He is probably the best-known cartoonist in the Tamil world. But the name M.K. Govindakumar, wouldn’t ring a bell, even with ardent fans. But mention his nom de plume ‘Madhan’, and there is instant recognition.
Madhan is in a league by himself in the world of cartooning: he is as well known as a journalist as he is as a cartoonist, and vice-versa.
Madhan started his career as a struggling freelancer, and soon joined the Vikatan Group of Publications as a trainee cartoonist in 1969. He had a long and fruitful innings at the Group till 1998. In 1982, he took over as the Group’s Joint Editor, and helped organise the Student Reporters Scheme, under which he trained hundreds of talented college students in the field of journalism. The circulation and standard of the Group’s flagship magazine Ananda Vikatan rose with its top stories and exclusive interviews.
Though a cartoonist, he wrote a successful historical serial on the Great Mughals – Vandhargal Vendrargal (They Came, They Conquered) in Junior Vikatan, which was subsequently published as a book. It was a best-seller, running to 18 editions, with one and a half lakh copies sold.
His question-and-answer series ‘Hai Madhan’ in the Ananda Vikatan magagine is very popular among Tamil readers. The Vikatan Group published Hai Madhan (Part 1,2,3) and Madhan Jokes (Part 1,2,3). Both series were best-sellers, and are still being published.
Madhan is a film critic of repute too. Columbia Tristar Pictures invited him as a special guest from India to attend the preview and interview session with the directors of Godzilla at Manila, Philippines. He was also given the unique honour of being the Chief Guest at the Kamban Vizha held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Madhan’s Thirai Parvai on the Tamil channel Star Vijay was a whopping success, completing 350 shows. Besides, he has also penned the dialogues for the avant-garde Kamal Hassan movie Anbe Sivam.
Currently, Madhan runs his creative consultancy unit ‘Madhan’s Sway’ which provides guidance and assistance in Journalism, Advertising, Audio/Visual projects to media-related companies.
This student of Presidency College in what was then called Madras, has sure come a long way.