#FeatureFriday: A tribute to the cartoonists worldwide on this World Cartoonist Day

Cartooning can be described as a satire, caricature or humour. It has its roots in caricature, from the Italian word ‘caricare’, meaning, to load or exaggerate. With cartoon strips and graphic novels creating a buzz around the globe in today’s time, this art is only getting better. On this World Cartoonists Day falling on 5 May, here is an ode to the cartoonists in India. How they went to become one? What does cartooning mean to them? What inspires their art form? With veteran cartoonists to the aspiring and upcoming ones, get to know what they feel in their own words. Here are a few noted names from the industry: S. D. Phadnis, the veteran cartoonist and a mentor for many, whose cartoons speak a billion words wished all a humour filled World Cartoonists’ Day and shared his views in regards to the same, “Cartooning is in itself a strong influential language. You can do wonders and work on various subjects once you get to the niche of this language. Words are not always sufficient. Cartooning helped me cross the continent barriers easily. Phadnis gallery consists of my art works which reached out even internationally and then I realised that this medium has the power to go global. On this World Cartoonists’ Day, I hope and wish that this medium reaches out to more and more audience.” Charuhas Pandit, the creator of the beloved Chintoo finds cartooning as the medium to spread happiness. He expresses, “Cartoons are an eternal part of my life. Maybe watching or creating them. Cartooning is the best medium because one can spread happiness through these. When my readers remember even the old works of mine and appreciate those, my happiness doubles. And, this is what keeps me going with new ideas and concepts.” Prashant Kulkarni, a cartoonist working for newspaper, Loksatta, feels that cartooning is the most reaching medium to maximum people in a shorter span. “I am inspired by many political cartoonists like Ram Murthy, Laxman, Thackrey, Abu, Vijayan and others, and social cartoonists like Vasant Sarwate, S.D. Phadnis, Mario, Sempe, Steinbergand many more. Cartooning is the most powerful form of art which tells you truth in the shortest possible time. I thank God that I am a cartoonist.” Abhijeet Kini, the man who made Tinkle characters reach every kid. And now, whose Angry Maushi makes even the adults go nuts. “In today’s world, a little dose of humour is extremely essential, and that’s where cartoons and cartoonists come to one’s rescue. The medium is liberating, both while creating as well as consuming. My journey as a cartoonist started out as a fan of cartoons and comics, and I’m happy to be doing this full time today. If I am successful in bringing a smile to a person’s face through my art, then I think my objective as a cartoonist is achieved.” Charbak Dipta, the creator of the most appreciated series Indian Aliens comments, “Cartooning in India currently is a still a flourishing thing, struggling to reach out, mostly through the internet as it’s not the main-stream art. Publishing giants are ignoring budding cartoonists but the good fruit of it is that many indie publishing houses are being born. India is an ocean of stories and we should renovate those Indian themes and topics instead of just imitating the west.” Savio Mascarenhas’ cartoons speak his heart. His love for Mumbai is clearly reflected in his art works. “My first impressions of cartoons were of R. K Laxman in the TImes of India and Mario Miranda in my school English text books. And these lovely funny illustrations drew me into the world of cartooning and illustration. In today’s times we rarely get to see such class of cartoonists.” Uday Mohite, chief illustrator at Mid Day newspaper and an upcoming cartoonist who crafts his ideas in the most satirical ways feels, “If you get any idea for creating a cartoon and you couldn’t put it on paper, there is no other failure than that.” Soumyadipta Roy, an established animator and an upcoming cartoonist has his own say about this wonderful medium of expression. “Foreign countries get spectacular work done from us while we count the new notes. Companies say “It’s hard to find good artists in India”, Artists say “It’s hard to find a good pay scale in India” – we really have to have both join hands.” With the magic in these hands, keep spreading the happiness and humour all around. Honouring all the cartoonists on this World Cartoonists Day!