Behind the scenes of Royal Existentials - one of the best webcomics on Indian internet!

Posted on 28 March, 2016 by Team Wishberry

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Royal Existentials, is a creation of Falana Dimka Films. The team comprises of Aarthi Parthasarathy who produces the comics, and Chaitanya Krishnan who does the layouts and additional art. The duo takes political, social and feminist issues and a good dose of sarcastic humour, and packs it all in Indian vintage art. The end result is a unique comic that's equal parts chuckle-worthy and thought-provoking, and often fourth-wall-breaking.   Aarthi lets us into one of the smartest comics on Indian internet. 


Yours is one of our favourite web-comics on the internet! Funny, witty and the sorts that makes one sit up and think -how did the idea for Royal Existentials come about?

Aarthi: About five years ago, I came across California-based artist and writer David Malki's comic Wondermark, which uses Victorian-era illustrations to create strips with his trademark bizarre humour. And at that time, I remember thinking that working with Indian images in a similar form would be interesting. Two years ago, I set up Falana Films, a small Bangalore based film and animation studio with Chaitanya Krishnan, illustrator and animator. And we decided to spend time pursuing our personal projects and interests, and comics were mine. So Royal Existentials started a year and half ago - I had been looking at various Indian imagery - especially miniatures of different kinds, trying to figure how to make a comic with them work. The idea was always to make a comic that combined this kind of imagery with a certain kind of social commentary that was very politically aware. It took clearer shape and form as it went along, talking about a range of issues - from the problems of democracy, gender issues, class and caste, to personal existential crises, philosophical dilemmas etc.


It’s been above a year since you’re working on Royal Existentials, how has the response been? Were you expecting it?

Aarthi: The response has been tremendous! People have been really kind and have said some nice things about it, have supported it, and we're very grateful. And no, we weren't expecting it at all. When I started the comic, it was just as a project alongside regular work, but now it's taken on a life of its own, and it’s been great.


Where do you get your inspiration for all those punchy copies and texts from? 

Aarthi: I don't know! It's just a reaction to whatever happens, whatever I happen to be thinking about. It's the outcome of a lot of reading, a lot of engaging with issues, a lot of thinking and churning.



What has been the most challenging aspect of this project so far? 

Aarthi: The most challenging aspect is making it regularly on a weekly basis alongside all the other projects at the studio. It's been going strong for 81 editions so far, and we hope to continue for as long as possible!


Most talented artists in the country are now trying their hand at merchandising. Do you have any plans in mind for that?

Aarthi: Hmm, I don't think we'd go that way. I don't make the images, they are existing miniature paintings, so we wouldn't be comfortable with that.


What are your future plans for this? 

Aarthi: Well, we just take it a week at a time. The plan is to make as many as possible and make them with the same amount of honesty and enthusiasm.   11895204_406600589549198_6114041417326446048_o   Royal Existentials posts a new web-comic every Friday. And trust us, they'll give you yet another reason to look forward to Friday mornings!

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