Comic books are some of the best memories of our childhood. Remember how we were filled with worry and concern about our favourite characters and how we got upset when we missed an episode? That curiosity made artist Pavi Sankar to recreate the looks of two of the most read, adored and recognisable characters of Malayalam comic book history, Raju and Radha from Mayavi.
Pavi says those characters never age because they remain a constant in our lives. “But I used to imagine how they would look if they grow older as its readers get older? Like every other kid who grew up in the 90s, I, too, cannot imagine my childhood days without those comic books. We could not wait to read them. Mayavi was one of the most loved comic series at that time, and Raju and Radha were our people. It’s fascinating to imagine what anyone, particularly these iconic characters, will look like when they are older. So, that’s what inspired me to do it.”
Pavi’s artwork showing Raju and Radha as millennials is interesting and strangely moving. He portrays both of them posing for the cover photo of a famous magazine, with Raju carrying Mayavi’s magic club. “Since posting it online, many have been enquiring if I am doing a sequel to the comic. But sadly I am not. That curiosity shows how much people loved these characters. It was fun working it.”
Pavi is famous for his way of expressing his opinions on socio-political happenings. He believes in artistic freedom and reveals that sometimes, people do not respect his right to express. “Artistic freedom is the freedom to imagine, create and distribute diverse cultural expressions free of outside interferences. The freedom should not be misused, too. But when artists express their say through the means that they are good at, people can’t question it. They can surely disagree or support. But if we do not hurt anyone’s sentiments, one can’t simply use profanity against it. If one is using foul language, it is basically standing in my way when I am expressing something.”
Pavi’s latest works include one about the mining at Alappad, a tribute to boxing legend Muhammad Ali, and a digital work in which he portrays Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin as Frida Kahlo.
Pavi says in this era, one should use all the possibilities offered by modern technology to excel. “Because you are a painter, you should not restrict yourself to paint brushes and canvas. I am using new technologies that are available and paint using brushes as well.” He is worried about the society’s approach to artists, as art is not even accepted as a profession. Pavi is now associating himself with music bands and their live concerts, where he would paint something live along with the performances.
He will be talking at the upcoming Ted Talks happening in Ernakulam next week....