Cartoonist & 'Common Man' creator RK Laxman passes away

NEW DELHI: Eminent cartoonist R K Laxman, who highlighted the woes of society through his cartoons featuring the Common Man, died of multi-organ failure. He was 93.


A recipient of both the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan, Laxman was spending a retired life in Pune, away from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai where he had for almost fifty years in ‘The Times of India’ ‘lived’ through his cartoons the woes of the common man in the cartoon series ‘You said it’.


He had commenced the daily cartoon strip, in 1951 and was forced to stop it only after a partial paralysis just over a decade earlier.


Laxman started his career as a part-time cartoonist, working mostly for local newspapers and magazines. While a college student, he illustrated his elder brother RK Narayan's stories in The Hindu. His first full-time job was as a political cartoonist for the The Free Press Journal in Mumbai. Later, he joined The Times of India, and became famous for the Common Man character.


Laxman was born in Mysore on 15 August, 1921. His father was a headmaster and Laxman was the youngest of six sons; Laxman was engrossed by the illustrations in magazines such as The Strand Magazine, Punch, Bystander, Wide World and Tit-Bits, even before he could read. Another early influence on Laxman were the cartoons of the world-renowned British cartoonist, Sir David Low (whose signature he misread as "cow" for a long time) that appeared now and then in The Hindu.


Laxman was the captain of his local "Rough and Tough and Jolly" cricket team and his antics inspired the stories "Dodu the money maker" and "The Regal Cricket Club" written by his brother, Narayan. Laxman's idyllic childhood was shaken for a while when his father suffered a paralytic stroke and died around a year later, but the elders at home bore most of the increased responsibility, while Laxman continued with his schooling.


After high school, Laxman applied to the J. J. School of Art, Bombay hoping to concentrate on his lifelong interests of drawing and painting, but was rejected. He finally graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Mysore. In the meantime he continued his freelance artistic activities and contributed cartoons to Swarajyaand an animated film based on the mythological character, Narada.


Laxman's earliest work was for newspapers and magazines such as Swarajya and Blitz. While still at the Maharaja College of Mysore, he began to illustrate his elder brother RK Narayan's stories in The Hindu, and he drew political cartoons for the local newspapers and for the Swatantra. Laxman also drew cartoons, for the Kannada humour magazine, Koravanji, founded by Dr M Shivaram, who himself was an eminent humourist in Kannada. He encouraged Laxman quite a lot. His "common man" character featured in his pocket cartoons is portrayed as a witness to the making of democracy.


He also created a popular mascot for the Asian Paints group called Gattu in 1954 Laxman has also penned a few novels. His cartoons have appeared in Hindi films such as Mr. & Mrs. 55 and a Tamil film Kamaraj. His creations also include the sketches drawn for the television adaptation of Malgudi Days, which was written by his elder brother and directed by Shankar Nag. Laxman also drew caricatures of friends for private purposes.


Laxman's Common Man inspired a TV show -- RK Laxman Ki Duniya with comedian Atul Parchure essaying the common man on Sab TV, while Vandana Pathak was seen as his wife.


In September 2003, Laxman suffered a stroke, which left him paralysed on his left side. He partly recovered from its effects.

Latest Reads
Hunt for Zee Business head continues

MUMBAI: Zee Business, an arm of Zee Media Corporation, has seen several transitions in its management this year. The channel was initially headed by Amish Devgan, who decided to move away after serving for 14 years. It was then led by Zee Media Corporation’s then CEO for content Samir Ahluwalia,who...

Television TV Channels People
'King' content will take over monopolistic media entities, says Arnab Goswami

NEW DELHI: The future of news lies in breaking away from the interdependence of politicians and the media on each other.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Animated 'Ramayana' a global Diwali gift on web, mobile

NEW DELHI: Thirty episodes of the animated series Ramayana will be available around the world on the nexGTv web and mobile platforms during Diwali.

Television TV Shows Animation
Sports Minister lauds b'casters, other stakeholders in promoting sports

NEW DELHI: India’s Sports Minister Vijay Goel said on Wednesday that digital media broadcasting will play a critical role in bringing about change in sports broadcasting in India but broadcasters must also focus on how sports as a product is delivered to audiences in rural areas so as to popularise...

Television TV Channels Sports
Know your karma on IBN7 with 'Karm Path'

In an attempt to give its viewers a refreshing start of the day, IBN7 is launching a new show titled Karm Path. Starting 27 October, the show will predict what the day holds. The show is a differentiator in its own genre as it connotes the supremacy of deeds over destiny.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Big Ganga available on Tata Sky now

Big Ganga has strengthened its distribution with DTH service provider Tata Sky.

Television TV Channels Regional
TV is story-teller's new novel; audience is Bharat, not India: Star's Banerjee

MUMBAI: Since five to six years, television has become the talking point. Th series such as 'Breaking Bad' to Transparent to Narcos to 'Game of Thrones' to 24, and now POW (Prisoners of Wars) has changed the experience of television viewing.

Television TV Channels GECs
Star World to air 1-5 of 'Homeland'

Star World and Star World HD is all geared up to air the pulse-pounding action series 'Homeland.' The show tackles geopolitical moral conundrums of our current world. It has recently unveiled the teaser for the upcoming season 6 shows how Carrie Mathison will circumvent around another international...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Share all World Cup, T-20 feeds with Prasar Bharati, rights holder told

The telecast of all official one-day and Twenty-20 matches played by the Indian Men’s Cricket Team will henceforth have to be shared by the rights holder with the public broadcaster Prasar Bharati under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act 2007.

Television TV Channels Terrestrial

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories