The Innovative Augmented Reality Comic Book ‘PRIYA AND THE LOST GIRLS’ from the comic book series, PRIYA’S SHAKTI, featuring the first female Indian superhero and rape survivor to be released for free during “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.”
~The third comic book, PRIYA AND THE LOST GIRLS, focuses on sex trafficking and is the definitive comic book of the #MeToo movement and named by UN Women as a “gender equality champion”
New Delhi, November 26th, 2019: The innovative augmented reality comic book series, PRIYA’S SHAKTI, featuring the first female Indian superhero and rape survivor is premiering at the Merriweather Art District (USA) and at Sheroes’ Hangout in Agra (INDIA) with the next edition, PRIYA AND THE LOST GIRLS.
The third comic book, PRIYA AND THE LOST GIRLS, which focuses on sex trafficking is the definitive comic book of the #MeToo movement and will be released worldwide for free during the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls.
The comic book series was honored by UN Women as a “gender equality champion” and had over 500,000 downloads and hundreds of news stories written about it reaching millions of readers worldwide. Additionally, several large colorful augmented reality murals from the comic book were painted on walls throughout Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi.
Inspired by ancient mythological tales, the comic book tells the story of Priya—a mortal woman and gang-rape survivor—who returns home on her flying tiger, Sahas, and discovers all the young women have disappeared in her rural village including her sister, Laxmi. She learns they were taken to an underground brothel city called Rahu ruled by a demon who gets his power through fear and entrapment of women.
The comic book integrates cutting-edge technology and was one of the first comic books to use augmented reality. By scanning the cover and pages of the comic book with the free augmented reality app — Artivve, readers can unlock exclusive content including 3D-animation, real-life stories, and other fully immersive experiences including an eye-popping use of green-screen characters. The comic book and its use of augmented reality will be on display at the Global Health Film Festival at the Wellcome Trust in London (UK) from December 6-7, 2019.
In its third edition, creators Ram Devineni, Dipti Mehta, Syd Fini, and Neda Kazemifar have partnered with Apne Aap Women Worldwide – one of the world’s leading NGOs supporting at-risk girls and women in India and the U.S. by ensuring them access to their rights and working for policy and social change.
The NGO’s founder Ruchira Gupta said, “It is a multi-billion dollar industry trading in human beings – majority who are vulnerable women and girls who are trafficked for exploitation. We need to change global consciences if we want to end it. The story of Priya is inspired by my own experiences, and I will definitely use PRIYA AND THE LOST GIRLS as a tool to change global consciences for my campaign, the Last Girls.” The launch event at Sheroes’ Hangout is November 30 2019, and the center is owned and run by acid-attack survivors. The Merriweather Art District launch is December 7, 2019.
Writer Dipti Mehta researched in red-light districts of Mumbai for her award-winning one-woman show, Honour. She adds, “the stigma that surrounds women trapped in the brothels makes it nearly impossible for them to get out of their circumstances. Priya is a female superhero of the #MeToo generation, she inspires teenagers to treat women differently — especially those who are victims of sexual abuse.”
While, Ram Devineni researched the story in Sonagachi in Kolkata — the largest red-light district in Asia. “Often, I would see the women crammed into small rooms and sleeping in the same beds with their children that they shared with their clients. Sonagachi became the inspiration for Rahu in the comic book. It was a disheartening and difficult story to tell.”
The comic was originally funded by the Tribeca Film Institute Media Fund from the Ford Foundation, and the World Bank. The third edition was developed during the Merriweather District’s Artist-In-Residency program, located in Columbia, MD.
The comic book is free worldwide in every digital format and downloadable in English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Hindi off the project’s website. Rattapallax, a literary publishing house and film production company based in New York City and New Delhi, is producing the entire project.
Profiles of participants:
DIPTI MEHTA is an award-winning, actor and writer. She wrote “HONOUR: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan,” which is an attempt to give voice and a face to brothel dwellers bringing their humanity to encounter that of her audiences, and is now touring internationally, creating awareness about the issues of trafficking and human rights. She is best known for her portrayal of Reina in “Life! Camera Action,” which brought her multiple international awards and nominations.
RAM DEVINENI is a filmmaker, publisher and founder of Rattapallax films and magazine based in New York City and New Delhi. He produced, edited and directed the feature documentary, “The Karma Killings,” which was shot in India and released on Netflix. Recently, he produced “The Russian Woodpecker,” which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. He is the creator of the comic book series, “Priya’s Shakti.”
RUCHIRA GUPTA is a writer, an Emmy winning journalist, founder of an Indian grassroots sex-trafficking organization, Apne Aap Women Worldwide, and professor at New York University. As an activist on social justice and women’s issues, she has won the Clinton Global Citizen Award.
Artwork created by SYD FINI and NEDA KAZEMIFAR.
Ram Devineni (Creator) and Dipti Mehta (Writer) are available for interviews