Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bahadur -The Indian Super Hero

Bahadur... this one name was a huge sensation among the Indrajal comics readers in the late '70s to '90. Yes! I'm talking about the brave Indian lad Bahadur, the founder of CSF [Citizen Security Force] at Jaigarh in the Chambal valley.
His creator was the famous artist and painter Aabid Surti and later this series was continued by Jagjit Uppal. There were 75 Bahadur comics published in Indrajal Comics(1964 - 1990) and among them first 12 were written by Mr.Surti while rest 63 by Mr.Uppal. Except a few last comics, all were illustrated by Govind Brahmania,later done by his son, Promod Brahamania.
First Bahadur comics published in Indrajal was 'The Red bricks house' (on Dec '76 ;IJC No.267).
The story begins when a dacoit,namely Vairab Singh, who has been terrorising villages and people is shot dead by the Chief of Police Vishal. The dacoit's teenager son swears revenge on the policeman who caused the death of his father. However, Vishal convinces the young lad the folly of his ways, and helps him turn over a new leaf. The boy was Bahadur, and he grows up to enforce law and order in the little bustling town of Jaigarh.

Bela,daughter of seth Shivram of Pipli,is his love-interest. Their first meeting was very dramatic,in the 4th story of Bahadur,'The white ghost's den' (IJC No.284),where Bahadur saved her father from a group of dacoits and since then they were inseparable couple eventhough till the very LAST story,(The snake Charmer’s Bait ;Vol.27 No.5 ; 1990) they were not married.However, at the end of this story,Bahadur proposed her,and for the obvious reason, she agreed. So, one can say, if Bahadur comics were still continued (as after sudden cancellation of Indrajal ,there was no further publication of this true Indian Action-Hero ),we would see them as spouse in later comics like Phantom-Diana and Mandrake-Narda. :-)

Now, there are something special about two creators of this hero.In the initial Bahadur comics, Surti introduced several characters & most of them became integral part of this series.
First introduction was with the village-head Mukhia,inspector Vishal & old man Sukhia, whose son Dina was killed mercilessly by Saitan Singh & his gang (eventually Sukhia initially was Saitan's spy, but his son joined in CSF and went against Saitan). Later another ex-dacoit Lakhan and Bela were introduced as well.
After wrote 12 comics Surti quited for reason unknown (LAST comic was 'The Gang of Imposters' :IJC No.326; 1979).Then after one year Bahadur reappeared under Jagjit Uppal (who continued it till the end),though illustrator was the same:G.Brahmania. In this reappearance Bahadur visited Mumbai to protect some costly jewels to Delhi (a very good story indeed)[The Secret Assignment:IJC No. 352; 1980] and from then once again his comics regularly featured in Indrajals along with other heroes. In the very 4th comic of this reappearance,a fabulous story was released,titled 'The Mystery of the Headless Ghost' (No.370) i.e like Surti ,J.Uppal also delivered thrillers from the very beginning.
Now,here's the MOST debatable question appeared: who's the better.... A.Surti or J.Uppal??Many comic fans have their share of choice and reason behind that....but, for me BOTH were great in their own field. While Abid Surti was the pioneer, the ORIGINAL creator of Bahadur, Jagjit Uppal was no less!

Why ? is it for the reason he (Uppal) continued this series, otherwise which would met an very early end & as a result among many comic-lovers (including me!) Bahadur would be an unheard name? [The credit of last 10 years of Bahadur's 14-year glorious run goes to J.Uppal]
Frankly, it's true for to some extent, BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!
It had seen several times in comics script, that, when one writer took the charge from the original one, he drifted away from the real essence created by the original creator and develop own stories ,may be good or bad,but obviously real-touch was missing. A classic example is our favorite Henry comics, where new-generation comic-lovers see him as a silent kid,completely unaware the fact this 'silent' kid was 'very talkative' one under his original creator Carl Anderson.... after his death several cartoonist took the charge.
Another & most obvious example is PHANTOM comics. Besides the original creator great Lee Falk,there are several non-Falk phantom comics (eg. FREW,Egmont,GOLD KEY,Charlton and many more) which are not match an iota with the original Phantom stories, mostly 'cos while scripting those creators never keep the original essence/facts intact, never try to realise the mood of these stories and hence failed miserably!
Those who are readers of BOTH creations definitely agree with me.

And here's the excellence and credit of Mr. Uppal. While scripting, not only he kept all those original characters but also the basic essence,the almost same thrill and action sequences .... the CSF's main activity based on Jaigarh and it's surrounding villages ,which were present in Uppal's creations as well.Like Surti's era , here also sometimes Bahadur leave Jaigarh and visit Mumbai & in later comics ,Bahadur even went aboard & that's quite natural .
Still there are few additions/change made by Mr.Uppal during his own creation & needless to mention ,we loved those very much!
Here's some .....
[1]Chamiya: The Himalayan-dog who gave a new twist in adventures of Bahadur, accompany him in almost all missions.

[2]Mukhia:Being the head of Jaigarh there was a little distance between him and Bahadur, also he was not a member of CSF [in early (Surti) Bahadur stories].But, from very beginning of the reappearance ,he became very close friend of Bahadur and also an active member of CSF.

[3] Bahadur seems completely unbeatable in later comics, partly obvious as in Surti's era he learned Kung-fu in Mumbai (The Kung-fu kings:IJC No.312) after Karate and this is obvious that, even in real-life such double-belters are almost unbeatable, but still for sake of more twist it'd be better if Bahadur sometimes lost the battle between thugs before he won the war.
But ,in reality,there's hardly any difference between these two writers and it's tough for readers to distinguish ,if their names aren't mentioned in the first page of the comics.

In some last 9-10 adventures [roughly from 2nd half of 1988; vol.25] Bahadur became more stylist, stories were more gripping and also finishing was true dramatic like initial days.

Besides these, the modern and neat look of Bahadur (from 'long-hair-kurta' appearance he became a 'short-hair-T-shirt-jeans' modern guy) in the late '80s was also a huge hit among the IJC readers .
(here's some modern Bahadur pics from a 1987 Indrajal)
In short, Bahadur rocks from his very beginning upto the end (I still can remember the craze between us for the Bahadur comics published in late '80s) and for this we should thankful to the BOTH creators.
P.S.-  Bahadur comics publication has stopped around two decades ago,still this true Indian hero will always remain our favorite amidst the modern cartoon and video games era. :-)


M Pattabiraman said...

Great post! Thats more like it. No offense, I was beginning to think that you were only going to provide links to other blogs in yours, which wasnt very appealing to me. This was very refreshing.

Expect many more.

sAg_NiK said...

#pattu:glad u like it!
No! i'm NOT going to post only those links (those are only my way to spread this IJC passion ) BUT my intention is share all of my comic-discussion here.... actually comics,specially Indrajals are my gr8 stress-buster and always feel to share my crazy feelings with other comic-lovers and BLOG is best place to do that,ain't?

U already see the same with Timpa ,Luke comics, now it's Bahadur.....buddy it'sa just beggining, i've LOT MORE 2 say,so keep checking !I really appreciate feed-back from frnds like you.

I'm now going to discuss some 'particular stories' of Mandrake/Bahadur/Phantom/Dara WHICH ARE YET TO PUBLISH in our comic-blogs and REALLY THRILLING, with general discussions as well...

sAg_NiK said...

By the way, what u think...who's better ...Surti OR Jagjit Uppal AND why??

plse lemme know... i'm really curious abt what other comi-lovers think abt it!

Bye mate

Comic Guy said...

First of all i congrats you for posting a real discussive post rather than mere links.If you can carry out along with such forum alike discussions then it could became a platform where ardent comic lovers can discuss on various favorite topics.
Now regarding the question of choosing between Surti and Uppal,i think Surti has a upper hand as he is the one who created the character which rose to such popularity.As far as if one delve deeply into the working style of both these writers Surti was more natural in depicting the scenes of typical village background and Bandit chracters which were the major ingredients of Bahadur's popularity whereas Uppal wrote mostly stories having a urban background.Also Uppal only carried the legacy of Bahadur created previously by Surti.
One can easily sense the fact that Surti's story/screenplay/dialogues were more taut,crispy and logistic than Uppal.
Surti has to leave writing Bahadur to concentrate more on his painting assignment that time.I wish if he could have been for few more years with IJC, Bahadur fans might have witnessed many more gems from him.

sAg_NiK said...

#comik guy: I'd no idea that Surti had 2 leave 4 his painting assignment! how dissapointing!!! i always thought it was a case of fall-out btwn him n ToI.

By the way, i agree most of ur points....specially that village/urban concept...yeah, Mr.Surti was master abt depicting those back-grounds. But then u might know that from early '80s Chambal became much less DREADFUL valley due 2 most powerful gang-leaders were either killed or surrendered that, for realistic touch, Bahadur had to shift to urban back ground,BUT STILL Uppal time2time create village oriented plots (eg. Shikargarh,Arjangarh etc r his creations)

But, as u said, Surti's scripting were 'more' taunt, crispy than Uppal...think if it, then very little as UPPAL was not like those miserable Non-Falk Phantom writers who just CUDNT feel the real essence as he did....

sAg_NiK said...

..Also,the modern look of Bahadur was really a perfect thing,keeping the then HIT style-statement.

With ONE thing i wud like 2 finish: as true comic reader, am more interested in ORIGINAL thing and it's Surti's Bahadur [i first read/learnt only in the LAST YEAR!:The kidnappers;No.316]which made my mind to COLLECT ALL BAHADUR COMICS(paper),yes became MORE CLOSE 2 this TRUE INDIAN HERO...
Initially i'd no such intentions,was happy what i get....but since then i searched more places & NOW,i already collect 72 ...3 to go....

sAg_NiK said...

#ALL:I wud appreciate OR better say, motivated to write/share my thoughts abt these characters n SOME 'p'cular stories' REGULARLY if u guys encourage me in this way!


M Pattabiraman said...

I cant choose between the two. I would like to think Bhadur was such an original and intelligent Indian comic, in tune with our culture and things that are most dear to us. Its a pity we dont have his stories anymore. But he is alive and kicking (pun intended!) in your blogs.
best wishes

DesiGuru said...

hi, interesting and informative post on Bahadur! and thanks for ur comments on my blog. i maybe wrong abt the year Bahadur was introduced, but i know that bahadur never appear in any magaine/newspaper. in my post, i was talking abt phantom while providing the newspaper/mag names.

i hv publish few bahadur comics on TCP earlier, check the old post to get it.

sAg_NiK said...

#Desiguru: Thnx 4 commenting.
yeah u right....i mis-read that as Bahadur info.....

i know u've give some initial Bahadurs, do we xpect more frm u?

War for Water said...

Great going. I was pleasantly surprised when i accidentally entered The Lost World of...Heroes. Beside BAHADUR I had also introduced SUPER HEROES like INS. AAZAD, INS. VIKRAM and SUJA- and they are still running in some magazine or other. ( For more info please visit ) Let me clarify one point. Its funny as well as tragic. I had to leave Indrajal Comics because my immediate boss appointed his favorite steno as an unofficial editor and she started interfering in the script as well as artwork. When it became impossible to work i had to walk out. Otherwise i would have continued it in the 21st century. But wait, I'm planning to relaunch BAHADUR soon...AABID SURTI

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the valuable information on one of our favourite heroes; Bahadur. In an earlier post, you mentioned that you already have collected 72 of the total 75 books. Wish you luck in locating the pending ones!

Would it also be possible for you to scan & post the ones you have as cbr / zip files? I know that it would be a herculean effort, but that way, we can preserve this treasure for our future generation.


aalok said...

I feel that Abid Surti's comics were better,because frankly,I had lost interest in Bahadur after reading a few comics of the Uppal era,which were introduced to me first,as having started on comics in around 1992.It was later that when I obtained the early comics like THE DOUBLE TRAP,THE FIRE BIRDS,THE KUNG FU KINGS & THE INVISIBLE SAVIOUR I came to reckon of him as a force almost as legendary as other characters.The most shockingly frightening book of my life had to be THE CHALLENGE OF THE WITCH which,when I read at age 7 gave me nightmares....due to which the book was done away with by my parents.I have all 75 of Bahadur's adventures of which the RED BRICKS HOUSE,WHITE GHOST'S DEN & CHALLENGE OF THE WITCH(PROCURED AGAIN) are without covers & am desperately looking for copies of them said...

Sub: Bahadur -The Indian Super Hero"

Do you have complete set of above magazine as I had read all in 70's. Later on this magazine disappeared.

Please reply me on

Rajinder Katoch

Zip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cool Cat said...

Good News! All 803 IJC's R available at this amazing blog: Get them all :)

Narayan said...

I enjoyed reading Bahadur's adventures published by Indrajal during my younger days. If you Google now, both Abid Surti and Jagjit Uppal are active now. Abid Surti is in his 80s and Jagjit Uppal is now a well-known astrologer.

I hope someone would interview both the people behind "Bahadur" and publish it. Nostalgia!