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Home»News»RK Laxman's cartoons inspired me to write Mandela: National Award-winning director Madonne Ashwin»

RK Laxman's cartoons inspired me to write Mandela: National Award-winning director Madonne Ashwin

Mandela, directed by Madonne Ashwin and released on Netflix, is a political satire that is both entertaining and profound, particularly in its treatment of issues such as caste-based politics.

  • Team OTTplay

Last Updated: 01.15 AM, Jul 25, 2022

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RK Laxman's cartoons inspired me to write Mandela: National Award-winning director Madonne Ashwin
A still from Mandela, Ashwin/Twitter

Madonne Ashwin, whose critically acclaimed Tamil film Mandela, won two National Awards at the 68th National Film Awards that were announced recently, says the inspiration for writing a story like Mandela came from the cartoons of the popular cartoonist RK Laxman.

Ashwin, the recipient of the Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director and the National Award for Best Screenplay (Dialogue Writer), said, "We were very clear as a team as to what kind of film Mandela was going to be. We wanted it to be a political satire but at the same time, we did not want it to pinpoint any particular party or hurt anyone."

Further, he added, "Laxman sir’s cartoons were an inspiration in this regard. His cartoons would reflect the political situation without hurting anybody. It would speak of the situation from a common man’s perspective. I wanted to do something similar."

Ashwin is aware that humour can be quite tricky. "Writing a funny script laced with sarcasm, wit and managing to reproduce it exactly like how I envisioned was the most challenging thing of all."

Mandela had a television premiere earlier this year and is available on Netflix. Though Ashwin was initially disappointed that his debut film did not receive a theatrical release, the positive response it has received made him the happiest.

"People who watched it on OTT kept talking about it on social media. The reception and love have been natural."

Ask Madonne Ashwin how he learnt to write politically-correct dialogues, he says he started writing only after his stint on the Naalaya Iyakunar show. "I branched out to short films slowly. There was so much that I learnt from participating in the reality show and observing the entries."

Ashwin signed off by sharing the names of the people who helped him in his creative journey, “I love director Selvaraghavan’s dialogues. I wanted to write like him someday. Additionally, I wrote the dialogues for Kurangu Bommai along with director Nithilan Swaminathan, who is a friend. He asked me to collaborate and it was a fun experience. As I began to write, I learnt the process!"

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