Won-Tolla founder Chaitanya Modak on how to ‘Be a man’ in his latest publication

When you pepper a meaty story with wry and witty humor, add some slices of life with stunning visual spreads for the toppings, what do you get? A fulfilling cinematic experience? Wrong! You produce Won-Tolla comics, or so the founder Chaitanya Modak states about the ingredients to his work. Based out of Mumbai and Pune, Modak’s venture is an indie comic publishing house that revolves around real-life issues, tackling them through the form of art. From the creator of The Manual of Love, The Parrot’s Tale, The Oracle of Tripe and Ladies Bike, comes yet another intriguing “bande dessinee” or drawn strips, in the form of a manual to shape your culinary skills! Animation Xpress gets in cahoots with Modak who gives an insight into his latest publication and what’s next in store. What’s the synopsis of Be a man? Man, lion or chicken, you are what you eat. Be a man is a larger-than-life sized, short manual that teaches you how to kill what you eat without using a knife, in less than thirty seconds. Who are the main characters of the story? An athletic, rather hungry man, an Asiatic lion and a hen named Asha are the main protagonists. Is it inspired by true events? It is based on my experience of culling chicken to feed the three leopards at an animal orphanage I worked at for more than three years, across school and college weekends and vacations. Each one of the three leopards would need at least three birds a meal, two times a week. I got a first hand glimpse into the minds of both – the chicken and the leopard. What interesting can the readers look forward into it? Be A Man is a hand-printed limited edition of 250. The manual will teach readers how to kill chicken without using a knife in less than 30 seconds. Is there a message you want to convey through this work? You are what you eat… and how you make it ready to eat! What challenges did you face while working on it? The book is silk-screen printed and has a 12” x 18” cut size. It took great skill to manage the size of the screen and to handle the huge squeegee to press the ink manually onto paper. That said, it was beautiful to watch it while it was being done. How has been the response to the comics so far? It’s been good. I have sold 10 per cent of the edition in just three weeks! What are your plans for coming months? I’m currently working on two book projects at the moment, one of which is expected by December and the other by April next year.