Mediaah! Morparia moves from Mid-Day to Mirror, Weekend tweets, The Monday Psssst!

Pradyuman Maheshwari

Big Switch! Morparia takes his toon from Mid-Day to Mumbai Mirror

In Mumbai’s media circles, this is a piece of news that’s going to generate much sound and angst. Hemant Morparia, one of India’s foremost editorial cartoonists, has moved from Mid-Day to Mumbai Mirror. There was a time when he could have been called a part-time cartoonist, but since around a decade, he appears to be doing two full-time jobs. The first as a radiologist and sonologist at the Breach Candy Hospital and the second as an editorial cartoonist. Now with Mumbai Mirror, Time Out and a few other publications.

Sound and angst because Mumbai Mirror isn’t an afternoon paper like Mid-Day, but they are kind-of in the same space. So the switch will hurt Mid-Day much. And angst, because it’s sad to see Mid-Day lose Morparia just around the time when it was getting its act together.

In a sense, the Mirror switch is a kind-of homecoming. He started out in the Times building in the late 1980s with The Evening News of India and then the Illustrated Weekly before doing daily toons for Bombay Times for nine years. And then in 2003, he shifted to Mid-Day. Another nine years later, he’s moved to Mumbai Mirror.

I posed a few questions to Morparia on the move.

1. So, why the switch from Mid-Day to Mumbai Mirror?

> Some change of scene is always good, specially after nine years. It gives you a new audience and new space and new feedback. It helps to re-evaulate your own style and content. I was perfectly happy with Mid-Day, very pleasant people to work with and no problems with them at all. Happy memories with them. Sachin Kalbag is a friend and am saddened to leave.

2. One of my peeves with Mid-Day was that your toon was all over the paper. How much is a fixed slot necessary for a pocket cartoon? Like Laxman had in ToI for years?

> Ya, a fixed slot is a great attraction for a daily cartoonist, I would say a must. See, a daily cartoon is, or could become, a habit. If all over the place, it does not easily do so.

3. Will we continue to see your toons in Time-Out and elsewhere?

> Yes, I have only given the daily cartoon slot to the Mirror.

4. So what’s more fun at this stage of your career: doing sonos and xrays, or tooning?

> Well as I respond to you, I’m at the hospital, having just made a rare diagnosis on an emergency basis at 9pm on a Sunday. I did a sonography on a lady in pain, who just lost her father, two days ago. The diagnosis will be the key to whether she needs surgery or not. With this diagnosis, a surgery has been averted. That does give one satisfaction, undoubtedly. But it’s of a different type from the creative satisfaction that a making a cartoon gives. Creative satisfaction satisfies me first. And that is fun. Medicine and radiology are not fun, but are skills that can be learnt and honed. Being in two professions as different as these give one a sense of balance, proportion and some real-life perspective.

5. Do you find the role of the cartoonist diminishing in the newspaper? There are more illustrations than cartoons offering commentary?

> I think the reverse is true. Since we famously have a young population and young people enjoy humour, laughs, irreverence, visual stimulation and rebellion, then how can cartoons have a poor future? See how standup comedy has taken off in the country.

6. How would you see cartooning shaping itself in the time of tablets and smartphones?

> I don’t know. Probably an avenue for many cartoonists who don’t have the space provided by big publishers to access audiences directly and worldwide.

Hmmm. Good to see Morparia welcoming newbies (and possible competition) to the business. Given the nine-year itch, guess the next change will be in 2021. :-)

Tweets of the weekend

Until we find a permanent home for this and given that tweets from people across our business are perhaps the best way to keep tabs on what’s happening, here’s a sample of some gems that I picked over the weekend:

Mahesh Murthy (@maheshmurthy): The most amazing discovery at @TimesNow #Foodie Awards? Arnab standing silently on the sidelines :)

Satbir Singh (@thesatbir): In Goa, time passes so slowly you can almost hear it go hic hoc, hic hoc.

Shishir Joshi (@joshishishir): What do you do whn a boss asks young reporter to pose as visiting actors fan since the office is falling short of crazy lovers of the star?

Prabhu Chawla (@PrabhuChawla): Norway, gujrat porn gate, Coalgate makes it clear: Media just hypes a story and forgets a story behind such stories?

Lynn de Souza (@lynndesouza): If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman. From Lokmat Women Summit at Pune this morning.

Anant Rangaswami (@AnantRangaswami): Just to make you feel better on a Saturday morning. Petrol now costs 1.40 GB Pounds/litre in London….

The Monday Psssst!

Is there more freedom to journalists in newspapers or on news television? Well, the likelihood of stories getting killed before they are carried is huger in the papers given the lead time.

Recently, a commentator in a much-read daily found that his/her column was not carried because it was negative on a key political leader. It may have been for the first time in many years, but the fact that a column was dropped from the commentator who is a reasonably sound name in the media was shocking. And by a newspaper which prides on its ethical way of doing things.

So why am I not taking names? Well, I’m sworn to secrecy. The column in question has appeared elsewhere, and all will soon be forgotten.

 

(courtesy: Pradyuman Maheshwari & MXM)

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