Comics take risqué turn

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Though an imaginary character, Savita Bhabhi caught the eye, fancy and naughty imagination of Indians, whose comic strip options till then had been been limited to humour, mythology and children’s tales.

The cartoon character, who was introduced by UK-based Deshmukh in March 2008, was the first Indian pornographic character and some felt it represented the face of the new ultra-liberal Indian. Though the Savita Bhabhi strip came to a stop in 2009, Deshmukh has now started a whole new comic strip on starlet Rozlyn Khan. In the strip, the model allowed her looks to be caricatured into a cartoon that shares her name.
“I am probably the first Indian on whom a comic strip is based. The cartoon character has taken my looks and name, but the stories are all fictional,” says Rozlyn, who feels comics is one of the best ways to capture the imagination of people. “Now I will not have to strip for my fans. My cartoon will do it for me. Though it is not hard porn like Savita Bhabhi, there is use of naughty words and skin show. I guess this is enough to capture people’s mind. Plus, I have made it very clear that nothing obscene should go in my name in this comic strip,” she adds.
Somewhere Savita Bhabhi and now Rozlyn have managed to sow the seeds of a new concept. Graphics are not limited to a certain genre anymore. Agreeing that comic strips have a broader horizon now, Vikrant Dutta, author of Ode to Dignity and The Dark Rainbow says, “Value systems and permissiveness has seen a multifold rise in the past decade and gone are the strong, moralistic value systems which governed the Indian society. The infiltration of western liberalism was waiting to strike with the free flow of Internet and hence comic strips falling prey to soft titillation is just another measure in the huge soft porn industry, which has a market amongst the curious and the sex-deprived. Indian society still is not very open and is a great milking ground for such readership. It fulfills an inner desire and the need to imagine and fantasise. Having said that, I also feel comic strips can be made on our sporting heroes, people of eminence or those who have made a significant contribution to the society and these would sufficiently inspire the children.”
George Mathen, creator of famous graphic novel Legends of Halahala, says he is already toying with the idea of taking on the world of corruption and advertising through comic strips. “Now comic strips and graphics can address a number of issues. They can be critical pieces, which present a certain opinion on current issues and attack those things that people do not agree with. I am planning to start a new strip which is going to address the advertising world and expose its negative side. Advertisements are considered to be a ‘word of God’ in India and I am going to question these ads in a humourous way and expose certain things,” says George.
Commenting on this new culture of comic strips on wannabe starlets, actor Aparnaa Bajpai says it’s a good medium for cheap publicity. “I won’t say it is wrong because if your agenda is to get famous and you get it through this medium, then kudos to you! If you are showing off your assets and people are getting to see what they desire, then no one should complain. But personally, I feel it is a cheap medium of blowing your trumpet. I believe you should let your work and talent speak,” she concludes.

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