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Telling it as it is

A SUB-EDITOR by day and cartoonist by night, Unnikrishnan finds politics the ideal getaway from the daily grind of human life. "I go to politics to find humour," says this journalist with Mathrubhumi, who has ample access to the day-to-day happenings in the political arena. Little wonder then that the 100-odd cartoons that were on display at Durbar Hall Art Centre recently depicted politicians, stripped of all niceties. Aware that his work has but a limited period of relevance, the task of a cartoonist is really a medley between time and talent, often a race between the two. Further complicated by the obscure statements churned out by those who run the country, he has to sift through these to unravel the truth. Vijayadashmi Apathasanchalanam is a pithy and brilliantly comic expression of the goings on in the ruling party. The conflicts within this political family are succinctly drawn out in which the Sangh Parivar is in the midst of its route march when suddenly the top leadership changes tack and starts moving in the opposite direction complete with drums, trumpets and flags. Even as the trio of Vajpayee, Advani and Venkaiah Naidu flaunt placards tom-tomming the ideas of disinvestment, privatization and globalisation the rest of the squad is stumped.

Unnikrishnan believes that the success of a comic strip is directly linked to its newsworthiness. While readers have little time to go through reams of news stories, a cartoon is a time saving device to keep issues alive. Besides, certain topics such as communalism and poverty have become clichéd and stale and readers tend to skip them. The cartoon becomes an attention-grabbing means to generate sufficient interest in them, he says. Tom and Jerry Show likens the two popular cartoon figures to A. K. Antony and V. S. Achuthanandan respectively. Tired and hungry, Tom salivates for a piece of that inviting cake, while Jerry cleverly moves it away from his reach.

In yet another caricature, Narendra Modi savours his moment of glory after his electoral success, towering over lesser mortals, which include Vajpayee and Advani. Unnikrishnan's drawing is faultless but there is still enough text in there, so that its significance and audience remains limited to the Malayalam speaking people.


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