April 24, 2011 4:34:39 pm
The works of one of the subcontinent’s best-known fiction writers Ibne Safi,who had a cult following including the likes of Agatha Christie,will now be available in English.
Safi’s “Jasoosi Duniya” is a dysfunctional world of titanic villains,mad-genius detectives,and alluring femme fatales and a series spanning 125 novels published between 1952 and 1979.
Four titles — “Poisoned Arrow”,”Smokewater”,”The Laughing Corpse” and “Doctor Dread” — translated by Urdu scholar Shamsur Rahman Faruqi and released here by Safi’s son,Ahmad Safi,have been brought out by Blaft Publications and Westland.
Agatha Christie once said of Safi,”I don’t know Urdu,but have knowledge of detective novels in the sub-continent. There is only one original writer — Ibne Safi.” His “Jasoosi Duniya” and “Imran” series have brought him fame as a writer of crime and detective stories.
Translating Safi’s works was both easy and difficult for Faruqi.
“It was easy in the sense that there was no complexity in Safi’s writings. But translating the Urdu humour which he used so often and the cultural aspects were difficult,” Faruqi said.
“My basic aim was to keep the language correct,” he said.
According to Ahmad Safi,Faruqi has done a great job.
“Translating Ibne Safi was a challenging job because of the frequent use of Urdu couplets and wry humour.
“I hope this effort will bring all of us closer to my father. This is a great step and will help in bringing to the forefront his works and also address a large audience that was previously alien to my father’s writings,” he said.
According to Westland CEO Gautam Padmanabhan,Safi continues to have a strong fan following among Urdu readers and these translations will make his works available to a larger audience across the country.
“The choice of publishing Ibne Safi’s works was due to a co-publishing arrangement we have entered into with Blaft. They earlier published the very successful anthology of Tamil pulp fiction and based on its success started scouting for pulp fiction in other languages as well,” Padmanabhan said.
“We would first like to see how these four titles perform in the market. Depending on their success and in consultation with Blaft,we would certainly look at translating more titles. Ibne Safi was very prolific and there are more than 120 novels to choose from for the future,” he said.
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