Feb 3, 2008

The Uncommon Man

I happened to see an interview of R K Laxman on CNN-IBN, today. The wit and brilliance of his answers made it a masterpiece of a show. The interviwer , a Ms Anuradha Sengupta, was so unlike the rest of the CNN-IBN coterie. Her questions were reflective and intuitive. Moreover she seemed to be enjoying the intelligence of the legendary cartoonist. This was a follow up to the Indian of the year award function, where he was honored with a Lifetime achievement award.

Some bits that I relished (recollected from memory, may not be verbatim) :

Interviewer : Your cartoons depict corruptness of politicians, lack of implementation of schemes , traffic jams and other such decadence. Is Mr Laxman a cynical man?
R K Laxman : Yes, I am a cynical man. I was born a cynic.
Interviwer: Don’t you have any optimism?
R K Laxman : no. Optimism is believing everything will be good. It only makes things worse.
Interviwer : Do you think the media of today, the papers and the TV channels give the common man a voice?
R K Laxman.: The common man will never speak. He is not interested in being heard.

Interviwer: Mr. Laxman, in today’s world, do you see yourself as a moral crusader?
R K Laxman: No. I don’t. There is nothing to learn from my cartoons. I simply want people to see the ridiculousness of some situations.I am no moral crusader.
Interviwer: Why not?
R K Laxman : It is not my business.

Interviwer: Is Mr Laxman a difficult person to live with?
R K Laxman : Yes. I have my demands.
Interviwer: Like what? Do you need to be left alone?
R K Laxman: Yes. I like to be left undisturbed.
Interviwer: Do you give others such liberties?
R K Laxman: No. I don’t.I correct them.
Interviwer: Mr Laxman, you have double standards.
R K Laxman : Yes. I do. Its good to have double standards.

R K Laxman’s satirical sketches have always been succinct and right on target. Some of them are gems to be framed. It was a rare treat to savour a sample of the Uncommon mind behind the Common Man.

P.S : Do try to catch it, if there is a re-run, or if it is available on the web. A must watch.
P.P.S:Cross posted at the media blog.

Update: The transcript of the interview can be found here. Link courtesy : Aravindh


Hari said...

Hey! I missed this. I just saw him getting the award and also getting very emotional about it. I am sure it will be available in Youtube.

By the way, do you know this Anuradha Sengupta wrote a highly one sided review of "Sivaji" and got mauled by comments for it? Check out the blogs section in ibnlive website and looks for her blog. She was completely shocked by the response. Some 1800 comments!!! She finally had to say she now really the power of both Rajinikantha and the internet!!

Hari said...

I mean "realized the power of both Rajinikanth and the internet!!"

EnGeetham aka "My Song!" said...

Used to love RK's cartoon - I recall at the height of Punjab problem (in the 80s) - and when we were in the North; his cartoon said something like, "Everytime we come up with a solution, they come up with a problem". At that time (and age) I found it insightful and funny !!

Anonymous said...

I love R.K cartoons...amazing and though provoking ones....
At the same time,in NDTV award(telecasted in some other channel)..Mr Mukesh got award from our h'rbl Finance minisiter...
On request of journalist,Mukesh questioned to P.C was..'He liked to see less taxes in the followign budget.' and the witty reply from P.C is 'World richest and poorest man dont want taxes and it is common problem'...
It was nice to watch those interview..

Sat said...

//Optimism is believing everything will be good. It only makes things worse.
hehehe....the man doesnt seem too different from his cartoons :)
I bet the interviewer would have been at his wit's end...guess i'll look up on you tube (which i doubt; more likely to get it if it were to be SRK or some other bollywood actor!) or CNN IBN site.

The last adam said...

Cha! missed it...the transcript should be available somewhere...will track it down.
The RKs are an awesome pair of brothers! Imagine their parents plight...with fingers and tongues such as RKs', Im sure they wud've had a touch time..
hey! has anyone interviewed their parents ever?

The last adam said...

err...I meant a 'tough time'...slip of the fingers :)

~SuCh~ said...

Rajni-o-mania has become a phenomenon intriguing many up north.. But here in the south, Rajni is God, and for believers, God is to be accepted, sans all Koshtins.. :)
That one is timeless, and stands to define the Indian way of life :)
Poor P.C, all one can think of is taxes, whenever he shows up.. esp during these months.. And do please leave your name when you visit next time :)
welcome..:) please drop in a line here if you can find the video..
@the last adam,
In the interview, Laxman said he was fortunate to have parents who didnt interfere with his sketching , and RKN spent most of his childhood away from his parents home.. Perhaps kids grow the best, when left undisturbed.. :)Welcome to my blog..:)

Rajesh R said...

Intriguing blog.

always said...

yeh hai junglistaan http://www.ibnlive.com/blogs/rajeshkumar/388/50468/junglistan-in-celebration.html