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Strokes that evoke laughter

Special Correspondent



PUNGENT LINES: The election cartoon exhibition at Town Hall in the city.

Kochi: A hearty laugh at the expense of a political party, a leader or an event forming part of friendly banter used to enliven village tea shops in Kerala in good old days.

It seems those times are passé with genuine humour, rather serious political humour, succumbing before its distant cousin of slapstick variety usually seen in contemporary mainstream Malayalam cinema. Humour appears to be anathema at least for Kochiites.

On Monday, when an exhibition of election cartoons of over 50 prominent national-vernacular cartoonists, ‘Electoons 2011', was organised at the Town Hall here, the attendance was thin.

To top it up, apart from the wonderful cartoons displayed, the seminar and the humour session held along with it turned out to be overtly dry and unimaginative.

Cartoonist Yesudasan, who inaugurated the humour session in the evening, was candid in his admission that though he drew cartoons, his speech had hardly ever evoked laughter.

He reflected on his experiences of cartooning over the decades and said that he found K. Karunakaran, EMS Namboothiripad and Nayanar the easiest political leaders to sketch.

“I used to have a hard time drawing A.K. Antony, though he is a dear friend,” he said.

“My only prayer now is that we get easy-to-caricature candidates laughing their way to the Assembly when poll results are declared on May 13. And, the government needn't be that clean.

“Without an occasional graft case or an allegation of corruption creating a flutter, we would be left without topics,” he said, giving the audience a frugal moment of humour.

Political observers advocate Jayasankar and former Vice-Chancellor of Sanskrit University K.S. Radhakrishnan made their election forecast for Ernakulam district as part of the programme. K. Babu and M.M. Monayi, MLAs, spoke.

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