books began to gain a following among readers of all ages.

I always aim to be as accurate as possible, but drawing a direct portrait detracts from the beauty of Bangabandhu’s portrayal in comics. Presenting him in a way was something I always had to keep in mind.

Tell me about the research you had to do for this book.

From setting to background, explore every film set in the 1950s and beyond to understand what society was like at the time, how people dressed and what their personalities were like I had a need.

The Bangabandhu Memorial Museum has been of great help in our research and research. unfinished memoir He had already proved the truth of the case. However, it took a lot of research and research to get the tone, social and political context right and convey it to the reader.

What’s next for this graphic novel series?

The project was conceptualized by Radwan Mujib Siddiq, Director of CRI. So far our journey has been admirable. We have a great work structure where Siddiq Ahmed first marks the stories he thinks are most suitable for young readers and then develops the script together. and handed over to the editor, Shiv Khmer Sir, for corrections if necessary.

So far, we have released 10 editions of this graphic novel series and have been extremely pleased with the response we have received from our readers. We are discussing designing a compilation that will bring together all the episodes released from this series. I hope we can keep up with our vision.