7 Indian Graphic Novels You Should Read

Indian graphic novels feature a variety of artistic styles, from traditional to modern, that enhance the storytelling experience.


Indian graphic novels offer a rich reading experience.

Graphic novels offer a poetic narrative and striking visuals to make a compelling read.

Some use sharp wit and insightful observations to provide a unique perspective on modern India.

Graphic novels like Delhi Calm and A Gardener in the Wasteland provide historical perspectives on significant periods and figures in Indian history, making them educational as well as entertaining.

The combination of visual art and narrative in graphic novels can convey emotions powerfully and effectively.

Stories like Hush and Munnu: A Boy from Kashmir offer deeply moving experiences that resonate with readers.

Here are 7 Indian graphic novels to read.

Corridor by Sarnath Banerjee

This is a stunning graphic novel which is set in the bustling streets of Delhi and follows the lives of its characters through a series of interconnected stories.

The narrative revolves around Jehangir Rangoonwalla, a second-hand bookshop owner in Connaught Place, who serves as a confidant and advisor to his customers.

The novel explores themes of urban life, existential angst, love, and the search for meaning in a rapidly changing city.

There are several pivotal characters such as Jehangir Rangoonwalla, a bookshop owner who offers wisdom and advice to his customers.

Including Brighu,  a young man searching for the meaning of life and grappling with his existential dilemmas.

There are several themes that are filtered in the graphic novel such as capturing the essence of life in Delhi, with its chaotic streets, diverse population, and vibrant culture.

Characters in the novel grapple with questions of existence, purpose, and identity.

Finally, the complexities and nuances of romantic relationships are explored through the experiences of the characters.

Sarnath Banerjee’s artwork in Corridor is characterised by its detailed and expressive illustrations.

The black-and-white drawings effectively capture the mood and atmosphere of the urban setting, adding depth to the narrative.

Corridor has garnered a following among readers who appreciate its blend of humour, philosophy, and social critique.

Kari by Amruta Patil

Kari is a poignant and introspective graphic novel that follows the life of protagonist, Kari, a young woman navigating her identity, relationships, and the complexities of urban life in Mumbai.

The story begins with Kari surviving a suicide pact with her lover, Ruth, and explores her journey of self-discovery and healing in the aftermath.

The main characters include Kari and Ruth.

The central character, Kari, is a copywriter in an advertising agency, who is introspective, artistic, and grappling with her sense of belonging and identity.

Moreover, Ruth, Kari’s lover, leaves for another city, leaving Kari to deal with the emotional fallout.

In terms of themes, the novel delves into Kari’s journey of understanding herself and her place in the world.

Furthermore, it explores the complexities of love, both romantic and platonic, and the impact of loss and separation.

Amruta Patil’s artwork in Kari is characterised by its expressive and evocative illustrations.

The use of black-and-white drawings, interspersed with occasional splashes of colour, effectively conveys the mood and emotions of the story.

The visual style complements the introspective and poetic nature of the narrative.

Kari has been widely praised for its innovative storytelling, lyrical prose, and striking visuals.

Kari by Amruta Patil is a must-read for anyone interested in graphic novels, contemporary Indian literature, and stories that explore the intricacies of identity, love, and mental health.

Its rich narrative and evocative illustrations make it a compelling and thought-provoking work that continues to resonate with readers.

Delhi Calm by Vishwajyoti Ghosh

Delhi Calm is a graphic novel set during the Emergency period in India, which lasted from 1975 to 1977.

The story follows three friends—Vijay, Rakesh, and Rajiv—who navigate the political turmoil and social upheaval of the time.

The novel provides a poignant and critical look at the impact of the Emergency on ordinary citizens, exploring themes of censorship, resistance, and the quest for freedom.

The main characters include Vijay who is a journalist who becomes disillusioned with the state of affairs and joins the resistance movement.

Secondly, Rakesh is a poet and idealist who grapples with the harsh realities of the political situation.

Finally, there is Rajiv who is a government employee who finds himself caught between his duty and his conscience.

It delves into themes such as the impact of the Emergency on civil liberties, freedom of speech, and political dissent.

As well as the story examines the bonds of friendship and loyalty among the three protagonists as they navigate the challenges of the time.

The novel provides a historical reflection on a significant period in Indian history, offering insights into the political and social dynamics of the era.

Vishwajyoti Ghosh’s artwork in Delhi Calm has plenty of evocative illustrations.

The black-and-white drawings effectively capture the mood and tension of the Emergency period.

The visual style complements the serious and reflective tone of the novel.

Delhi Calm by Vishwajyoti Ghosh is a must-read for anyone interested in graphic novels, historical fiction, and stories that explore the intricacies of political and social issues.

Munnu: A Boy from Kashmir by Malik Sajad

Munnu: A Boy from Kashmir is an autobiographical graphic novel that tells the story of a young boy named Munnu growing up in the conflict-ridden region of Kashmir.

The novel provides a deeply personal and poignant look at the impact of political conflict on everyday lives, capturing the struggles, hopes, and dreams of the people living in one of the most militarized zones in the world.

Munnu is the protagonist, a young boy who navigates the complexities of life in Kashmir, dealing with the challenges of growing up in a conflict zone.

His family members, play significant roles in his life and provide support and guidance amidst the turmoil.

Regarding themes, the novel explores the impact of the ongoing conflict in Kashmir on the lives of its residents, particularly focusing on the experiences of children.

Secondly, it delves into the themes of identity, cultural heritage, and the sense of belonging in a region marked by political strife.

Malik Sajad’s artwork in Munnu: A Boy from Kashmir is characterised by its expressive and detailed illustrations.

There is the use of anthropomorphic characters, where Kashmiris are depicted as hanguls (a type of deer native to Kashmir), which adds a unique and symbolic layer to the storytelling.

The black-and-white drawings effectively convey the mood and emotions of the narrative, enhancing the reader’s connection to the story.

Munnu: A Boy from Kashmir by Malik Sajad is a must-read for anyone interested in graphic novels, autobiographical narratives, and stories that explore the intricacies of political and social issues.

Its rich narrative and evocative illustrations make it a compelling and thought-provoking work that continues to resonate with readers.

A Gardener in the Wasteland by Srividya Natarajan & Aparajita Ninan

A Gardener in the Wasteland brings to life the pioneering work of Jotirao Phule, a 19th-century social reformer and anti-caste activist in India.

The novel is based on Phule’s seminal text “Gulamgiri” (Slavery), which critiques the caste system and advocates for social justice and equality.

Through a blend of historical narrative and contemporary commentary, the novel explores Phule’s life, his revolutionary ideas, and his relentless fight against caste oppression.

The central figure, Jotirao Phule, is a social reformer who dedicated his life to fighting caste discrimination and advocating for the rights of the oppressed.

Another important character is Savitribai Phule, Jotirao’s wife.

She works alongside him by collaborating with his reformist activities and entering into the field of education for women in lower castes.

The novel delves into the deeply entrenched caste system in India and Phule’s efforts to challenge and dismantle it.

It highlights the importance of education as a tool for social change and empowerment, particularly for marginalised communities.

Moreover, the novel provides a historical reflection on the social and political dynamics of 19th-century India, offering insights into the roots of contemporary social issues.

In Aparajita Ninan’s artwork, the use of vibrant colours and dynamic compositions effectively conveys the intensity and passion of Phule’s activism.

The visual style complements the historical and social themes of the narrative, making the story accessible and engaging for readers.

A Gardener in the Wasteland by Srividya Natarajan and Aparajita Ninan is a must-read for anyone interested in graphic novels, historical narratives, and stories that explore the intricacies of social justice and activism.

Its rich narrative and evocative illustrations make it a compelling and thought-provoking work.

Simian by Vikram Balagopal

Simian offers a fresh and imaginative retelling of the ancient Indian epic, the Ramayana, from the perspective of Hanuman, the monkey god.

The novel delves into Hanuman’s journey, exploring his adventures, his loyalty to Lord Rama, and his pivotal role in the epic battle against the demon king Ravana.

Through vivid illustrations and a compelling narrative, Simian brings to life the timeless tale of heroism, devotion, and the struggle between good and evil.

The central character, Hanuman is a devoted follower of Lord Rama, known for his immense strength, wisdom, and unwavering loyalty.

Rama is the prince of Ayodhya and the protagonist of the Ramayana, who embarks on a quest to rescue his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana.

Other characters include Sita, Rama’s wife, Ravana the demon king of Lanka and Lakshmana who is Rama’s loyal brother.

The novel explores the themes of bravery and heroism through Hanuman’s daring feats and unwavering dedication to Rama.

There is a timeless struggle between good and evil depicted through the conflict between Rama and Ravana, with Hanuman playing a crucial role in the battle.

The novel offers a unique perspective on the Ramayana, in mythology.

Vikram Balagopal’s artwork incorporates the use of of bold lines, vibrant colours, and detailed compositions effectively capturing the epic scale and fantastical elements of the story.

The visual style enhances the mythological themes and brings the characters and their adventures to life.

Simian by Vikram Balagopal is a must-read for anyone interested in graphic novels, mythology, and stories that explore the timeless themes of heroism, loyalty, and the battle between good and evil.

Hush by Prateek Thomas, Rajiv Eipe & Devaki Neogi

Hush,  tells a powerful and moving story through its evocative illustrations alone, without the use of any dialogue or text.

The novel follows the life of a young girl who endures trauma and abuse, and it explores her emotional journey and the impact of her experiences.

The absence of words allows the visuals to convey the depth of her pain, resilience, and eventual healing.

The young girl is the protagonist, whose experiences of trauma and abuse are central to the narrative.

Secondly, there is the abuser, who is a figure in the girl’s life who inflicts harm and represents the source of her trauma.

Despite the trauma, the story also focuses on the girl’s strength and her journey towards healing and recovery.

There is the use of a “silent narrative” whereby the artist uses the power of visual storytelling, allowing the illustrations to convey complex emotions and themes without words.

The absence of text allows the images to speak for themselves, creating a powerful and immersive experience for the reader.

The artwork in Hush uses black-and-white drawings to enhance the emotional intensity of the story.

Hush is considered a landmark work in Indian graphic literature, showcasing the potential of the medium to address serious and sensitive issues through visual storytelling.

The collaboration between Prateek, Rajiv, and Devaki has resulted in a unique and compelling work.

Indian graphic novels offer a rich and varied reading experience that combines compelling storytelling with beautiful artwork.

Whether you’re interested in cultural insights, social commentary, historical narratives, or simply a good story, there’s something in this genre for everyone.

Exploring Indian graphic novels can broaden your horizons and provide a deeper appreciation for the art of visual storytelling.



Kamilah is an experienced actress, radio presenter and qualified in Drama & Musical Theatre. She loves debating and her passions include arts, music, food poetry and singing.

Images courtesy of Sauvik Biswas, Indian Network for Memory Studies and Anisha Sridhar.





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