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What is inedible about India?

From Bihar's political jigsaw to religious intolerance, Chennai-based banker Rajesh Rajamani is creating an online stir with his satirical comic strip, that uses classic art to showcase contemporary India

Q. Why did you choose the title, Inedible India?
A. I created Inedible India after being inspired by Aarthi Parthasarathy's Royal Existentials. When I was making the first strip, I was sure that I wanted the series to be a satire on our society. I wanted to talk about social inequalities and eccentricities, which we couldn't and shouldn't digest. So, Inedible India seemed like an appropriate name.

An illustration from Rajamani's series which comments on moral policing and dress codes for women. Pic Courtesy/ Inedible India
An illustration from Rajamani's series which comments on moral policing and dress codes for women. Pic Courtesy/ Inedible India

Q.Why did you choose Raja Ravi Varma's paintings for the strip? Are there other painters who have inspired you?
A. Raja Ravi Varma's paintings are mostly based on Indian mythological characters and stories. They are beautiful, popular and readers can easily identify with them. And making mythological characters discuss social or political issues accentuates the satire. Ideally, I would prefer to use only his paintings because that would give uniformity to the series. But I will soon run out of them. Also, some issues demand paintings of a different kind. So, I try using other vintage Indian paintings created by artisan communities too; in such cases, the artist's name is mostly unknown.

A take on election analysis that ignores the ordinary voter. Webcomics Courtesy/Rajesh Rajamani
A take on election analysis that ignores the ordinary voter. Webcomics Courtesy/Rajesh Rajamani

Q.Tell us more about yourself.
A. I am an IIM (Indore) graduate, and I was working with a private bank in Mumbai before I moved to Chennai. Chennai has given me the opportunity to try out a few creative things. Currently, I am also working on a script for an English play.

This strip takes on the Left parties who claim to fight for the poor but have ignored realities like caste
This strip takes on the Left parties who claim to fight for the poor but have ignored realities like caste

Q. How has the response been?
A. It's been very positive. I was hoping that the page would reach 2,000 to 3,000 followers in a few months. But we have reached almost 20,000 followers in three months.

An Indian criticising Columbus Day is reminded of the prejudices of our festival narratives
An Indian criticising Columbus Day is reminded of the prejudices of our festival narratives

Q. Do you plan to go beyond social media with your work?
A. There are a few ideas I have like progressing to a video format, translating the comics to a regional language and trying a print version. But it's too early for all that.

Log on to www.facebook.com/inedibleindia1

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