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ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES:  RELOADED by Poulomi Mukherjee

ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES: RELOADED

By Poulomi Mukherjee (Author) , Amit Tayal (Illustrator)

Age Range: 12 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2011
ISBN: 978-93-80741-13-0
Publisher: Campfire

The classic tale is newly dressed up as a graphic novel and transferred to modern Mumbai.

Hewing fairly closely to the original’s storyline, Mukherjee casts Ali Baba as a cab driver, the clever slave girl who repeatedly saves his hide as an aspiring young dancer named Marjeena, and the thieves as heavily armed bank robbers in suits and shades. Drawn as caricatures in the crowded-together but legible panels, Ali Baba and his son Omar have appropriately hapless looks, the thieves’ leader, Vladimir, is a picture of chiseled menace and the beauty Marjeena (modeled, to judge from the photo, on the author) projects an air of alert competence. The "reload" is felt in plot as well as depicted setting. The climax feels muddled, thanks to a previously unmet gent who mysteriously pops up to defuse the bombs that Vladimir sets, but Marjeena consents to marry Omar in the end rather than just being handed over. Also, the thieves are only arrested, not boiled in oil, and though Ali Baba’s ne’er-do-well brother Qasim is gunned down early on with much splashing of blood, at least he isn’t, as in the traditional version, chopped into quarters.

A properly melodramatic rendition that doesn’t take itself too seriously. (Graphic fiction. 12-14)