“He passed away early this morning in his apartment. I think it’s a cardiac arrest,” a family member said.
Ninan’s Worldwas a very popular space with the TOI readers where day after day he would showcase his genius.Through the strokes of his pen and the wit of his imagination, Ninan consistently crafted cartoons that transcend mere humor and were a reflection of society’s most pressing issues, wrapped in the gentle embrace of satire.
He had the unique ability to effortlessly transform complex issues into easy thought-provoking visuals with a sharp sense of humor.
Ninan’s another series ‘Centrestage‘ in ‘India Today’ magazine was also hugely popular.
Ninan, who was living in Mysuru for the past two years, was alone at home. His wife, who was not keeping well, had gone to their daughter’s place in Goa, sources said.
Ninan leaves behind wife, two daughters and two grand-children.
One of his popular cartoon characters was ‘Detective Moochhwala’ in the children’s magazine ‘Target’.
Here’s what columnist Jug Suraiya said about Ninan’s demise: “In a world enveloped in the toxic clouds of climate change, and conflict, and crises, Ajit Ninan’s brilliant daily pocket cartoon, Just Like That, in the Times of India was a bright ray of joy and pleasure, lightening the daily landscape of gloom and doom.”
Ajit Ninan: The maestro who could raise a laugh ‘Just Like That’
Nirmal, who worked with Ninan for a long time said: “The opportunity to meet him in person came in 1991 when I was looking for my first job soon after passing out of college. I went to see him at the India Today office. “Don’t show me your college portfolio,” he said. “I am not interested in seeing what they teach you in college. Show me something original.” Thankfully, I had a few personal work samples, and that helped me land a job at Business Today. Being a self-taught artist, he knew that academic knowledge played very little role in creativity.”
Sandeep Adhwaryu recalls his first meeting with Ninan when the former was still struggling with his career as a cartoonist.
“Centrestage” series of editorial cartoons at India Today magazine, was already a legend. He had pioneered the fusion of black and white drawings with the contemporary vibrancy of Photoshop colours. His precise and measured lines marked a departure from the bold, deft brush strokes of iconic figures like Keshav Shankar Pillai, R K Laxman, and OV Vijayan. And he was a true maximalist, known for lavishing meticulous care upon every illustration.
Sunil Agarwal, who created co-created iToons series with Ninan said that he could capture body language and express it in motion in a single panel still frame.
“He shied away from social interactions and would rather work alone on his sketchpad all day, scanning and editing his work later. Very few predecessors, his uncle Abu Abraham and Mario Miranda of course, have been able to master the Indian form in social settings,” Agarwal said.