How an architect-turned-novelist made MS Dhoni a ‘superhero’


When Ramesh Thamilmani started working as an architect many years ago, he drew sketches of his building plans alongside his team for his clients. Little did he know that this artistic skill would eventually lead him to design his own fictional world’ Atharva‘.

The Chennai-based architect turned graphic novelist has been in the limelight ever since he released the book cover poster of his upcoming work, ‘Atharva: the origin‘, Last week. It has cricketing legend, MS Dhoni, as a rugged looking superhero, much to the delight of fans on social media.

Written by Thamilmani, it took almost six years for this project to see the light of day. Developed by Virzu Studios in association with MIDAS Deals Pvt Ltd, the graphic novel was directed by MVM Vel Mohan and produced by Vincent Adaikalaraj and Ashok Manor.

First contact

Thamilmani admits before talking about his graphic novel that he is not a great reader. “But I think any work that involves using your creativity, whether it’s architecture or writing, we always tend to imagine visually. And that’s how I started creating this novel” , he said.

Thamilmani quickly shared his ideas with his team and worked with an editorial consultant to sketch out the plot.

Ramesh Thamilmani with Dhoni

Ramesh Thamilmani with Dhoni

As he began to grow, he eventually made contact with a mutual client who knew Dhoni. “I imagined how it would be if we had Dhoni as the hero of the novel,” says Thamilmani. “It was also the time when he announced his retirement from cricket. For me personally, I wanted him to turn into a hero now into a superhero.

He remembers how nervous he was when he first met her. “All we had was a single story line and about 4-5 sample sketches. heard the idea, Dhoni immediately decided to collaborate.

Thamilmani says working with him was surreal. “He came to work with us as a partner and was fully involved in the whole creative process. He was very patient and always liked to listen to ideas. He trusted us with everything we did and that was what we needed,” says Thamilmani.

Augmented reading experience

To capture the illustrations for the graphic novel, the team invited Dhoni and took over 2,000 photographs, capturing different poses and expressions. “Whatever illustrations of Dhoni you see in the novel, they are all realistic,” says Thamilmani.

Another book cover poster from 'Atharva: The Origin'

Another book cover poster from ‘Atharva: The Origin’

“When you think of reading, it’s always in 2D. We wanted to go beyond and provide an immersive experience,” says Thamilmani.

Therefore, the team created an app that can be downloaded for an augmented reading experience. When a reader scans the page of the graphic novel with the app, it displays visually appealing images of the characters floating in an isometric view above the book.

Thamilmani says the novel is the origin story of a character “who travels to figure out who he is”. “I suggest you read it entirely. All I can say is that Dhoni fans will be delighted to see him in this avatar,” the writer concludes. “Atharva: the origin” will be available for pre-order in the coming weeks.

Published on

February 13, 2022

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