India Strikes Back!

India stands proud and tall today. The Indian Army went across the LOC early this morning, targeted 7 terror launch pads, eliminated about 38 terrorists and 9 Pakistani army men who were defending the terrorists. Our soldiers returned safe – no casualties. They avenged the Uri deaths. They got an opportunity to do so only because there was a will on the part of our government. Instead of throwing empty words on our faces while keeping the hands of our defense-forces tied, unlike the previous government, this government did something tangible, and they did it the right way.

There’s a limit to be patient with ignorance and vileness; and with the Uri attacks, that limit was breached. We cannot continue to play with those who hobnob with the ones intent on killing us – India was forced to act to contain the terrorist attacks that were carried out from across the border, under the aegis of Pakistan.

Today I was reminded of the day two years ago when I voted for change, and when I rejoiced with a renewed hope because after such a long time, we would have an Indian in the driving seat.

I want to thank our armed forces for keeping our borders secure, and PM Modi and team for taking decisions that uphold the pride and honor of India. For once, I am glad to have voted.

Caricature of Narendra Modi as BJP wins the 2014 Indian elections.

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International Yoga Day (Caricature Art)

The mood is upbeat. Today is the International Yoga Day. One might think that UN suddenly woke up to the health-concerns of the world and made this announcement. It did wake up, but only after some lobbying by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who himself starts his day with yoga.

(Feel Free to reuse this caricature-artwork graphic, to laud this day and to herald Harmony & Peace. Though welcome, no special credit/link-back is required, but please use the graphic as-is, in its entirety.)

Caricature of Narendra Modi and The International Yoga Day Symbol - June 21

 

May the world become healthier and happier.

Amen!

Cartoon of a Delhi Girl… all buttoned up!

I always thought that my fashion sense left a lot to be desired, but then this lady who entertained the whole male and the cartoonist female population of the Delhi Metro about a week ago, gave me a superiority complex.

Now anyone who knows anything about EZs (erogenous zones) would not have designed those trousers, unless they were meant to do a specific job, which is flag down people looking for a specific kind of…should we say, gratification? While a tiny pattern on the fly would be a subtle use of EZs, those three huge Mother-of-Pearl buttons glowed like a neon signboard that screamed for attention. “Look here. NOW!”

Here’s the lady whose buttons forced me to draw her. Note that the exaggerations are minimal.

cartoon pen and ink drawing of delhi girl with huge buttons on her fly - texting away on the metro.

All Buttoned up!

The story of these EZ-flaunting dresses begins with those aesthetics-challenged dress-designers who bunked their fashion design classes, and who let their erogenous designs loose on Janpath (the fashion-mecca for exploding lower middle class of Delhi.) These EZ-highlighting designs are then picked up by the young girls who’ve just arrived in the city of their dreams, and who want to get that hep Delhi Girl look asap.

This lady, however, has only worn a pair of trousers that would make men get fixated on her…well, buttons. I’d put it only a notch above tight belly button displaying tank-tops, or the low-rise, edge-of-panty on display, denims. In fact, I found myself appreciating this lady’s no-nonsense, direct, and to-the-point approach of directing the viewer’s attention to stuff that really matters.

Another lady whose cartoon will not be published here (because this is a family blog,) would win the “Accident-Causers of Delhi crown” without batting an eyelash. She too made me think better of myself. You see, I am very, very, very absent-minded – but I’ve never gone shopping without wearing a lower garment!

50 pairs of eyes that were anchored to their delectable target, had helped me spot this lady in one of the busiest markets in Delhi. Men of all ages and callings had their eyes fixed on the rump of a young woman wearing a canary yellow shirt that barely covered her posterior assets. As she swung her hips, a flash of black confirmed that she had her panties on (I confess, I had my doubts.)

I saw people slowing down their bikes and cars to get a better look; I saw even women doing a double-take because they couldn’t believe their eyes, and to put the icing on the cake, I also saw the happy-as-a-pup-with-an-icecream-tub guard who had the opportunity to get a close-up view because the absent-minded lady who had forgotten her lower garment home, decided to go into a shop that was on the first floor. May God bless that yellow canary whose bottom brought so much happiness to everyone in that market.

But then there’s an underside to everything – a dark cloud with every silver lining. That day, people did bump into one another and I suppose some bikers did too. I’m sure that if our canary had displayed her assets on a busy road, she’d have dispatched a few to their permanent abodes in heaven.

Delhi indeed is a dangerous city!

– Reporting from Delhi,

The Caricaturist.

Caricature/Cartoon – The Angry Young Man of the Indian Film Industry – The Great Amitabh Bachchan!

I had been thinking of drawing the caricature of Amitabh Bachchan ever since I began this blog some ten months ago, but I didn’t because I couldn’t decide which version of Amitabh should grace this space. The young Amitabh who I grew up with, or the older and the currently popular Big B! I vacillated. I got my references in order for both – and waited.

For reasons unknown to me – I can’t connect with Big B. He isn’t the Amitabh who we talked about when I was a child – Big B is a father and an exemplary one too, who sits with his son on his lap so that his halo blinds us into believing that his son too has got one; he is a patriarch trying to put together an inheritance for his next twenty generations; he is an anchor of a very serious show built around the middle-class dream of becoming a millionaire – Big B is different from the Amitabh of my childhood.  I loved his image of the angry young man, the young and emotional persona that swept the entire country off its feet in the 70s and 80s! If that young Amitabh wasn’t there, Big B, Abhishek Bachchan…and all the rest of them wouldn’t be!

I present, with my respect, regard, and love, the caricature of the legendary Bollywood hero, the Great Actor  of the Indian Film Industry – Amitabh Bachchan, in his young Avatar!

Caricature, Cartoon, Sketch, Portrait, of young Amitabh Bachchan, the legendary actor of the Indian Cinema - Bollywood, now also known as the Big B!

Amitabh Bachchan – During his “Angry Young Man” Days!

Here’s a short biography of Amitabh Bachhan.

Amitabh Bachchan’s Shortest Biography on the Web (which still is long enough!)

Amitabh Bachchan, was born on 11 October 1942, in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India. His father Harivansh Rai Bachchan was a Hindi Poet, who was as modern in his ideology as he was in his poems. Long back when the caste system still ruled the roost in India, he got married to a beautiful Sikh girl called Teji, and their union resulted in Amitabh and Ajitabh! Harivansh Rai Bachchan was a Shrivastav, who used Bachchan as his pen name, which became extremely popular, and so the family decided to adopt Bachchan as their surname.

Amitabh, unlike the scions of the affluent and the influential didn’t study at Oxford or Harvard, because he probably was born before Harivansh Rai Bachchan had reached the pinnacle of his success. Thus, the Kirorimal College of Delhi University can boast of being his Alma Mater! Three Cheers for KMC at DU.

Now young Amitabh tried to work for a shipping company run by birds – but his Mom Teji Bachchan possibly told him that he was made for bigger and better things. Young Amitabh decided to give acting a shot in 1969 and debuted in Saat Hindustani (7 Indians! Wow…and all of them in the same movie! No wonder that the movie didn’t do great at the box office. If you are reading between the lines…there’s nothing…honestly.) However Amitabh ended up with an award!

Then onwards, there was no stopping the tall young man with those smoldering eyes and with that deep baritone voice. In 1973, came his biggest success – Sholay (The Violent Sparks of Fire)! By this time, Amitabh had established his Angry Young Man image completely. His fans were beginning to copy his hairstyle, his dance moves, his dialogs, even the angry look in his eyes! Amitabh was fast becoming a phenomenon in Bollywood.

Sometime around the late eighties, when Amitabh was shooting for Coolie, he was injured. With that almost fatal injury, he turned somewhat pessimistic. One thing led to another (as it always does in my posts,) and Amitabh disappeared from the scene for almost a decade. However, the new century brought about a change in the Bacchhan family’s fortunes. It began with Mohabattein in which he worked with Shahrukh Khan. In the same year, he also appeared as the host of the TV Show “Kaun Banega Crorepati” (the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”).

His most recent success was Paa, in which his son Abhishek played his father, and for which he won the National Award for Best Actor.

Amitabh Bachchan – Interesting Infobytes:

  • Amitabh could’ve been called Inquilab (Revolution) had his name not been changed to Amitabh. I wonder whether his name would’ve changed his fortune.
  • Amitabh and Jaya (his wife) worked together in a movie called Guddi, before they got married. There’s about a 14 inch difference in their heights.
  • Amitabh has been romantically linked with the beautiful Bollywood actress Rekha (his co-star in Silsila.)
  • He is the first Asian actor to have his wax model at Madame Tussaud’s
  • His most common screen mom was Nirupa Roy.
  • His most common screen name used to be Vijay.
  • He was awarded the Hottest Male Vegetarian Award by PETA.
  • Amitabh Bachchan’s family has not one but two legends – Amitabh and Aishwarya, his daughter-in-law!

A List of Amitabh Bachchan’s Films:

  1. Saat Hindustani
  2. Anand
  3. Reshma aur Shera
  4. Guddi
  5. Zanjeer
  6. Abhimaan
  7. Namak Haraam
  8. Roti, Kapda, aur Makaan
  9. Chupke Chupke
  10. Deewaar
  11. Sholay
  12. Kabhi Kabhi
  13. Amar Akbar Anthony
  14. Trishul
  15. Don
  16. Muquaddar Ka Sikandar
  17. Mr. Natwarlal
  18. Do aur Do Paanch
  19. Lawaaris
  20. Silsila
  21. Yaraana
  22. Kalia
  23. Satte pe Satta
  24. Namakhalal
  25. Khuddaar
  26. Coolie
  27. Sharabi
  28. Shahenshah
  29. Mohabbatein
  30. Baghban
  31. Black
  32. Sarkar
  33. Nishabd
  34. Cheeni Kum
  35. Paa

(This, of course, is a partial list of his movies, but I guess it covers the collectibles!)

My Childhood Love – A Naked Truth – A Caricature of Life!

Important Note:

This isn’t the usual fare that’s served at this blog. If you’ve arrived here through a search and if you are looking for caricatures click the Gallery link and if you are here for the Story-in-the-Caricature Blog Carnival, click here.

However, if you are looking for nothing in particular and if for some unfathomable reason you care about the beautiful unique relationship I share with Pratap Mullick, read on.

There’s a good chance that you know neither about Pratap Mullick nor about me, but if you are an artist who grew up in the far-flung regions of India, where if you wanted to buy a magazine, you’d have to travel about 40 miles – you probably have seen Pratap Mullick’s art.

WARNING:

I am NOT talking about Nagraj Comics. He did illustrate the first 50 of those…but I haven’t seen those illustrations. (Pratap Mullick illustrated for Nagraj Comics before 1995 – and Nagraj comics aren’t really what we’d call the “classics” so I can’t find the old issues anywhere. Honestly I don’t care about what I see of Nagraj Comics now! Searches of “Pratap Mullick” often throw up image results that show the work of other artists – and that work isn’t at the same scale of quality as Pratap Mullick’s…so I take no responsibility for misconceptions born out of indiscriminate searches.)

When I was a child, I was not just a child, I was a girl child; and despite being born in quite an emancipated family, nobody thought to ask me what I’d like to become when I grew up. Until I was ten, school was a mercurial affair – it was there, then it wasn’t, then again…it was there, and then it wasn’t. We often lived in places where ours was the only family for miles around. So I had a lot of time to read what I wanted to instead of reading what I had to.

Once a month, my father would take us to the nearest town, and I’d spend my monthly pocket-money (5 Rupees) on comics. I’d buy some combination of Indrajal comics (1 Rupee) and Amar Chitra Kathas (1.50 Rupees, if I remember right.) Indrajaal comics distributed the Phantom comics and the Mandrake comics in India – they later created their own hero, Bahadur too. In contrast, Amar Chitra Kathas (translates to: Immortal Stories with Pictures,) had stories from Indian Mythology and History. After a few months of buying both, I decided that I preferred Amar Chitra Kathas, so I requested my parents for an increment of one rupee in my pocket-money and began buying four Amar Chitra Kathas instead.

It was then that I realized that some of the Amar Chitra Kathas had drawings that were considerably better than those in others. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I was a selectively curious child. For a long time, it didn’t occur to me that real artists made those drawings, and I never thought that I could one day illustrate for books and magazines. I drew because it was nice to draw.

Coming back to the point, I realized that certain drawings looked better – in fact, they looked beautiful. They inspired me to draw better. Without realizing that I was learning from those drawings, I began to learn. I learned about proportions, shades, backgrounds, perspectives…I looked at those drawings and then looked around – and then I’d try to draw what I saw, the way they were drawn in those drawings.

I still didn’t know that there was an artist behind those drawings, so next when I went to the town and shopped for Amar Chitra Kathas, I’d look inside, check out the drawings, and instinctively select the Amar Chitra Kathas with those beautiful drawings. My parents would wonder why I selected some and rejected some – but they never asked and I never told. It was my secret.

When kids grow up, they are often asked what they’d like to be when they grew up – in my time, a girl child was seldom asked this question – and so I never could connect art with illustration. If I were asked the question, I might’ve said something like – I would like to draw…and then one thing could’ve led to another, and I might’ve ended up becoming a “real” artist. But for this reason or some other, there was a mental gap somewhere – some synapses didn’t connect – somehow I never realized that art could be a profession as well.

Then during the Nineties there was a time when it was difficult to find Amar Chitra Kathas on the bookstalls, and once in while I’d think about those beautifully illustrated comics, and feel sad. But they probably experienced some sort of revival and I began seeing Amar Chitra Kathas again. One day, when I was in a bookstore, I picked one of them up. I picked it up gingerly – ready to be disappointed – ready to accept that as a child what I found beautiful was indeed crass and mediocre. But the comic that I had instinctively picked up had the same beautiful drawings that I had fallen in love with as a child. I had picked up “Urvashi.

But I was a different Shafali now. I knew that a real artist did those illustrations, and so with my heart beating hard against my ribs, I checked out the cover for the credits – expecting to find none. (Our publishers often fear that they’d lose their illustrators and so they don’t provide credit to the artists.) But there it was. It said: “Illustrated by: Pratap Mullick”! For the first time, I knew the name of the man who had held my hand and steadied it as I learned to draw – for the first time in my life, my thoughts went beyond those drawings and I visualized what his life must’ve been – for now I also know a lot about the struggle that life is for an Indian artist.

It was a moment that was both happy and sad. The fact that Pratap Mullick could survive in this world and that he made drawings that’d survive him – made me happy. The fact that a man of his caliber, wasn’t celebrated – wasn’t known – and wasn’t given the status he deserved, made me sad. I should’ve heard his name as one of the great artists of India – he changed lives, he helped people learn art, and he still remains the best book illustrator that India has ever seen – and believe me when I say that because I spend hours looking at illustrations…and just one illustration is what it takes to tell you what an artist is worth!

As someone who’s keen on art, I wonder why an Amar Chitra Katha that he illustrated should sell at the same price at which all other Amar Chitra Kathas would sell? The comics he illustrated are collectibles – the comics that others did…well they just earned their living! If you don’t know what I am talking about buy “Vasantasena” and “Vasavadatta” – and compare them (Don’t go by the cover illustrations…they are always done well.) ! I just hope that he was at least paid better.

The question is – Why do we normalize? Why do we pull real talent down to the level of mediocrity?

We all know the answer…don’t we? This ability of the human race, is one of the things that define our humanity. We’ve decided to trash the evolutionary theory of “Survival of the Fittest” and that’s precisely why we are headed where we are…

Downhill.