The Nina Paley Show! Sunday, November 7, 2004

Nina's animation retrospective PLUS her 1997 appearance on the Jerry Springer Show. At the Two Boots Pioneer Theater, November 7th, 2004... 7:00pm

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Fantasy Ramayana

I've been reading - and immensely enjoying - the Ramayana fantasy-genre books by Ashok K. Banker. They're bestsellers in India, but pretty much unheard-of in the US, due to Penguin India's US publishing affiliate's utter cluelessness.

Banker re-interprets the ancient epic, sometimes veering away totally from Valmiki (his Sita is a sword-wielding, independent-minded warrior princess who slaps Rama at one point), sometimes adhering loyally, and most often echoing older versions in unique ways. His Kosala is an egalitarian society where women have full rights under the laws of Manu (it is fantasy, after all) and Rama's mother is awarded temporary regency. Vishwamitra, who always read like a cardboard throwaway in other Ramayanas, is a staff-wielding magic wizard who can shoot blue bolts of light from his eyes. Ravana, whose "evil" was never really convincing to me, is deliciously described in full science fiction/horror style: in one fabulous scene he assembles a multi-headed body from a dungeon-full of corpses and then asks, "do you like my flesh scultpture?" Other demons are thrillingly rendered in exquisite, grotesque detail, and the good guys are given much-needed depth, never becoming the bland goody-two-shoes that make traditional Ramayanas so, uh, sleep-inducing. The books really do "bring the characters to life," as trite as that may sound. But they are AK Banker's characters, not Valmiki's - American readers, most of whom have never heard of Valmiki, should not mistake them for "the" Ramayana, any more than they should consider Sita Sings the Blues an authoritative translation. With that caveat - go read them!


Hi there! I was just on the Xmas resistance movement site and saw your work... I was impressed! I wish I could draw like that.
Please, keep up the great work!


Well, aren't I late to the party?

I had been thinking recently that I really liked your comics but hadn't seen them in a while. So I googled you and found your site.

I am absolutely in love with your Sita Sings the Blues project. It's just such an inspired idea. I love the clips. The choice of story, music and animation is wonderful.

I'll definitely have to keep following your blog to learn what's going on.

Any chance you might have a showing in Boston some day?


I love your Sita Sings the Blues series, and I respect you a lot for giving it out for free. The graphics are wonderful, and the animation is lovely, and very funny. The songs fit the animation so well that when I watched the first one, I thought the song had been specially recorded for the animation (until I saw teh credits, of course). Hats off to you.

My favourite animation other than the Sita series was 'Fetch'. I loved what you did with perspective using just lines. Quite excellent.


Hi Nina!

I just viewed the (4) chapters of "Sita Sings the Blues" and was very impressed by your work. It was clever to incorporate the Annette Hanshaw jazz vocals into this Ramayana theme. It gave it a real Max Fleischer feel, not unlike his Talkartoons or even Betty Boop. The best of luck in finishing this project!



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