Filmmaker J.S. Nandhini, currently working on a Tamil graphic novel, titled “Sivappu Kal Mookuthi”, describes the medium as a good platform for storytellers to share their works with the audience if it could not be translated on to the screen.
“When you write a script, there’s no guarantee that it will get made into a film. I wrote a fantasy thriller way before I made my first film, but it never got made due to several reasons. Another script I wrote faced a similar fate too,” Nandhini said.
“As a storyteller I craved for a medium to tell my stories just the way I wanted to see them. I thought why not talk to a few artists and try to convert these stories into graphic novels because it’s a good medium for storytellers like me to express in; so I came up with a new story idea and started writing it,” she added.
Best known for her work in Tamil romantic-drama “Thiru Thiru Thuru Thuru”, she feels the film industry and graphic novel industry “are not going hand in hand”.
“We have comic books on characters such as Gabbar Singh and Don, but these were made after the release of the films. I feel there’s still a gap between the film industry and the graphic novel industry. I want to bridge that gap with my graphic novel, which I hope to make it as a film as well in future,” said Nandhini.
What else interested her to make a graphic novel?
“I realised there aren’t many contemporary Tamil graphic novels. There are several books and novels on folk tales such as ‘Ramayana’, ‘Mahabharata’ and ‘Chandamama’, but there was a dearth of modern stories in the format. The stories like you see in films are seldom to be found in a graphic novel,” she said.
“All these reasons interested me because I have seldom seen a Tamil graphic novel. I thought this is a lovely medium to bring out new stories. I thought if I’m successful in this endeavour, it might pave way for making ‘Sivappu Kal Mookuthi’ into a film,” said Nandhini.
But graphic novels are a “costly venture”, she admits.
“Artists are really costly to hire. It takes a lot of effort,” she said. About her experience, she said: “I spoke to many artists, borrowed money from friends and also took a loan. I did all that because I wanted my stories to come out.”
How does Nandhini plan to publish her novel, which she intends to complete by July?
“I’m not a publisher; so I might have to self-publish it with the help of some graphic novel publishing portals and self-publishing companies, which aid independent novelists. I might try that or if some publisher likes my work and wants to publish it, then I’ll probably see how it goes,” she added.
“I also plan to release it as an e-book for i-Pads, on Kindle and on Android-based devices. You can read it on the go. I will also release a limited number of print editions because the cost is humongous and I’m not rich enough to afford that,” she said.
Nandhini also plans to release her graphic novel in English and has registered its title as “Girl with a Red Nose Ring”.
Is there a market for Tamil graphic novels?
“If you ask ardent Tamil comic book lovers, they’re ready to read even translated Australian books, cowboy stories and Phantom novels. When I started researching through online communities, many were thrilled about the idea of an original graphic novel in Tamil,” she said.
Nandhini, who doesn’t recommend this idea to all aspiring writers who want to pitch their stories to producers, says “only if you’re a good writer as well as an artist, you can try this approach”.