Booze, Broads & Bullets


Is illustrating for pulp fiction as thrilling an experience as reading it? Sudeep Chaudhuri nods in agreement

OF COURSE I enjoyed Sin City. I did. The pulp/noir aesthetic with its exaggerations and sense of style has always appealed to me. This is not to say that I enjoy pulp and noir for purely cerebral reasons. I love it for its pace, its action and its excesses.

Whatever side of the genre fiction versus literary fiction battle you are on, it would be an unusual artist who does not want to illustrate pulp fiction. The Indian graphic landscape seems to have lost its sense of style and cool. It’s a pathetic mash-up of copied ideas and bad plots. We haven’t had a sense of cool since the 1970s, maybe even earlier! On the other hand, look at what pulp and noir can offer you in the ‘old’ parts of our cities, our slums and dark alleys. Populated by the ‘not-so-good’ good guys, the wild, uninhibited women, drenched in alcohol, sweat, and the sweet smell of tobacco, motivated by lust and revenge — coming together in their own inimitable local style. The sex isn’t hidden under quilts and the gore, uncensored. Take Atul Sabharwal’s story ‘Abriani’s Six’. A story that is about music, smoke, vengeance, a little whisky and blood.

Sure, there are days when I like my stylus slowly inking in abstractions. But on other days, for my money I’d take the booze, broads and bullets.

So pardon me while I drink and draw!


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