Chennai

On witty strokes and beyond

clever lines:Journalist journalist Kausalya Santhanam intercating with cartoonistsV. Keshav and P. Surendra in Chennai on Saturday. —Photo: K.V. Srinivasan  

For many in the city, the day does not begin without devouring the headlines of The Hindu, over piping hot filter kaapi. Some members of a dedicated tribe head straight to the editorial page, and one reason for that is ‘Cartoonscape’.

Cartoonists V. Keshav and P. Surendra, who have been with the daily from 1987 and 1996 respectively, were in discussion on Saturday with Kausalya Santhanam, Vennirul Art Gallery, C.P. Art Centre, which had been exhibiting their cartoons. A journalist, she has worked with both the artists at The Hindu. It was a rare event to see the duo, hailed for exercising great restraint with words and letting the cartoons do all the talking, speak on their trade.

According to Mr. Keshav, he has agonising days when ideas just don’t come knocking at the door. “I do face cartoonist’s block; about 90 per cent of work is done if I can figure out what I want to say. Conveying the idea then is easy,” he said, adding that while events tend to repeat themselves in time, it is important to adapt the cartoons to the present.

And speaking of adapting to the times, Mr. Surendra noted that technology has helped speed up what was usually a long process. “Earlier, it used to take a day to even see your cartoon on the paper. Now, I can work on my cartoon till the last minute, before the pages are passed by the editorial team,” he explained.

Mr. Keshav observed that refraining from hurting religious sentiments was topmost priority. “As a political cartoonist, our responsibility lies in stirring up the rage of the common man, by filling the gap between the ‘aam aadmi’ and the politicians,” he said.

When asked who their favourite subjects were, both Mr. Surendra and Mr. Keshav named former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N.T. Rama Rao, and former Prime Minster P.V. Narasimha Rao. “You see, it is very difficult to draw someone who is very handsome; it took me a long time to perfect Rahul Gandhi’s features,” laughed Mr. Keshav.

When a member of the audience said he had not heard of too many women cartoonists, both Mr. Surendra and Mr. Keshav agreed that there were very few in the country, although there were prominent women cartoonists in the U.S. and Iran.

‘The Art of Cartooning’ runs between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. till August 4 at the gallery in Alwarpet.


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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 3:35:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/on-witty-strokes-and-beyond/article7465648.ece

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