Fuelled by news and happenings, nourished by the city's life, a comic and its characters can look at a city in a completely different way. Especially if it is an action hero in a red cape, but with a twist.
We are talking about Angry Maushi, a typical Maharashtrian maushi (aunty) who flies around Mumbai in a dark green Navari saree and red bindi lashing out at crooked people in power. Has she got any weapons? Yes, guns, swords, and just the right amount of anger.
“Angry Maushi can be any woman in Mumbai,” says illustrator Abhijeet Kini who created the popular comic. “She could be someone at the local train or fish market. And believe me, you don’t want to mess with an angry woman like her.”
Being an 80s kid, Kini enjoyed Tinkle and MAD comics for their caricatures and political cartoons. He says he used to love doodling as a kid and participated in several sketching competitions in inter-collegiate fests. He has been a professional illustrator with Mid-Day newspaper and later on at his dream company, Tinkle.
Packed with equal parts of action and satire, Angry Maushi has established itself as a comic that explores Maximum City and its issues. “I wanted to break the myth that comics are only for children,” says Kini, “Angry Maushi is based on political satire and has been curated deliberately for an adult audience.”
Kini was intrigued by the elements that made the city so naturally dramatic. Corrupt politicians to crooked corporates and even those famous egoistic auto-rickshawalas, nobody is spared from the wrath of maushi and her unfiltered Marathi lingo. Kini has released three volumes of the comic so far— Angry Maushi (2012), Second Blood (2013), and Heavy Metal (2014). And related merch of the local superwoman has sold out at Mumbai’s first Comic Con event.
It is the colourful touches that strike a chord with anyone who has lived in the city, like maushi craving a hot plate of batate pohe after yet another action-packed day, the station names like ‘Chinchpokli’, or using lingos like ‘Chayla’ and ‘Melya’ to address all the fools around - the comic captures the vibe of the maximum city.
“Growing up in the 80s, I have seen Mumbai change drastically over the years,” says Kini. “The city progressed at various levels, but it regressed mentally.”
When he decided to self-publish Angry Maushi, he knew that he had to combine his interest in the news with his love for political satire. “As Indians, we don’t laugh at ourselves. Instead, we take things very seriously,” he says. “So with a little satire, and an indirect way of making fun of the situation, I try to communicate the reality to my readers. My comics ask them to look at things from Angry Maushi’s perspective.”