Top positive review
An old maestro's comeback...
15 September 2018
When Indian popular culture turned its back on Hindi comics in the first decade of this century, resulting in several publishers shutting down (including such stalwarts as Manoj and Tulsi), many brilliant authors and artists must have been left staring down an unexpected abyss. Parshuram Sharma was one of them, the person I knew as the creator of Nagraj, Bheriya, Angara and Baaz, albeit I had no idea that he had more than 200 Hindi pulp novels to his credit too. Thankfully, he has written a piece in the midst of this comeback novel where he reflects upon his journey from a kid to a popular writer to an ignored nobody to a survivor whose multiple talents helped him eke out a living in Meerut when the literary world that he had helped build chose to abandon him.
''Main Kaun Hun.'' So aptly titled. Much more than the novel itself (which leans somewhat too heavily on a hastily-executed climactic twist), I loved those nuggets of insight from an author who would never be granted the respect that the high-brow Hindi writers (Premchand et al) preferred by Indian university curricula have enjoyed. He very rightly points out that in India, thriller writing is labelled as trash, totally at odds with the western world where many thriller writers have a cult status and win awards too.
Just like Harper Collins realized the sales-potential of Surendra Mohan Pathak and started publishing many of his works, I hope other great-yet-relegated-to-the-backseat Hindi authors like Sharma are also given their due. They may not have written literary masterpieces but they have contributed to the culture of reading-for-pleasure by penning awesome pageturners.