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Rajat Reviews Alibaba and the Forty Thieves – Reloaded

21 Jul

Imagine the old country of Arabia with sand dunes, camels, blood thirsty thieves, a treasure cave, probably the first ever use of encrypted password in recorded history, theft, murder, trickery, dance, seduction, cleverness, victory and happily ever after and you will have the image of a story that everyone must have heard at some point or the other in their lives, in some form or the other.
I am, of course, talking about Alibaba and the Forty Thieves. It is a tale which has been passed down since time immemorial by word of mouth, from father to son, mother to daughter, from teacher to student until someone printed it and spread like wildfire all across the world. No one knows when or where did it originate, nor the actual author of the story, but it is as familiar to all of us as Aladdin, Cinderella, Snow White, Superman, Batman and the likes.

Alibaba and the Forty Thieves Reloaded cover
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Now image the busy streets of Mumbai with crowded roads, cars-bikes-auto rickshaws, blood thirst politicians-businessmen-criminals, a business-rich sea port, technologically advanced security vaults, theft, murder, trickery, dance, seduction, cleverness, victory and happily ever after and you will probably have just a little idea of what’s in store for you in this Classic: Reloaded by Campfire!

I am, obviously, talking about Alibaba and the Forty Thieves – Reloaded.
Written by: Poulomi Mukherjee

Art by: Amit Tayal

Published by: Campfire

This story is similar in bare bones to the classic tale, but Poulomi Mukherjee has given it a brilliant twist by placing the story in contemporary India, in the city of Mumbai. 

The city of Mumbai – Welcome to the Jungle
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It is the gripping tale of Alibaba, a kind and decent Auto Rickshaw driver in Mumbai, who works hard to make his living and to make ends meet for his son and himself. He is living with his Brother Quasim and his – eh …dare I say evil – wife and works hard to make life easy for his Son.
Ali’s Brother and his Wife (Brothers’ wife, of course)
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One day a stranger boards his Auto and gives him an insane amount of money to drive him to the docks at a breakneck speed. Showing good old earthly common sense(which ain’t really common at all) of suspecting people who are giving you money for no good reason, he followed him and found himself right in the middle of a twister, that takes him on a roller coaster ride and changes his life forever.

The art work has been done by Amit Tayal, who is a very talented artist. We saw his work earlier in The Swiss Family Robinson and The Three Musketeers, and he has surpassed himself in this one as well. Personally I just love the way he draws his characters. He gives it a nice bright touch and even his evil foul villains are made to look interesting only by the magic of his pencils. I, for one, have great expectations from this young one, and can’t wait to see more work that he delivers in the near future.

The marker on the door – remember that?
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 On the whole, it is an excellent adventure and even though you know the basic story, it serves only as a framework for this book and the twists and turns will keep you turning page after page and then leave you wanting for more even after you’ve turned the last page. It is an extremely pacey storyline and does not slacks even for a minute at any point. The references to the classic story and clever homages to the original are a treat to watch. Some bits were expected, others hit you like a jack-in-a-box.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I can’t really tell you anything else about the story without actually revealing the plot, which in any case, you already are familiar with.

You will have to go ahead and buy this one, but trust me, Dear Readers, this is one graphic novel you will not regret investing into. Yes, you heard me. Investing. Not buying. For it IS an investment. You can read it today, give it to your parents to read, your kids will read it tomorrow and if you are a good book keeper, even your grand kids can read it and still enjoy it 30-40 years from now, just like I did it today.
“They all look the same to me!!!”
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My only complaint was the book ended a little too soon, especially compared to the other releases by Campfire, but to be fair, since the story was over and everything was already taken care of and explained clearly, stretching it would just have been a senseless gesture.

So what are you waiting for? Log on to the Campfire website and place your order NOW!!!

Marjeena dances the dance of death!!!
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