Korona — Debjyoti Saha paints a different picture of the coronavirus pandemic in India
A sinister tune plays in the background as Debjyoti Saha’s latest animated video unfolds. The short film, which spans less than 60 seconds, shows the stark differences between the lives of the privileged and the migrant workers and has gone viral with over 23 lakh views on Instagram alone. A split-screen video on one panel details everyday happenings of life during the lockdown, including the latest Internet fads, like whipping up Dalgona coffee, and on the other portrays the worry of the workers travelling thousands of kilometres to get home safe.
Its creator, Saha, has been portraying the “deep-rooted issues” of India including the country-wide migrant crisis, racism, xenophobia and the plight of healthcare workers through his ongoing series — Korona. “The word ‘Korona’ in Bengali means ‘Don’t’. It is a wordplay on all the things people shouldn’t be doing during this coronavirus pandemic,” says the 25-year-old.
Another video in the same series on Saha’s Instagram account shows the bias of Indians towards people of different ethnicities in a supermarket and comes to a rather comic conclusion. Speaking about his latest creation, the artist says, “This video was created to spread the message of acknowledging our privilege and using it to better the lives of the unfortunate.” He adds, “Public memory is short and news fades away, but I hope the message stays.”
Watch the video here:+ +
Being inspired by the “socio-political environment”, Saha says his work “has always been an honest commentary on our society”. He is also thankful that the world got a “breather” with these subsequent lockdowns, but admits that creative blocks are inevitable for any artist during this time. “There has been no dearth of things to ponder upon since the beginning. Creative blocks can get quite tough to deal with, but perhaps when we realise our greater role as storytellers, this gets a little easier to handle,” he says.
Having a knack for drawing and listening to stories since childhood, Saha, who has a Masters degree in animation, says, “The day I realised I could also tell stories through my drawings, there was no looking back.”
And now, this Mumbai-based illustrator, formerly from Kolkata, is already ideating for his next creation. “Cyclone Amphan devastated many parts of the state of West Bengal. I’m hoping to raise awareness about the same across the nation,” he says.