Raj comics...Raj comics...Raj comics.....Same damn name stuck in his head for the last several decades! Look at him, Eyes closed and babbling Raj comics' name in his dreams! I had it with him thinking about Raj comics all the time...even nearing the end....no stopping him! These Raj comics' memories have been circling his mind non-stop! I had it....
Hey Wake up! Wake up you fool....
*Who are you?*
"I am the spirit which lives within you....In your last moments, I have finally decided to show myself!
Now...Na..Na...don't look at the ones who are looking back at you! Listen to me, because this is the only chance I might have to find the answer for the question "Why!."
"Why?? Well, WHY can't you bury Raj comics in the bottomless pits of your mind! You are stuck on your last breath and you still can't seem to give this up my friend....Damn It has been many years since they left....after the internet pirates cleared them out of buisness!"
*It's a long story....Where Can I Start...It's in me man!*
"Well....all your memories are about to be wiped out of your mind, as soon as your power supply hits zero...You will lose everything you have, everything you lived for, everything you remember! So better start yapping now...Why do you embrace them!"
"Well, let me start from the Top, I remember the first time when my Father bought me a comic called "Khoni Khoj" of my super hero Nagraj, It was my first comic, and I was maybe 5, embracing my innocent childhood, flipping the pages, adoring the artwork. I don't even remember how long ago that was, it has been ages.Well, I could not read at that point, It was my imagination which helped me visualize the story plot by looking at the pictures. Many years went by....Nagraj became a idol. I truly admired his courage, His mission to wipe out the terrorism from the face of earth. I loved everything about him, If there was a new issue on the market, I had to have it! Many kids tried to trade me diamond comics, toys for Nagraj comics, But they never got lucky with the trade! Well,You can say, That Nagraj was like a life supply for me, My Life seemed very empty without him."
But There were so many other publications at that time, Why only Raj comics?
"Well....look at it this way! When you find new friends, Do you forget your first best friend!? When you watch other sports, do you forget Cricket? When you see many different religions, do you forget your own? Raj comics were like a "best friend" and everything else for a innocent kid like me. They kept me motivated throughout my childhood years. They gave a kid the super heroes he will never forget...a unique life long experience. This helped me form a life time emotional connection with Raj comics...which will most likely....break in pieces today...."
Well, I am hearing nothing but good things, But was there a time, When Raj comics let you down? Was there a time, When you felt some anger towards Raj comics?
"Well, Raj comics publications is run by humans, and as humans, we all make mistakes. Some mistakes are forgiven, But some mistakes will haunt you for rest of your life. Some Mistakes are small, Some mistakes are big. In this respect, Raj comics had made some mistakes throughout their career, and I must admit, They have made many mistakes with the dear Nagraj series. There were mistakes, which left me very upset! I will try to breakdown the cons and negative aspects. This is going to hurt my heart, But I will speak my mind for the truth's sake!
As I already pointed out, I left reading Nagraj in 1995 and returned to Raj comics in 2004. I did not get to experience the whole "Mahanagar" plot change in Nagraj series. I had the mentality that Nagraj was still going against the evil terrorists of the world. I came across a online Nagraj comics called "Nahi Bachaga Nagraj" on the old Raj comics site and It left me in a shock! The first thing that hit me was the artwork, To tell you the truth, I thought the Artwork was very degrading, with bright childish look, cute bubbly looking characters. I was not aware that the artwork was done by Mr Anupam Sinha. I read the story and I could not believe what I just read. It was completely opposite from what I was expecting. I was expecting my heroic Warrior, going against some powerful foe, like the earlier issues. But here, I was seeing Nagraj fighting a dum looking nameless Robot, trying to Save some fat kid's life (He was Sulu BTW!). This was pathetic, It turned me off, I became very upset over what this series had become. I was so out of my mind, that I even tried to take this comics as a joke. But I quickly learned that this is what Nagraj series had become.
I mean, Nagraj forgetting his mission of clearing the world from terrorism and choosing life of a reporter, Does this sound like Nagraj to you? In his first comics, Nagraj took the word that he will fight terrorism and until then, He will not rest! By converting Nagraj in a haste, not only Raj comics have created a huge loophole, But it also brings down the respect and credibility of Nagraj in general. I could have perfectly understood, If Raj comics had made this change in slow process, including events, which would eventually change the way Nagraj would think. But this change was made just after "Khajana" series and It seemed too sudden, too unexceptionable for Nagraj to turn away from his mission due to some small cause. I was not satisfied! This was the major change which hurt my heart, But there were many mistakes which I did not like.
I ordered the complete Nagraj set from Ebay India in 2006 and I Started reading this series from scratch. When I started reading the "Post Khajana" Nagraj issues, something Hit me hard. Let me put it in perspective-Nagraj living in a city, Alter ego as a naive TV reporter, wearing thick glasses. A alter ego of a hero with no face mask. It makes me say, "hello Clark Kent, I mean...Raj!". But seriously, Out of all major RC super heroes, Nagraj was given the weakest and most predictable alter ego. Does this make sense to you? If Parmanu can be a loyal police officer, Shakti a hospital nurse, Doga a body builder, Why couldn't Raj comics think of a better and yer original alter ego for our hero Nagraj. This was result of poor planing as I see it!
Well, Speaking of poor planing, The writer created many unexpected changes in Nagraj's mentality after the Khajana series ended. Nagraj's loyalty changed for no apparent reason. For example, Nagraj use to praise "Baba Gorknath" for his guidance, Then he started to praise "Dev Kaaljayai" out of the blues. It was as If, all the sudden, Nagraj realized that "Dev Kaljayai" is much more relevant then his long time mentor "Baba Gorknath". Does this makes sense to you? Nagraj dumping his old "guru" In favor of a new guru, who has a strong connection to the "Nag jati". I would call this "Discrimination" on Nagraj's part, But I say it's Ignorance on the writer's part. And then there was the supposed swearing by Nagraj for not killing any living being. This would have been relevant, But the problem is that the writer never showed Nagraj taking such vows in any issue up to date. It would have been nice, If the writer actually made a milestone issue in the series, Where some major event Occurs In Nagraj's life and he decides not to kill anyone ever again, But it was not so. All this seemed like a poor attempt at placing Nagraj above all heroes, In terms of his moral values. In realizing these flaws, the reader can safely generalize that Mr. Anupam Sinha read very little knowledge about Nagraj's past. Because in my perspective, If he read the Nagraj Saga, These mistakes would have never occurred. Also, It makes some sense that Nagraj decides to spare humans, But why did he chose to spare monsters/creatures who try to end his life. In many countless issues, Nagraj would rather face life threatening situations, then put that evil foe to the ground. Ahem, I think the writer went to over the top with this thing.
Other major weakness is the intimate relationship of Nagraj. If you thought Vinay (Parmanu) and Bhokal had the most complicated intimate relationship, then you better think again my friend. The biggest player in Raj comics circle is without a doubt Nagraj. First he falls in love with vispari, and he was unable to merry her. After, Nagraj leaves vispari to live with a stranger woman called "Bharti" and he marries her in nagayan. Then some "Nagrani" comes from the another demansion and becomes Nagraj's baby's mother. If this did not complicate things, Raj comic's tried to show Nagraj in a affair with saudhagi on "I Love you" trading cards in late 1990s. Now if you think about it, that's 4 ladies Nagraj had some type of affair with. No, we are not done here, ahem...remember the random ladies in Nagraj's world tour series (new and old). It's good to see Nagraj getting lucky, But the question is of credibility and respect, and this fact hurts Nagraj in both terms. Speaking of this, The relationship between Nagraj and Bharti never grew or advanced further. I mean, come on, They both live together, work together, and they still act like they did in earlier issues. The theory of "two beings staying close and falling in love" does not seem relevant here, another major loophole in the series. Yes, Nagraj's first love was vispari, But times have changed my friend, You are living a single life with a woman who loves you to death!
Now going back to the Alter ego arguement I made earlier, Have you ever considered that Nagraj is to Raj comics, what Superman is to "DC comics"? No, I am not talking about his status, What I am taking about is Nagraj's super powers. This is another one of his major weaknesses. Raj comics have granted so many super powers to Nagraj, That there seems to be no real challenge left for him to concer. If you think about it, He is the character with most super powers in the Raj comics universe. The writer had considered no balance, when introducing these new powers to us and it shows in later issues. Its apparent when Nagraj clears his foes without breaking a sweat! A very lucky fellow, considering Doga and Dhruva have 1/20 of what he has! The craze of showing Nagraj in superior status is not a new one. Actually, Raj comics attempted to prove this fact in the earlier stages of Nagraj series, with the release of "Nagraj aur Jadugaar Shakura". In the comics, Mr. Sanjay Gupta (at that time "Raja") showed Nagraj saving three major super heros named Superman, Spiderman and Batman from some alien being called "Jadugar Shakura". Nagraj managed to defeat Jadugar Shakura with flying colors, The foe who brought a super power like "Superman" to his knees. Superman is nearly immortal, He is far more powerful then Nagraj in actual fact, and yet Nagraj was shown as a far superior being....having no equals! This is what I call "Glamorization" of Nagraj, and It worked like a charm back in the days.
Another heart breaking aspect of post 1995 Nagraj series is the lack of original villains. In countless issues, Nagraj has been facing his uncle "NagPhasha", who apparently acquired "Immortality", So he cannot be killed. In spite of keeping the series fresh and interesting, The writer must create new and interesting villains, But this is not the case with Nagraj. In fact, Raj comics have dragged this foe in so many series, that Fans are starting to complain about it. If this was not enough, Raj comics also managed to drag "Guru Dev" and the infamous "Nagina" in countless issues over the years. It would make sense If the writer lacked imagination, But we are talking about Mr.Anupam Sinha here, the imagination power house. He gave us such amazing plots, Why couldn't he give us some unforgettable baddies. Personally, I can't stand "Nagina", I am very glad that shes dead in Nagayan! I know she will be back...But at least we are safe to know that she gets what she deserves in the not so distinct future.
Speaking of "Characters", Anyone noticed another downgrade in the recent Nagraj issues. Yes, I am talking about the so called "Chota Nagraj", He has been stealing the spotlight from Nagraj lately. What is this all about? Raj comic's over looking It's main icon, and giving more priority to the newly introduced characters in the series. I first met this character in "Chota Nagraj", which, quite honestly, was a great comics at the time. But then the success of this comics pushed Chota Nagraj to his popularity among readers and Raj comics decided to work this same formula for the next several issues. There was not balance in these comics at all. The writer portrayed "Chota Nagraj" as a superior character, The proof can be found in "Bhanumati ka Pitara", were our kiddo Nagraj supposdly saves Nagraj from the dark powers! This type of plot treatment works for new readers, But for long term fans like me, I cannot swallow the fact that a mini Nagraj is here to steal the Number one spot from my Nagraj. Thankfully, This is hardly the case in the new Nagraj stories, I am glad Raj comics saw it my way.
Other aspect of post Khajana comics that bothered me was the artwork. Don't get me wrong, Mr. Anupam Sinha is a great artist, But he does not do justice to Nagraj like Pratap Mullik ji did. Nagraj looks like he has been taking "Steroids" and hitting the gym for 3 hours a day. His figure is too bulk for my liking, He did not look like the Nagraj I remember. I know that many fans have no problem with this, But I much prefer the old style Nagraj-less bulky in physical appearance, But still a unstoppable power house. Mr. Anupam Sinha's artwork did not advance with time, So we have been seeing same type of artwork for the last decade in the modern Nagraj series.
Now in conclusion, don't get me wrong, Mr. Anupam Sinha's have delivered us with some unforgettable Nagraj classics, such as the Khajana series, Mahayudh series, and Agraj series. But at the same time, he gave us many fillers. It always seemed that he was more committed to Super Commondo Dhruva and the combo/ multistar comics. I am sure he did not do this on purpose, as he was handling many series at one time. The fact is that many fans felt that it was a superior step to pass Nagraj to Anupam sir, But This change did not satisfy a hardcore fan like me. That is why I am so glad that Raj comics have created a separate "World tour series" for its senior fan base. All in all, did not mean to sound overly negative, I am glad Raj comic's had the ability to satisfy the masses with the right decisions, and I am sure they will continue to do so. Now I am done criticizing the modern Nagraj series, It's time to move on to my emotions...now I will tell you what I love about it! Let me start off back in 1989.....
Wake up! Wake up! Ajay....Wake up!
Look at him, laying on the floor...uttering nonsense! Must have hurt himself pretty bad!
What...happened? I thought I am about to die, I was talking to my inner spirit about Raj comics!
Where is my inner spirit!?
These comics have really gotten to your head son, You were rushing to the door to receive your prize comics from your friend mohit and the next thing I know, you tripped and hit you head on the wall! I heard a big thud...I came rushing! you were unconscious for little while, babbling stuff about Nagraj. What was that about???
Nothing Mom, I was just taking a trip down the memory lane, I am glad to be back!
Now next time, you are not going to rush to the door, let me handle it! Foolish boy!
Note:I won the "Burra Bhala" Raj comics Contest with this Entry, I hope you enjoyed it!