The Mumbai Confidential pitch document

When Vivek and I started shopping around Mumbai Confidential, we prepared a simple two page pitch document that tried to introduce the story and high concept to publishers. There’s no right or wrong way to write a pitch. This worked for us. So we’re sharing this for other creators who wish to see a real pitch document (Given that Archaia published Mumbai Confidential, the pitch actually worked! :) ).

This document goes into some details about the plot. So it might contain *SPOILERS* about the book. You can purchase the hardcover for Mumbai Confidential on Amazon or Amazon India.

About Mumbai Confidential
Mumbai Confidential is a creator owned crime-noir comic book series created by Saurav Mohapatra and Vivek Shinde. The “Digital First” edition is available on ComiXology and the print hardcover is available on Amazon and FlipKart, from Archaia. Please do follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Reviews: http://mumbaiconfidential.com/reviews

Here’s the text of the pitch document we sent out:

MUMBAI CONFIDENTIAL

Book 1 -"Good Cop, Bad Cop"
Proposal for a 120 Page Graphic Novel
By Saurav Mohapatra (mohaps@gmail.com)

Logline

"James Ellroy writes SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE"

The Hook

Hardboiled noir about a Dirty Cop taking on Killer Cops in Mumbai

What is it?

A 120 page crime-noir graphic novel about the "Encounter Cops" of Mumbai.

Who is it?

Saurav Mohapatra (story) and Vivek Shinde (art)

The Pitch

In the Indian city of Mumbai, Cops tasked with carrying out extrajudicial executions of wanted criminals turn it into a business for contract killings and extortion.

Troubled by the rise of the underworld that ran amok in Mumbai, the government authorized an elite police unit to apprehend and execute gangsters. These extrajudicial killings were filed away as fake "encounters" and thus the cops came to be known as the "Encounter Cops". But as the gangsters powers waned, the encounter cops themselves stepped in to fill the vacuum and ran the very same rackets they were created to eradicate.

That is the basic premise of Mumbai Confidential (MC) book 1 – "Good Cop, Bad Cop", a hardboiled crime-noir tale told though the eyes of ARJUN KADAM, a washed out drug addicted ex-cop. Once KADAM was a rising star in the ranks of the encounter cops, however the death of his pregnant wife at childbirth triggered a downward spiral that left him a pale shadow of himself. When KADAM is the victim of a hit and run, that also claims the life of a street urchin, he goes into coma for a month. After waking up, he finds a new sense of purpose and pursues the investigation into the identity of the driver on his own, when the police close the case for lack of leads. KADAM finds out that the driver was BALWAAN KHAN, an over the hill Bollywood B-Movie actor. This brings him into direct confrontation with his ex-colleagues (the encounter cops), who are now de facto gangsters in uniform and use KHAN’s movies to launder their money.

Mumbai Confidential is an attempt to bring the sub genre of "Mumbai Noir" to the international audience and to fuse it with the grim and gritty sensibilities of a James Ellroy tale.

Format

The story is told with a grayscale "wash" painted style and the narrative cuts between three timelines (the present, a month or so back and five years back). The story can either be presented as six 20 page issues or as a single 120 page original graphic novel.

Additionally, MC comes with a series of "Digital Shorts", which serve to enhance the main storyline. These will be printed in the eventual Trade Paperback or Collection as Bonus materials.

Demographic

MC is targeted at an audience similar to that for Frank Miller’s SIN CITY, the CRIMINAL series by Brubaker/Phillips and the fan base of James Ellroy. Though it is set in Mumbai, the creators sincerely feel that the universal appeal of hard-boiled crime-noir will make it accessible to the audience at large, with the exotic and unique setting adding to the flavor.

Plot

ARJUN KADAM, an ex-Encounter Cop, has lapsed into depression and heroin addiction after his pregnant wife’s death at childbirth. When he is involved in a hit and run, that leaves him in a coma and kills a street urchin, KADAM finds a new purpose in trying to solve the case the police quickly abandon as "unsolved". He finds the culprit – over the hill Bollywood B-Movie star BALWAN KHAN. But in trying to bring him to justice, he crosses paths with his ex-colleagues. The "Encounter Cops" led by the psychotic Inspector SAWANT have become the very thing they were mandated to eradicate.The corrupt cops now run the protection racket and launder their money through KHAN’s movies.

KADAM finds help from unlikely quarters – the gangsters, who lament the loss of control of the lucrative extortion racket to SAWANT’s cops. KADAM pits the gangsters against the crooked cops and in a final desperate gambit, sacrifices his own life to bring down the corrupt machine.

Creative team

Saurav Mohapatra lives in California and has written WITCHBLADE for Top Cow/Image DEVI, SADHU, INDIA AUTHENTIC and RYDERS for Virgin Comics. He co-created MUMBAI MACUGFFIN and JIMMY ZHINGCHAK for Virgin comics and has contributed to the second volume of THE PHANTOM CHRONICLES by MOONSTONE BOOKS. He’s currently working on his creator-owned projects MUMBAI CONFIDENTIAL and DHURANDHAR.

Vivek Shinde is a Mumbai based artist who has worked on SNAKEWOMAN, PROJECT: KALKI for Virgin Comics. He co-created and drew the newspaper strip SPECIAL OFFICER SAWANT for MID-DAY, a Mumbai daily. He’s also a freelance illustrator, concept/storyboard artist and a painter specializing in photo-realistic renderings. His past clients include INX Networks, Oglivy & Mather and Leo Burnett.

Further Reading and References

  • Mumbai Police "Encounter Squad" – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MumbaiEncounterSquad
  • "Bollywood",the Hindi film industry and the Mumbai Underworld – http://www.bollywhat.com/darkside.html
  • Bollywood Star involved in hit and run – http://www.rediff.com/news/2002/sep/28khan.htm
  • Mumbai Confidential website – http://mumbaiconfidential.com
  • Saurav Mohapatra’ blog – http://mohaps.com
  • Vivek Shinde’s blog – http://vivekshinde.blogspot.com