Through unsavoury characters, political satire and dark humour, cartoons and caricatures have always managed to tickle our funny bones. Aside from using exaggerated tone and child-like innocence; these illustrations have served as an effective tool to spread awareness on issues plaguing the
Celebrating the freedom of expression that cartoons provide, Jagadish Kunte’s latest exhibition titled Silken Pinches questioned morality and political agenda. His allegorical depictions, bold illustrations and witty dialogues struck a balance between social satire and plausible reality. In conversation with City Express, Jagadish Kunte sheds some light on the future of cartoons in India.
■ How difficult is it to create cartoons?
Well, to be honest it is an agonising process. Of course, a good sense of humour makes all the difference. One always needs to be careful with satire though. I start brain storming in the morning usually. Then comes narrowing down on themes, getting the sketches done and submitting it to the editorial team on time. Sometimes ideas come to you within minutes, and sometimes it might take an entire day. The process is quite enjoyable actually.
■ When did you first develop your interest in cartoons?
It wasn’t planned at all. I worked as a part time librarian from tenth grade to college. I loved spending most of my time in the library amidst books. I would read periodicals and magazines that featured daily cartoons. I was fascinated with all of them and would try to sketch some of the cartoons. My first cartoon sketch appeared in 1972 in a magazine called Marmik whose editor was Bal Thackarey. It was a weekly magazine. Since then I have been working on
■ Has freedom of expression taken a new meaning in India?
Yes, the very definition of freedom has changed over the years. Today, people have become more intolerant. Earlier, even if you ridiculed powerful politicians, they would take it in the right spirit. I am afraid that ‘sense of humour’ is no longer appreciated. It is a horrible situation we are in. Therefore, cartoons too will have to change their outlook eventually.
■ Why is it that we are reluctant to accept the ‘truth’ today?
Well, I think there is already a lot of tension and competition in the world. Everyone wants to rise and shine. The end no longer justifies the means. Everyone is constantly thinking of themselves. I feel, there is no room for soft skills, humour or appreciation of talent in this entire milieu.
■ What is the future of cartoons in India?
I am quite optimistic about the future of cartoons. Times are changing and we need to evolve accordingly. The younger generation is intelligent and fast. The cartoons churned out by our generation no longer make any sense to the youth. In fact, cartoonists are always on the suffering end as we try to bring out the truth in a humorous fashion.
■ How important is art to our existence today?
It is extremely important. We have reached a tipping point today with respect to creativity. Hence I think art is vital for our existence. It is a gradient that measures the health of our society.
■ Jimi Hendrix once said When the power of love overcomes the love for power. The world will then see peace. Your thoughts on the same
I couldn’t agree more. Only when we truly understand the meaning of love and compassion, will we realise the importance of them in our lives.
Silken Pinches will be on view till March 31 at the Indian Cartoon Gallery, Off MG Road.