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Updated: October 27, 2011 18:14 IST

Magical world of portraits

Neeraja Murthy
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A portrait of Abdul Kalam
A portrait of Abdul Kalam

'Shankar Bommala Koluvu' has a display of portraits of eminent personalities from different fields

What do US president Barack Obama, actors Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan, singers Lata Mangeshkar and S.P. Balasubrahmanyam and director S. Rajamouli have in common? They all have a portrait done by 75-year-old Sathiraju Sankara Narayana alias Shankar. The artist is having an exhibition of his portraits titled ‘Shankar Bommala Koluvu' at ICCR Art Gallery in Ravindra Bharati. One glance at the portraits and the effect is magical. You feel as if the person you have seen on the television or read in the papers is standing in front of you.

Shankar has chosen personalities from different fields like music, philosophy, movies, politics and sports to draw the portraits. Till now, he has done 1,500 portraits and around 300 portraits are mounted at the gallery. Creativity is in his genes. No words are enough to write about his artist-director brother Bapu. Ask him about his interests in portraits and Shankar, who retired as station director of AIR in Chennai talks in a very low tone. “The main aim to draw portraits is for the younger generation. Many a time, we talk about a towering personality but do not know how he/she looks. Youngsters will know the person through the drawings,” he says. Like his brother Bapu, Shankar is a man of few words and says his works should speak for himself.

Shankar says his hobby to draw has helped him lead a busy life after his retirement. “Every one should pursue a hobby from their younger days. When you retire, your hobby will keep your mind active and instead of worrying about your retired life, you will enjoy it,” he says. So how does he draw the portraits, “I collect photographs and media clippings and draw them,” he says. He makes two portraits and sends it to the person whose portrait he has drawn. “I ask them to keep one portrait for themselves and sign on the other and send it back for my collection,” he says and adds with thrill the compliments given by Amitabh Bachchan, cartoonist R.K. Laxman and director K. Balchander. “Professor Anantha Murthy is a serious person and I sent him a smiling portrait. He replied back saying, “I cherish it as an ideal in life,” he says. Shankar has dedicated this exhibition to his mother, wife and Bapu's creative partner Mullapudi Venkataramana.

The exhibition is from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and ends today.

Keywords: art exhibition

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