Book Review: Corridor- A Graphic Novel by Sarnath Banerjee

Corridor- Sarnath Banerjee
Corridor- Sarnath Banerjee

Touted as India’s first graphic novel, Banerjee’s Corridor is the portrayal of Indian Life in Lutyen’s Dehi, through four wacky characters. There’s Jehangir Rangoonwala- second hand book shop owner, a modern-day Socrates wannabe and also a chaiwallah for his rare and eccentric customers. He surveys his small kingdom with the eye of an hawk and panders to the wishes and worries of people queuing outside his doors.

One of the customers is Brighu, an old soul searching for rare items and for an even rarer love. There’s Digital Dutta, confused between desires and ambitions, lost in musings of Marx and H1-B visas. And last but not least is the newly married Shintu, in desperate search of an aphrodisiac to add zing and spice to his marriage. Banerjee’s characters delight us with their sanguinity, insanity and relentless pursuit of a better life. One of the most memorable and hilarious scene is of Shintu using a dubious oil given to him by his household maid to improve the “intimate relationship” with his wife.

Written and illustrated by Banerjee himself, the lines and graphics will regale you through the course of a hundred odd pages. I think that writers who illustrate their own work get add their own personal touch to the artwork which blends with the storyline seamlessly and looks and reads better in the bigger picture.

To refute the claim made in the beginning of the review, Corridor is definitely not India’s first graphic novel. But the claim worked wonders for the book’s success, and in a vague way the guys at Penguin India were right to make the claim. It was the first of its kind to make an appearance on the Indian graphic fiction scene, and gave much needed attention and impetus to the amateur comics scene in India.

To all of us who have grown up on Tinkle, Amar Chitra Katha and those of us who love graphic novels, this one is a must pick. And I’m sure all the fanboys in India already have their hands on this, and if you don’t, shame on you!


You can also read the review here.


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