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P. Saravanaraja p1

READERSVOICE.COM aims to collect a few interesting reading tips. The publisher of Nila Comics  Mr P. Saravanaraja wanted to introduce a classic Tamil story to younger readers. So he produced the comic Ponniyin Selvan. This is based on the 1951 epic novel by Kalki, set in the Chola dynasty. The story was rewritten for the comic, and then translated to English by P. Saravanaraja’s 17 year old daughter, to make the language appeal to younger readers. Other translations are due to follow, including Japanese.

Ponniyin Selvan [The Son of Ponni] tells the story of the life and times of the future Chola emporer Rajaraja Chola I. The Chola Empire covered Southern India in the 10th and 11th centuries. A lot of Tamil literature was written, and many beautiful Hindu temples were created at this time.

The novel Ponniyin Selvan was written by Kalki, the pen name of R. Krishnamurthy (1899- 1954). It was made up of five volumes or 2210 pages. The novel is a perennial favorite in the Tamil language. It has been translated into English and is a suspenseful epic known for its witty dialogue.

The comic is influenced by Disney animation and traditional Tamil art. The first volumes in English can be bought on the Nila Comics website, nilacomics.com. To get an idea of what the comics look like, see the first limited animation based on the comic on Youtube. 

READERSVOICE.COM:  You said in one interview that you liked the story of Ponniyin Selvan since you were a child. What is it you liked the most about the story about life in the 10th Century Chola period?

P. SARAVANARAJA: The nature, the greenery, the valour and straightforwardness of the kings. Especially, the story-telling method of the legendary writer Kalki is very impressive.

RV: How many volumes of the comics have you published so far and how have they been received in your home state of Tamil Nadu or other states in India?

P.S: All five volumes have been released in Tamil . It’s been well received by the parents. They are excited to see this, because most of the parents would have studied the root story during their childhood. So now they’ve found a way to reach out the story to their children.

There is a fear among the parents about whether the next generation will keep in touch with our culture, language and history. Our book is one of the solutions for the same, which they recognise.

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