Tintin now speaks Hindi

Syed Zafar Mehdi

For the die-hard Tintin fans in India, the wait is finally over. After winning the hearts of readers worldwide, and after being translated into 58 languages across the globe, Tintin, the immensely popular Belgian reporter, is now in India to delight the Hindi readers. Om Books International in collaboration with the Embassy of Belgium launched Tintin in Hindi on Monday, November 29, at the residence of the Ambassador of Belgium in New Delhi.

A set of 8 Tintin books in Hindi were unveiled by Ambassador of Belgium Jean M. Deboutte. The event brought together a cross-section of people from different walks of life, who share one thing in common – love and admiration for the adorable toon character. In his address, Ambassador Deboutte talked of the euphoria Tintin generates back in Belguim.

“He is more than a cartoon character in Belgium, he is part of our national cultural heritage. Everybody in Belgium knows Tintin.” He said that Tintin albums have often been their first gateway to the world. “Tintin albums have helped people discover new people, new countries, new environments, and develop a taste for adventure and discovery. Thanks to the wonderful translation in Hindi, we are proud that many more people will now be able to enjoy Tintin albums the same way.”

The comics have been translated into Hindi by noted Ad filmmaker, writer, graphic designer and photographer Puneet Gupta. He says translating was an equally enjoyable and a challenging task since it required sensitive and sensible transposition of linguistic and cultural concepts from one context to another.

For instance, Tintin’s well-known catchphrase “Great Snakes” has been translated as “Baal ki khaal”. His four-legged companion Snowy has been rechristened Natkhat and detectives Thomson and Thompson have been renamed Santu and Bantu. “The adventures of Tintin are one of the best comics in the world and I’m glad that having the books in Hindi makes them available to a wider range of readers”, said Gupta.

Tintin fan and Publisher, Om Books International, Ajay Mago is glad that mission is accomplished. “I couldn’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t love Tintin after reading his adventures in Hindi. There’s something in them for everyone. I thought it would be interesting to bring these amazing stories to the Hindi readership.”

Although the Hindi translations are at a par with the French and English language productions, the price had been determined keeping the Hindi readership in mind. Each Tintin comic in Hindi is now available at Rs. 195, half the price of the English version. 

The Adventures of Tintin is a series of comic strips created by the Belgian artist Georges Rémi, who wrote under the pen name of Hergé. The series first appeared in French in Le Petit Vingtième, a children’s supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle on 10 January 1929. The success of the series saw the serialised strips collected into a series of twenty-four albums, spun into a successful magazine and adapted for film and theatre. Set during a largely realistic 20th century, the hero of the series is Tintin, a young Belgian reporter. He is aided in his adventures from the beginning by his dog Snowy.