Shambu Asks Savio
Savio Mascarenhas has completed his silver jubilee at Tinkle and Shambu grabbed this opportunity to interview his artist. And guess what? This time it wasn’t Shambu who was petrified. Savio tried his best but couldn’t dodge some of the toughest questions from Shambu.
From Shikari Shambu to conservationist Shambu, I feel I have evolved a lot. What, according to you, has been the toughest part of my evolution?
When I was first informed about drawing you, because Mr. Halbe the man behind your creation was retiring, I was elated and at the same time petrified. Mr Halbe has been my idol, I had grown looking at and learning from his work in Tinkle. So for me, this was a huge challenge and a responsibility to match up anywhere close to Mr. Halbe’s style, the way he drew you. This evolution was the biggest struggle and the toughest which took me years. And I think I am getting there… I will perfect you someday soon, Shambu.
You’ve completed 25 years with Tinkle and I can’t sit still! I couldn't contain my happiness till the grand party so, I already ate a plate full of ladoos to celebrate. But I would want to know a little about your evolution at Tinkle.
It has been a fun journey, I never worked for a day! Yep, when you do something you are passionate about, it is no longer work. I grew up reading Tinkle and your adventures and now I was drawing for Tinkle. I started with drawing “See and Smiles”, these were single panel gags. From here on, I learnt to draw comics looking at the works of Ram Waeerkar, Vasant Halbe from Tinkle and Jeffrey Fowler from Amar Chitra Katha. I literally started from scratch, so when you start from zero, you have nothing to lose but everything to gain. Tinkle has been my art school where I started my journey as a comic book artist with lots of encouragement from Mr. Pai and Reena Puri along the way.
You told us about our evolution but I am yet to know the secret behind my youthful appearance and your young looks.
Ha… Shambu… that comes from loving what you do and doing what you love, and not working for a single day as I said before. Very much like what you do, Shambu… hahaha!
Do you think the secret of my bravery will be hidden from the world forever? Please say yes, Sav. Please say yes.
Yes, Shambu my friend, you are the bravest guy around and your secret is safe with me and the writers here at Tinkle. No one will dare to look into your eyes (I mean literally too) and say that you are not brave. Hehe...
Why don’t you help me lose some weight?
You know Shambu you were lean when you started off and over the years you have put on some weight… ahem… just a little bit. No one calls you fat, I mean other than Shanti, of course. You are just healthy and chubby. And that makes you look adorable and loving. I love to draw you like that and the readers love to see you that way. So sorry buddy, no weight loss diets for you.
My eyes have been a mystery for all and I am sure it will be a mystery forever. However, if you had a chance to draw my eyes, how would you draw them? Can you describe a little? I am eager to see my eyes through your eyes.
There are very few close-kept secrets in this world and one is in Tinkle. But I will reveal a bit about it today. When I asked Mr Halbe about it, he told me the same thing - it’s a secret he cannot reveal. But come to think of it, Halbe was a genius and you were his masterstroke. There may be very few comic book characters whose eyes are ever shown, that’s what makes them so unique. So now you know, Halbe wanted to make you unique and forever leave us all with this question, can we ever see Shambu’s eyes? Let the mystery be a mystery Shambu… Let it be...
I really want to thank you for making me a globetrotter. You’ve helped me tour Paris, Canada, New York, and more. But, I have always wondered, where do I get the money from? How do I sustain my travel expenses?
Thanks to the writers here who send you off on trips. And you are so humble, Shambu, you would not want to reveal to us that you get rewarded in cash when you grab a poacher and rescue an animal. You also are the honorary member of various wildlife organisations and when you are called on an expedition it's all expenses paid. Oh, and yes Shambu, you have your adorable wife, Shanti who manages all your finances. Keep up the good work and you will go places!
A question that I wouldn’t want you to answer but my readers insist I ask. Tch, Tch! Which Tinkle Toon do you enjoy drawing other than me?
Hmm… There are a couple of toons I love to draw, other than you, obviously, and you have met them. The Detective Duo from Crawford Market Mumbai, Mopes and Purr. They do a lot for animals, caring and fighting for their rights. Reena, the writer who created them, is an animal lover and an activist of sorts. She has herself jumped into situations to rescue animals in trouble. And we both bond on these issues. So yes, Mopes and Purr are close to my heart.
It’s been 25 years of togetherness Savio! Cheers to that! Would you like to say anything about our bond?
You and your adventures have been the stepping stones of my journey as a comic book artist. You have held my hand and guided me all the way. I owe it all to you, buddy. It's been a fun-filled roller-coaster adventure and I am privileged to be your partner in crime. I will never let you down, never allow that hat to fall. Let the fun flow, my friend. We are in it together!
Lastly, do you have any message for our admirers and readers? I am sure some even aspire to be an artist like you. Would you like to tell them your secret art formula?
Ah yes, the most important reason for our existence, our admirers and readers. We are nothing without you. So keep reading the adventures of Shambu, the greatest and also the most loved forest ranger of all times.
And for all you young ones out there who aspire to become artists. Keep observing, keep sketching and keep that smile on while you are at it. Put your heart into your art.