THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Cartoons are the voice of the common man. With minimal lines, cartoonists portray the angst, trials and tribulations faced by the common man. “A negative art,” cartoonist T K Sujith says, referring to how one can never be positive and how cartoonists act as a check on the anti-people policies of the government. “It is a space where the common man gets to air his ire, the most powerful form of dissent or protest. And one has to be brief and crisp if the idea has to be communicated in the same essence,” he adds.
The award-winning cartoonist has exhibited as many as 100 cartoons in the Akademi Art Gallery, Vyloppilly Samskriti Bhavan. Titled ‘Thalavarakal’, on display at the expo are the cartoons he crafted for the Malayalam daily Kerala Kaumudi.Influence of poetry, filmy dialogues, jingles and incidents in epics, can be seen in his cartoons, a tactic employed for the ease of communication, the cartoonist says. So one can see first-rate dialogues from famous Malayalam movies or instances from epics and movies weaved into the many political scenarios with a brilliance that cracks one up easily.
Sometimes ideas hit you like a lighting. Sometimes it is forced, when you adhere to certain themes, Sujith says, elaborating on the creative process that he goes through whilst crafting such clever and punchy cartoons. For instance, sometimes, you come across it whilst reading a book, and you lay in wait, waiting for the right juncture to wield it, he said referring to the cartoon on senior political leader Vayalar Ravi where he interlaced a scene from the novel ‘Khasakinte Ithihasam’ into the cartoon to signify how his political aspirations used to get sabotaged every time during cabinet re-shuffling. A host of such intriguing cartoons await one at the gallery.
Although not trained in art, Sujith was always drawing. “Even the drawings I made when I was young always had a tinge of humour in it,” he adds. After bagging a slew of awards for cartooning during college days and a spell contributing to newspaper dailies, Sujith, a postgraduate in law, finally took the plunge as a cartoonist in 2001 by joining Kerala Kaumudi. There has been no looking back ever since. His cartoons have since received a slew of awards and have been widely appreciated in national level as well.
The rise of social media has in a massive way helped bring the cartoons to a wider audience. Sujith adds he enjoys the memes and trolls fashioned out in social media and it also adds to the challenge of crafting something more sarcastic for the next day’s paper. “What sets apart a cartoon is the many layers that get communicated,” he adds.At a time when the government is extending its control on every right of the citizens, the role played by cartoonist can never be more crucial. “If you try to stifle the voice, scores of voices will come up. It is like a mirror. You try to shatter one image, many other images arise,” he adds.