Devi Chaudhurani Book 1 – Matsanyaya – Review

Devi Chaudhurani Book 1 – Matsanyaya – Review

Devi Chaudhurani – Summary

Prafulla is married but is shunned by her wealthy father-in-law, Haraballabh, because of a spat between him and her father on the day of her wedding regarding the dowry amount. By custom prevalent at that time, a girl, once married, could not be divorced or remarried. Heartbroken at the fate of his only child, her father died and her mother followed after a few years.

Prafulla takes the drastic step to flee in the middle of the night with the help of Karim Chacha, to find the house of her in-laws whom she has never known properly, without any money, with knowledge of only the name of the village and name of her father-in-law. Her father in law rejects her immediately. She runs away from there in-laws, faces lots of dangers, adopts a tiger cub, names it ‘Nawab’, finds a treasure and eventually goes back and through a lot of experiences to finally meet the dacoit head Bhavani Pathak. Bhavani adopts her, educates her with math, philosophy, science, literature and even wrestling. Eventually she becomes the queen of the dacoits and her intelligence and prowess are known throughout Bengal.

Story – 8/10

Prafulla is a young girl whose destiny seems to have only bad news for her. On the day of her wedding, her father and father-in-law have an ugly spat on the amount of dowry. Angered, the father-in-law shuns her, and this leaves her father heartbroken that his daughter is left married, but, without a husband. His hands tied by Hindu society’s edict against divorce and remarriage, Prafulla’s father dies of grief, leaving his family without any money. Prafulla’s mother suffers from Malaria and soon follows after him, and Prafulla is taken under the care of Karim Chacha. She flees the house with him, hoping to find her in-laws’ house. Despite finding the house and being taken in at first, she is sent out by her father-in-law. She meets with loads of adventures and eventually runs into Bhabani Pathak, a notorious bandit king, suffering from hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, a medical condition that makes 45 years old Bhabani, look like a 13-year-old kid. Bhabani, (a seasoned man in a little boy’s body) takes her in and begins to teach her about the world around them. They live during the height of British power, and he shows her the atrocities of the British Raj. For years, Prafulla trains under him, learning the ways of the bandit. After five years, a new bandit and revolutionary begins fighting against the British, one that sends shivers down the spines of those who hear her name. Prafulla was no longer the naïve girl looking for someone to protect her. She had become Devi Chaudhurani, the right-hand advisor of Bhabani Pathak, soon to rightfully take his place and become the bandit queen. 

But the disappointing fact is that, Devi Chaudhurani Vol 1 : Matsanyaya only covers first half of the complete storyline. So the story is incomplete and leaves many questions unanswered and ends on a cliffhanger. It was supposed to be concluded in Vol 2 : Dwairath, but it has been about 6-7 years now, and there’s no update from Yali so far regarding the second volume, so it’s highly unlikely, that we will ever get a closure. 

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Subject – 8/10

Bengal under British rule, patriarchal society, stigma and unjust norms against women, feminism in it’s purest form, etc are the major subjects of the plot. Bold and sensitive subjects, handled with unmatched expertise. 

Now, this was a graphic novel adaption of the first half of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s famous novel Devi Chaudhurani. So the source material was already popular and critically acclaimed, which made the work of Shamik Dasgupta a lot easier and more promising, thus it’ll definitely not be getting a 10/10. But Shamik did manage to add his elements in the storyline, this makes it stand out a bit, from it’s source material, so props are given where it is due. 

Pace – 8.5/10

The pacing of the story is perfect. The plot line unravels in a very orderly manner. It’s a bit fast paced, but that’s not a bad thing at all. Important characters enter the story when needed, and play their respective roles.

Significant characters got enough panels for character development, so there’s no issue regarding connecting the audience with the characters. 

Grip – 10/10

The storytelling was extremely gripping. A fantastic storyline in the backdrop of Bengal under British rule, journey of a strong female protagonist, charismatic side-characters like Bhabani Pathak, will never bore you at any point of time. 

Impact – 10/10

This story, will definitely leave you with a strong impact. How, a helpless lass turns into epitome of woman empowerment, how the young orphaned girl Prafulla, shunned by father-in-law, seeks refugee in a forest, fights demons both from inside and outside, comes out victorious, meets Bhabani Pathak, who makes her realise her true potential and eventually becomes the bandit queen, Devi Chaudhurani. You want a tale of true unadulterated feminism? Well, you got one personified, in Devi Chaudhurani! 

Dialogues – 9/10

The dialogues in this adaptation has has not tampered with the Bengali culture and literature at all, may be because, both, the writer of the original novel, and the writer of this comic book adaptation are Bengali and they knew what they were doing. The essence of the source material is retained beautifully, although the language in the novel was in Bengali and this adaptation is in English.

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Art and Coloring – 09/10

Bikash Satpathy and Vishwanath Manokarann are the main artist and colorist respectively, and both of them have done a brilliant job. The characters look as Bengali as possible and the expressions are spot on. The artwork is general goes well with the story, is visually appealing and very satisfactory. 

Graphic Design and Letters – 10/10

The graphic design brings out the Bengali vibes wherever possible. Can’t complain about the lettering either. A solid presentation. 

Team members

  • Produced by : Asvin Srivatsangam
  • Adapted, written and art direction by : Shamik Dasgupta
  • Art : Bikash Satpathy
  • Special Guest Artist : Eder Messias (Brazil) 
  • Colors: Vishwanath Manokaran and Crimzon Studios (Mumbai), Holy Cow Studios (Mumbai) 
  • Cover Art : Sumit Kumar with Renato Guerra(Mexico) 
  • Letters : Ravikiran BS, Tazeen Shaikh

Product Information

  • Pages: 92
  • Price: ₹250
  • Page type: Glossy, full colored
  • Cover: paperback(binding needs improvement) 
  • Language: English

Where to Buy From?

At the time of writing, book was available on amazon.

Devi Chaudhurani – Video Review

Devi Chaudhurani Book 1 - Matsanyaya Review
  • 8/10
    Story - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Dialogues - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Art and Coloring - 9/10
  • 10/10
    Graphic Design and Letters - 10/10
9/10

Summary

Prafulla is married but is shunned by her wealthy father-in-law, Haraballabh, because of a spat between him and her father on the day of her wedding regarding the dowry amount. By custom prevalent at that time, a girl, once married, could not be divorced or remarried. Heartbroken at the fate of his only child, her father died and her mother followed after a few years.
Prafulla takes the drastic step to flee in the middle of the night with the help of Karim Chacha, to find the house of her in-laws whom she has never known properly, without any money, with knowledge of only the name of the village and name of her father-in-law. Her father in law rejects her immediately. She runs away from there in-laws, faces lots of dangers, adopts a tiger cub, names it ‘Nawab’, finds a treasure and eventually goes back and through a lot of experiences to finally meet the dacoit head Bhavani Pathak. Bhavani adopts her, educates her with math, philosophy, science, literature and even wrestling. Eventually she becomes the queen of the dacoits and her intelligence and prowess are known throughout Bengal.

2 thoughts on “0

  1. Excellent work… Should have been continued. another abandoned work… Review method and flow is beautiful….

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