Kolkata-based designer Sasank Gopinathan’s hilarious redrawing of the all-American family, The Simpsons, as Tamil Iyers is a rage online. He talks about what made the series click
Ever since 25-year-old Sasank Gopinathan’s wildly creative redrawing of the oafish Homer Simpson and his famous family from American animated television series The Simpsons went viral roughly two weeks ago, the Kolkata-based designer has developed a rather endearing habit.
When in front of a computer, Gopinathan cannot help but refresh his profile page (where he first uploaded the drawings on March 21) every few minutes to check new comments and shares. In the young designer’s own words, he simply can’t believe it. “I am stunned and excited,” says Gopinathan over a telephone interview.
In his drawings, Gopinathan has transformed the all-American family into Tamil Iyers. So, Homer wears only a veshti (or, dhoti) and a sacred thread across his torso, and drools over the South Indian snack vadai instead of a doughnut. Lisa’s signature pearls are replaced with a gold chain and jimikis (a South Indian variant of the jhumkas). Bart exchanges the skateboard for a comfortable pair of sandals and pyjamas. The youngest member of the family, Maggie, even sports a black ‘beauty spot’. And quite unbelievably, Marge is in a sari.
The drawings have, so far, garnered more than 20, 500 views. They were also shared more than 6000 times on Facebook. Gopinathan was inundated with congratulatory messages and requests for interviews from all over, including Huffington Post. Yet, the best compliment came from home — a Bangalore-based photographer who said that Gopinathan’s Simpsons bore an uncanny resemblance to an Iyer family that he recently photographed at a wedding.
But this latest work to go viral on the Internet had the most unlikely of beginnings — in a sari. “My sister and mother, who make one off hand-painted saris, are responsible for this,” says Gopinathan. “A client in Singapore wanted a Simpsons-themed sari. As the client is a Tamilian, they decided to make it Iyer themed,” he explains. It helped that he is a huge fan of the show. “The show was a big part of my childhood. Everyone knows the Simpsons but no one’s made them into Tamil Iyers,” he says, explaining what made the series so popular among netizens.
And like a true fan, Gopinathan was careful to retain the basic design elements of the characters. “The drawing style needed to imitate the style of the Simpsons cartoon. So if they draw with bold black lines and simple block colours, I did the same,” he explains.