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A Tribute to cartoonist Kutty

2 November 2011

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Express Buzz

An era of humour ends

Express News Service

23 October 2011

PALAKKAD/KOCHI: Renowned cartoonist Kutty, 90, who took cartooning to new realms of sparkling wit and humour in a career spanning over five decades, passed away in the United States on Saturday. The end came at Madison, Texas, where he had been living after retirement in 1997.

Puthukkody Kochuthody Sankaran Kutty Nair, son of Kayarat Narayana Menon and Kottuthodi Lakshmi Amma, was born on September 4, 1921, at Ottappalam in Palakkad. He was educated at the NSS KPT School, Ottappalam, and Malabar Christian College, Kozhikode.

“Now there is nobody at the Puthukkody Kochuthody Tharavad in Ottappalam located at the Chinmaya Mission lane in Ottappalam. Much of the land has also been sold over the years,” said Prof Rajashekharan Nair of Ottappalam.

He said that Pullapetta Maningal Narayana Kurup, a member of the Madras Legislative Assembly and a socialist leader had married the sister of Kutty.

Kutty’s talent was discovered by Malayalam satirist Professor M R Nair (better known by his pen name ‘Sanjayan). His first cartoon appeared in the Malayalam humour magazine ‘Viswaroopam’ (edited by Sanjayan) in 1940.

Rao Sahib V P Menon, a relative of Kutty’s father and a senior official in the British Imperial Secretariat (New Delhi), introduced him to the famous Indian cartoonist Shankar, who used to sketch cartoons for ‘Hindustan Times’ and was looking for a trainee. V P Menon requested Shankar to train Kutty.

In those days, Jawaharlal Nehru, was looking for a cartoonist for his newly-started English daily, ‘National Herald,’ published from Lucknow. Shankar trained Kutty for six months and recommended him for Nehru’s newspaper. Kutty became a staff cartoonist of ‘National Herald.’ His first cartoon to appear in a daily newspaper was published in the ‘National Herald’ in January 15, 1941.

Kutty then relocated to Chennai, where he worked for ‘Madras War Review’ from 1943 to 1945.

From 1945 to 1946, he worked with the ‘Free Press Journal’ newspaper of Bombay. In 1946, Kutty relocated to New Delhi at the behest of Shankar, who wanted him to work as a cartoonist for his planned evening newspaper. From 1946 to 1997, Kutty lived in New Delhi and worked for various publications. In 1947-48, he worked for ‘National Call’ and ‘Amar Bharat.’ Kutty also contributed to ‘Shankar’s Weekly,’ a humour magazine launched in 1948. Here he worked with other notable Indian cartoonists including Abu Abraham and O V Vijayan.

From 1948 to 1951, he was associated with the ‘Indian News Chronicle’.

In 1951, Kutty joined the Ananda Bazar Group of Kolkata. His cartoons appeared in many of the group’s publications such as the English daily ‘Hindustan Standard’ (New Delhi, 1951-1986), the Bengali language daily

‘Ananda Bazar Patrika’ (1975-1986) and ‘Desh’ (Bengali literary weekly).

Kutty’s work was also syndicated for publication in various newspapers such as ‘Hindustan Times’ (1961-1962) and ‘The Indian Express’ (1962-1969). From 1987 to 1997, Kutty worked for another Bengali daily, ‘Aaj Kaal.’ He then moved to Madison, Wisconsin, the US.

He is survived by wife K Gouri Menon, son Narayanan (Ryan), daughter Maya,

son-in-law Tony, granddaughter Samantha, and grandson Tony Shankar. The Cartoon Academy and Kerala Lalithakala Academy condoled the death of the Kutty.


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