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Cartoonist Thackeray calls on Common Man

Amruta Byatnal
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Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray with veteran cartoonist R. K. Laxman at his residence in Pune. — Photo: PTI
Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray with veteran cartoonist R. K. Laxman at his residence in Pune. — Photo: PTI

Two friends who have known each other for more than 50 years met reliving old times and shedding a tear or two on the memories.

Nothing unusual except that the two are legendary cartoonists R.K. Laxman and Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray. Mr. Thackeray (85) paid a visit to Mr. Laxman (90) at his Pune residence to enquire about his health. “When he saw me, the poor chap started crying,” Mr. Thackeray, who is a cartoonist himself, told journalists.

The two first met in 1945 when Mr. Laxman joined The Free Press Journal , where Mr. Thackeray was already working as cartoonist. “We worked together till 1950 after which he joined The Times of India ,” he said. He was accompanied by his son Uddhav Thackeray and grandson Aditya. “Today, only I was speaking, as Laxman cannot talk. The very hand that sketched politicians is shaking today,” Mr Thackeray said. Mr. Laxman, who suffered a stroke in 2010, cannot talk, and does not use his hands much. In spite of that, he drew his favourite character, the Common Man, for his old friend, which Mr. Thackeray proudly displayed to reporters. “The standard of caricaturists has gone down today. In our times, one cartoon was equal to a hundred editorials. Today's cartoons lack that fun element,” Mr. Thackeray said.

Mr. Laxman's wife Kamala said, “We have known him for very long. Laxman is very fond of him. He is visiting us in Pune for the first time.”

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