India’s first female comic book superhero created by Indian American filmmaker Ram Devineni.
Online versions of “Priya’s Mask”, featuring India’s first female comic book superhero created by Indian American documentary filmmaker, and technologist Ram Devineni, have been launched in three South Indian languages —Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam.
In the latest edition of the series, Priya, a symbol of strength and a force for change for girls around the world, tackles the fear and disinformation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic that has challenged the health and well-being of the world.
South Indian language versions of the series were launched by the US Consulate General in Chennai with support from South Indian social media influencers, according to a media release from the mission.
Written by Shubhra Prakash, Devineni, founder of US-based media house Rattapallax,created the series with support from the North India Office (NIO) of the US Embassy New Delhi.
Released as an augmented reality comic book, the installment is paired with an animated short film featuring the voices of feminist leaders from the US and India, including Rosanna Arquette, Vidya Balan, Mrunal Thakur, and Sairah Kabir.
“This comic book is another example of the deep talents of Americans and Indians working together to confront global health challenges,” US Consulate General Chennai’s spokesperson Cori Bickel said.
“Ram Devineni has created a comic book, now available for parents, teachers, and children to read in Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam languages, that tells the story of Priya’s mission to stop the spread of COVID-19 disinformation, while acknowledging the isolation and fear that children can face.”
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Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam language versions of “Priya’s Mask” are available for free download at Priya’s Mask — Priya’s Shakti.
In Priya’s Mask, Indian super hero Priya joins hands with Jiya, the ‘Burka Avenger’, a popular character from a Pakistani cartoon show, as the two go about fighting the pandemic and the fake news “infodemic” surrounding it.
Devineni launched the “modern-day feminist superhero” in Dec. 2014, two years after the brutal gang rape of a young woman on a bus in Delhi, to focus attention on the problem of gender and sexual violence in India.
The series has subsequently been named a “gender equality champion” by UN Women.
In Priya’s Mask, she arrives riding the flying tigress Sahas (Hindi for courage), to battle “an invisible monster – a deadly virus unlike any we’ve seen before”.
Set against the rustic backdrop of Jodhpur, India, Priya befriends 8-year-old Meena to show her the importance of frontline healthcare workers and instill the power of courage and compassion during this difficult time.
Along with Sahas, Priya explains the importance of wearing a mask and working together to help end the pandemic around the world.
She also partners with Jiya, the Burka Avenger, who’s fighting to protect her city Chutneyville against a villainous assault by Baba Kaboom, who plans to take it over by not wearing a mask and spreading the virus. But, in the process, he himself catches Covid and needs help from Priya and Jiya.