Suki’s World: A Cartoon Character’s Journey

On 7th February 2019 the Department of English, Jamia Milia Islamia hosted an extension lecture SUKI’S WORLD: A Cartoon Character’s Journey by the novelist, playwright, and comic strip artist Manjula Padmanabhan, conducted in the Seminar Hall of the Department, 11.30 am onwards.

It was started off by the Head of Department, Professor Nishat Zaidi where she introduced to us the field and work of Manjula Padmanabhan. The event was chaired by Dr. Baran Farooqi, who gave a warm welcome to the guests.

After thanking everyone, Manjula Padmanabhan started off the lecture by explaining what a comic strip actually is and the difference between illustrations, graphic novel, comic strip and cartoon drawings, how the decorum, language and working style is different in all these. Then she gave a power point presentation where the character of her comic strip, Suki is telling her own journey and explaining her history. She first emerged under the title of the strip names ‘Double Talk’ in 1982. And then after a break from 1987 to 1992, she was back in print for five years when the editor Vinod Mehta took over the Pioneer in New Delhi. Manjula Padmanabhan explained how comic strip making works as a profession, in terms of payments and how much space would be given to it in the newspaper.

There was no sight of Suki from 1998 till 2016. It was completely out of print and thu aawazs took a long rest. In 2016, when Sandhya Rao approached Manjula Padmanabhan and offered a regular column in Business Lines to which she suggested reviving Suki. Thus in this new era of printing, she explained the modern architecture and different tools used to draw these, and described the journey of going from handmade to computerised versions.

She ended the journey by showing the steps she herself takes in drawing them, and concluded the presentation by giving us some visuals from the comic strip Sukiyaki.

After a round of applause, the lecture was followed by a Q&A session. Students asked questions where they were interested in the life of the character Suki and about the future of cartooning, both political and otherwise.

The session was concluded by Dr.Baran Farooqi, where she gave pleasant and warm closing remarks. The ELA advisor Dr. Shubhi Abidi thanked all the guests and audience and showed gratitude on everyone’s behalf for Manjula Padmanabhan’s enlightening lecture.

Abeen Bilal Shayiq,
MA English, 4th semester, Jamia Millia Islamia

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