Kottayam: Prominent cartoonist V.T. Thomas, better known as Toms, passed away at a private hospital in Kottayam Wednesday night. He was 86.
Toms, known as the creator of everlasting cartoon characters 'Bobanum Moliyum' (Boban and Molly), died at SH Medical Centre in Kottayam around 10.45 pm.
He was undergoing treatment at the hospital following age-related illnesses for quite sometime.
His funeral will be held later. Toms is survived by wife Thresia Kutty and six children - Boban, Bose, Molly, Rani, Dr Peter and Dr Princy.
Master of his art
Toms, who is synonymous with with his toon characters, Boban and Molly had a long stint with Malayala Manorama daily as its staff cartoonist. A doyen with a flair for magical strokes and stunning wits, Toms was marked for his deep insights in whatever he created.
A master at pun with Malayalam language, his creations were at once thought provoking and humorous. The master craftsman is considered as a phenomenon in the realm of cartoons in Malayalam.
How 'Bobanum Moliyum' was born
Toms was born in Veliyanad near Changanassery in 1929 as V.T. Thomas. Returning from service in British army, Toms ventured into cartoons, with his elder brother Peter Thomas as his role model. He started his career, drawing illustrations of elephants and snake boats.
Children from the neighbourhood used to visit his house to view the drawings and his friendship with them culminated in the creation of two evergreen cartoon characters of Boban and Molly. These two characters, he created at the age of 30, changed Tom's life for ever.
Toms drew his cartoon episodes from real life and he brought to life characters from all walks of life. Toms also used his cartoons to mock politicians. People easily identified with the world created by Toms and children as well as gown-ups found reading his cartoons an enriching experience.
Apart from Bobanum Moliyum, the characters which weaved magic in Toms' creative world were the father of the kids lawyer Pothen, the flirty Appy Hippy, the nincompoop panchayat president Ittunnan (chettan), his wife (chettathi), Unnikkuttan, Kunchukuruppu and so on.
The cartoon strip Bobanum Moliyum was first published in Malayala Manorama weekly in 1957. Toms retired from the newspaper in 1987. He later entered into a dispute with the daily over the copyright of the characters of Bobanum Moliyum.
Malayala Manorama, which pursued the case for newspapers all over the country for copyright over cartoon characters appeared in them, finally won the case in the Supreme Court. However, the very next day, the copyright of the characters was returned to Toms by the daily.