Welcome back to TCU. This Post was supposed to to be done in as a Pongal Special. Blame it on the hectic schedule of Yours Truly for delaying this post. Lets get on with the current post and how it got developed.
After meeting Lion & Muthu comics editor Mr S.VIjayan, Yours Truly was back in Chennai for the Book Exhibition 2010 and and as usual, bought many books (some of them are yet to be read). However, in Vanathi Pathippagam stall, a pleasant surprise was awaiting TCU. There was a big book on the top shelf which was not reachable (even for a person as tall as Yours Truly) and when the shop person said “Sir, it is a children’s book, you may not want it”, my joy was doubled and when TCU saw the cover, what a pleasant surprise it turned out to be. The tile was மர்ம மாளிகையில் பலே பாலு (Balu, The Brilliant in a Secret Bungalow), which was a collector’s edition of 10 of the best ever stories by Vandumama (வாண்டுமாமா). Immediately i rang up to TCU’s partners in crime (Dr 7 & Ayyampalayam) and they asked, nay, ordered to buy a copy each for themselves. TCU Bought one more additional copy for the Great MF. The joy of each one of them was seen in their replies when TCU Mailed the Book Exhibition photos to them on the same day.
For those who came in late, Vandumama (Uncle for the Kids–Pronounced as Vaa-ndu-Maa-Maa) is the Pseudonym of Mr V. Krishna Murthy who is inarguably the BEST author for Children of all ages. He is credited with Many “First”s in Tamil literature for Children of all ages. For more information on him, kindly read Mr Ayyampalayam Venki Sir’s excellent post on him. For the Non Tamilians, Here is one thing to make you people understand how good he was. Many a Hindi ComiRade will say that TINKLE is the best children’s magazine and there may be some arguments on it. Still, TINKLE rules. Right? Now, imagine a magazine ten times better than TINKLE and you will end up with Poonthalir and that magazine is the brainchild of Vandumama. In fact, his presence made sure that the famed KALKI group launched a children's magazine of their own in the 60’s. The interesting fact is, Vandumama wanted to be an artist and tried to get a job on those lines. Lack of opportunities denied us a great artist in making. Instead, we were blessed with an author who had a keen eye towards art and hence most of his stories feature great artwork. Here are the photos.
Couple of weeks passed on and while having a telephonic conversation with the M.D of Vanathi Publishers, TCU got the most important mobile number of Vandumama. For that, one must always appreciate Vanathi Chettiyar for having enough time to converse with people of interest, in-spite of the fact that he runs a big publishing house and invariably has little time to spend with others. It was close to 11.30 in the morning and before 2 PM, TCU was visiting the House of the famed author. (The timings are mentioned because, TCU was starting yet another tour on the same day). Here is an exclusive Photo of my childhood hero.
|20th Jan 2010 - Latest PhotoGraph of Mr V. Krishna Murthy: AKA - Kausikan – Vandu Mama – V.K. Murthy : வாண்டுமாமாவின் லேட்டஸ்ட் போட்டோ|
It was a pleasant visit and later on when Yours truly realised that from where TCU was working for almost 5 Years, Vandumama’s house was a stone’s throw away. Yes sir, it was that much close and TCU was passing on his house without even realising that. Another matter to haunt was, before his house, there was a preview Theatre and TCU used to spend most of the time there watching the previews of many, many movies. Here are some more photos.
15th Jan 2010 – VanduMama Receiving TN Govt Award from Mr Anbazhagan
A Book Shelf Completely Dedicated to The Books Authored By VanduMama
However, The conversation that TCU planned was not to be shot on video as the condition about Vandumama’s health made it sure that has to be postponed to a later on date. Yes, about 10 years ago, an operation on his throat made sure that h has lost his voice by 50% and even though he was conversing now, his talks are more like the way Late C.M of Tamil Nadu Mr MGR used to make. you have to be pretty sure to understand what he is saying. Only those who are accustomed to that can do it.
Hence the video interview will be done in the near future. For the uninitiated, here is the complete biography of Vandumama. Here is somebody who has dedicated his entire life for the development of the children of all ages. The date of birth leaves a pleasant surprise. The date of birth of Yours truly and Vandumama’s are separated by a week. However, Vandumama was born in 21st April 1921, whereas TCU was a product of the 80’s. Kindly red this short and comprehensive biography of him.
By No stretch of imagination, the above list is final. Yes sir, what we are saying is that even the official list is slightly incomplete and TCU is on the verge of completing a comprehensive list of books authored by Vandumama. Now, coming back to the book – a definite buy for all those connoisseurs of graphic novels / comics. Forget the language, just buy this book for the sheer quality of artwork by one of the all time greats of Tamil comic literature, Mr Chellam (Photo included). Even if that does not make you to buy, consider this – 370 pages of high quality artwork with 10 different stories at INR 150.00 Only. Yes sir, we are saying only 150 rupees and when you consider the fact that it features 10 of the rarest stories, you will agree that it is a steal.
TCU has already done a comprehensive interview with Artist Chellam செல்லம் (Chellappan) and that will be done as a tribute post very soon. This book features 7 stories of high quality artwork by chellam. What to say, a must buy for comic lovers of all kind. Now, let us get into the book.
Both the covers left a lot to be desired. Yes, we would have preferred a much better cover for such a collector’s edition than what we have got. Yes, this cover is a collage work of Parvathi Chithirak kathai பார்வதி சித்திரக்கதை (PCK Comics) covers. Even the Photograph of Vandumama could have been fresh one. Apart from that, everything else is packaged in a much better way than any of the recent comics books.
The editor makes it sure that we are prepared for some of the stories (In fact, the first two stories only) being in the classical old letterings of Tamil language, which could be a little bit tough for the current set of readers.
Here comes the stories. In fact, the 1st two stories were a surprise package in this entire set of books. TCU has not even heard of these wonderful stories till now. I believe that will be the same for most of us. And both these stories were in the old style of double colour format. For the fantasy lovers, both of them are a must read.
Marma Maligaiyil Baley Baalu: Story 1 Veluchamiyin Veeracheyalgal Art By Babu
Marma Maligaiyil Baley Baalu: 2nd Story Kandhasaamiyin Kanavu Art By Saagar
From 3rd story onwards, our familiar Characters return. First among them is the immortal character of Children of all ages – Baley Balu (பலே பாலு – Balu the brilliant). When we take account of such characters, there are quite a few stand out. Such as Athimedhai Appu (அதிமேதை அப்பு), Jam-Jim-Jack (ஜாம், ஜிம், ஜாக்) etc are there. Apart from that, the rest of them will be all Vandumama’s immortal characters only.
TCU is willing to share a secret with the ComiRades. Come closer. The name of this immortal character is inspired by Vandumama’s son. Yes sir, TCU has met Baley Balu and confirmed this. Balasubramaniyan is turned into Balu and that’s how we got this wonderful series of stories. Those were the golden days when this series was printed in multi colour in Gokulam magazine. Here is the first story of the series.
Here are some of the original sample scans from the Golden age issues of Gokulam:
The next story is also that of Baley Balu’s. This time it is on the fantasy of the Arabian genie. This was the actual second story in the series and it also features the artwork of Chellam. Enjoy the sample page scans.
Marma Maligaiyil Baley Baalu:Vaandumaama Collection 1 - 4th Story Art By Chellam
Marma Maligaiyil BaleyBaalu:Vaandumaama-Collection 1-4th Story-By Chellam 1st Page
The next story features another balu adventure which happens to be the title of this collector’s edition – Marma maligaiyil Baley Balu. This was printed as the second story in the PCK comics in the 90’s as well.Again this was a classic weekly series in the gokulam magazine.
|Marma Maligaiyil Baley Baalu:Vaandumaama Collection 1 - 5th Story - Art By Chellam||Marma Maligaiyil Baley Baalu: 5th Story Art By Chellam 1st Page|
The next one is also that of the the Baley Balu. This time it is a classic story from Poonthalir magazine. Many of us may remember this story which was told in the Chandamama classic way of storytelling – Two panels per page with story in text in between that. We would have loved to see that format here again. However the size of the book is different from that of the magazine and hence that style was not followed over here. Any way, a Rose would have smelt the same by any other name and Vandumama’s story will be as good in any other form as well.
Marma Maligaiyil Baley Baalu: Vaandumaama Collection 1 - 6th Story - Art By Chellam - 1st Page – Serialised Version of Poonthalir Classic Serial
Instead of completing the Baley Balu series by publishing Angadhan kottai Athisayam (அங்கதன் கோட்டை அதிசயம்) which was a brand new story for the PCK Comic series. Instead of that, we have another brand new story titled Baley Baluvum paravai kunjugalum (பலே பாலுவும் பறவை குஞ்சுகளும்) – a story completely in text format, instead of the comic story format. The 1st page artwork is done by Shyam and this story is quite enjoyable as well.
Marma Maligaiyil Baley Baalu: Vaandumaama Collection 1 - 7th Story - Art By Shyam -1st Page – Classic New Story
The next story was that of another wonderful character from Vandumama – Samathu Charu (Charu – The Genius: சமத்து சாரு). Old times may recall that this story followed Baley Balu in Gokulam magazine. Some of the artwork is different (Not by Chellam) because Chellam was a freelancer and hence was not always available in those days to get the work done.
Marma Maligaiyil Baley Baalu: Vaandumaama Collection 1 - 8th Story - Art By Chellam
Marma Maligaiyil Baley Baalu: 8th Story Art By Chellam Last page
Here are some sample scans from Gokulam magazine:
The penultimate story in the series is possibly the second best story in the entire collection, just after Baley balu. Yes, sir, we are talking about Harish from the famed Kushiwali school. ComiRades may recall the inspiration for the series – Yes, You are right. Billy Bunter - குண்டன் பில்லி. ComiRades will remember the story which was started in the final stages of Poonthalir – Mark 2. A Definite hit among children of all ages, and the presence of the story itself is a compelling statement to buy this book.
Marma Maligaiyil Baley Baalu: Vaandumaama Collection 1 - 9th Story - Art By Shyaam
Marma Maligaiyil Baley Baalu Vaandumaama Collection 1- Art By Chellam 1st page
The final story in the book features another one of the famed character by Vandumama – Annasami. This character in many ways will make you to recall Suppandi. However, it is only in the outer set that you may feel so. Once you start reading the stories, you will fall in love with the character and may even forget the Suppandi character.
Marma Maligaiyil Baley Baalu: Vaandumaama Collection 1 - 10th Story - Art By Chellam
With that, we complete the 1st collector’s edition from Vandumama. There have been some effort like that earlier as well. There were 2 sets of graphic novel collections were published in the mid 90’s and both of them were from the house of Vanathi. Now comes the interesting part of the post. TCU has decided to pay tribute to the master story teller in a grand way and one part of that is to gather all collectibles related to the stories of Vandumama.
TCU is on the verge of making a comprehensive list of all the titles authored by Vandumama and they will be posted with covers and 1st page scans in a website dedicated to Vandumama alone. Hence TCU is gathering all the collectibles such as the original runs of the comic stories and the relevant advertisements which were published in the old days. Here are some examples for the collectibles.
The 1st ad is a classic one. It is the advertisement of one of the very few Mystery thrillers written by Vandumama and it was a runaway hit. the second set of advertisements were for the promotion of the classic detective series, C.I.D Singaram (Siv has posted about this HERE). TCU has majority of the stories authored and translated by Vandumama. However, there may be some which will be missing and those who have it, kindly send the scans and other details to the following mail id: firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, that's all for the time being. As usual, post your comments in the comments section. For those who want to Pen their thoughts in Tamil, Kindly Use the Option Provided in the Widget in the Blog.
Thanks & Regards,