MUJIB MORE THAN JUST A SUPERHERO
With the initiative of CRI (Center for Research and Information), two talented cartoonists, Syed Rashad Imam Tanmoy and ABM Salahuddin Shuvo, started 'Mujib' – the first ever graphic novel series in Bangladesh. It is based on the autobiography of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman- Unfinished Memories. The series will have 12 issues, released with around a 2 month gap between each, in the form of a comic book. They will later be compiled into one big novel. Each issue is released after being approved by the Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina.
With the booming of the cartoon industry over the years, the art had caught the attention of many and is thought to be a perfect medium to get messages across to the youth. Tanmoy and Shuvo are both cartoonists of the national daily The Dhaka Tribune, and are known as pioneers in the field of cartoons.
The duo has had the opportunity to work with old archived photographs of the Father of The Nation, though bringing him out in the cartoon form has been a challenge. "It's a huge opportunity for us to be able to do this. But it is also a very big responsibility. Having to visualise Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in our own way, and then drawing him out—as exciting it is, it's also very challenging. Most of the photos are black and white and Shuvo, being the colourist, has to re-imagine the skin tone, the hair colour etc," says Tanmoy. The design and colours of the pages have also been made to fit the mood and tones of the stories.
The first issue of Mujib was published and released on March 17, 2015, on Sheikh Mujib's birthday. The stories in the series all circle around Sheikh Mujib's life from birth till his mid-thirties. "Mujib, the graphic novel, depicts how he became the Father of the Nation. We will see him grow into that person who saved our country," says Tanmoy. This journey is inspiring the two boys greatly, so far. "We hadn't read the autobiography before this project. Reading it now, every time we refer to it, gives us goose-bumps. Having the opportunity to draw it out into reality is helping us grow, learn and be motivated ourselves," he says.
Thanks to the CRI, these two talented individuals, and the publishers, Radwan Mujib Siddiq, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's grandson, and State Minister of Power, Nasrul Hamid, we now have our first graphic novel series, and on someone who is more than just a superhero to this nation.