BANGALORE: Diwali is the time for all things sweet and a representation of the victory of all things good. Drawing the two themes together is an artist whose unique creations will pique your curiosity and your sweet tooth at the same time.
Artist Rajkamal Aich is the man behind some essentially Indian and quirky superheroes like the Samosa Boy, Jalebi Woman, Laddoo Boy, the Misti-Doi Man and the Bengali Vampire, all of whom represent the common men and women and a rather uncommon imagination.
These superheroes are a departure from the rather cliched interpretations of mythical characters and gods and draw on one of our country’s greatest universal as well as diverse aspects—its food! Each of these characters are common folk who don their super avatars when threatened with real injustice. Thus the ordinary Chotu Lal turns into Samosa Boy who can throw his samosa with “a deadly accuracy which explodes when it comes in contact with chutney.” Similarly Jalebi Woman is a regular Bengali girl called Mishti Bose who takes on the bad guys in her superheroine avatar where she “dunks enemies into sugar syrup after tying them in knots.” His characters are drawn from personal food memories like the jalebi. “I remember eating freshly made and hot jalebis after cricket practice at 6:30 am when I was a child. And this memory somehow translated into the inspiration behind the Jalebi Woman.”
Then there are the characters who have a slightly darker bent like the Bengali Vampire who sucks life out of plump and juicy rasgullas, leaving them as juiceless corpses. He is the scourge of all things sweet. Perhaps his polar opposite is the Misti-Doi Man who is an ordinary government employee hassled by his bosses and his wife. He finally finds meaning and purpose in his life as the Misti-Doi Man after he discovers that he can give his enemies high blood sugar.
Rajkamal Aich’s creations capture a child-like innocence where ordinary street food items transcend their humble origins to become a representation of the common man who could be a superhero by night. ‘Just like kids can transform a cardboard box into a plane, a castle or a ship with their imagination, I have taken food like jalebis, laddoos, the Bengali favourites of mishti doi and rasgulla and turned them into anthropomorphic super creatures who fight against evil with their very unique culinary powers. Interestingly, Rajkamal doesn’t really envision a comic book life for his characters.
Meanwhile, one can enjoy the brief linear tales of these sweet heroes on his Facebook page called Indian Superheroes. He is also the perfect artist for Diwali and his beautiful limited edition art prints are an ideal festive gift adding that touch of humour to your walls. The 14”x14” prints can be ordered via his Facebook page.