After a series of Angry Maushi comics, illustrator Abhijeet Kini is out with his new work based on an experimental humour format. Just like his previous set of work, Rhyme Fighters: Odes to our Unsung Heroes is also based on common people. “I wanted to do a comic based on people we see everyday and highlight some things about them that make them like ‘beings with powers’. I thought I’d make it in the form of rhymes this time around because I wanted to try something different,” says the Mad magazine fan. “I thought that such experimental humour formats worked very well in Mad, so why not try some of that here,” he adds.
The new comic was launched at the Powai outlet of Sodabottleopenerwala, the Mumbai-based Irani cafe, bar and restaurant. “The venue provided a distinct Mumbai-vibe to the event, so I got the audience to sketch a few of their everyday heroes,” says Kini.
Writing in rhyme
Getting dialogues into rhymes, sounds really tough. But Kini claims that he had great fun trying it out. “This is the first time I’m trying to write the dialogues in rhyme. Although since I was in a rock band during my college days, I dabbled with song writing. But this is very different. These rhymes had to be more concise to be drawn out in comic form. So yes, a couple of them were tricky, but since I was clear about what I wanted to show through the comic, things got sorted quickly,” says Kini, adding, “Though I had this idea for the last few months, I actually sat down to work on it about a month and a half ago.”
Even in his previous work, Kini has featured common people. This comic too is ‘for the people, of the people.’ Talking about the characters in his new comic, he says, “The everyday heroes include a traffic cop, a fisherwoman, a roadside beggar, a dabbawala, a filmy wannabe, a chaatwala and so on.”
Out of a bank of 30 characters that Kini has compiled over the years, he has chosen to feature nine in this comic. “I think the common public lends a lot of character to the city. They form the culture. Apart from the dabbawala, all the characters have a tongue-in-cheek take on situations, and their rhymes tend to be sarcastic,” says he.
There’s no storyline as such, the comic features standalone rhymes and pages dedicated to each character.
“It’s like flipping through a showcase of characters. The comic has a total of 20 pages. I would love to do more of these, but since this is an experimental comic, I want to see how the readers respond to it. If I get positive feedback, hopefully, then I will make more as a series,”says Kini.