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Book Review: Vizag Blue by Anil CS Rao

Vizag Blue by Anil CS Rao is a riveting novella with exploring themes like our identity in the world, infantile heart of an artist, dark sides of our emotions, sub-audition between two women, longing for love and attention, and most importantly relationship between a nurse and her patient.

Set in Vizag (earlier called as Vishakhapatnam), a city in the eastern coastal of India, the book basically features Kalpana Iyer as its lead character. However Usha, her nurse, takes over all the talking and action and sounds like a protagonist. Kalpana becomes mute while doing a rehearsal of the play – Shakuntala in her university. She refuses to speak to anyone, including her boyfriend Prem. Dr Reena affirms Kalpana fit and thinks that with nature around her she will convalescence better.

Nurse Usha and Kalpana move to a secluded sea house. Both ladies look initially at rest and fine there…they smoke, sew clothes, write letters, and stroll along the beach line, as a reader you may wait for Kalpana to speak and reveal something big and unexpected to chug  the storyline ahead. Well, that you can figure out if you stick with the book. Even if one grapples with the proper implication of the story, the other side of the novella is its high visual quality. It’s a graphic novella with lovely comic illustrations. The author did not over use any colour, his frames are sequential, dialogues have proper bubbles…and eyes of the characters are simply luminous. Everything has been enhanced dazzlingly. The pictures speak, depiction of nature, silence, and tension – Anil built all via his talent of comical illustrations.

Coming back to the story, Kalpana tries to understand her stance of existence in the world, probably she wanted to distinguish between real and reel life. Usha does her best to invoke and incite the lady. But more than that she put trusts in Kalpana as a fine listener? Will Kalpana reciprocate the same to Usha? As the time passes, situation between both ladies sour…Usha serves Kalpana and expects results but too much loneliness and silence perturbs the nurse. Many questions could form in a readers mind – trying to understand the true nature and motives of Kalpana – and probably that is the best thing about the novella. The author leaves the ending at a cliffhanger.

Anil’s words compliment his art work, he uses words with weigh that leave an impact and describe the situation exactly. Sound of nature and tempo of emotions is portrayed by weaving words in the canvas of illustrations. The novella looks like a perfect work of a comic artist.

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