Cartoons and caricatures Art

Behind the funny lines

By Shankar Pamarthy   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

Lines bring laughs at ICCR Art Gallery, Kala Bhavan in Ravindra Bharathi as the man of the moment Shankar Pamarthy holds forth with his images. The simple and unassuming political cartoonist is showcasing 108 of his works including cartoons, caricatures and drawings done over the past 20 years. He admits it is a mini retrospective and unsurprisingly it was tough for him to select from his exhaustive collection. “I had to take 50 frames back home as they couldn’t fit here,” he informs.

Walk around the gallery and the inked images are endearing, funny and provide food for thought. Caricatures of politicians and celebrities, with elongated faces, small figures and slender legs and hands provide the relief. Sketches of Mother Teresa hugging the globe, Shobha De in a blue sari with her pallu rolled like a scroll or AR Rahman with a big pout playing on a keyboard draw attention. With humour and satire, he packs a punch when he brings politicians of all major parties together on a paper, all smiling away gleefully.

His inspiration

A native of Nalgonda, Shankar was a signboard artist whose favourite part in a newspaper was the small corner where a few lines could point out anomalies in society with a touch of humour. “I was enamoured seeing them and wondered how with just two or three lines one could say so much. It was also magical for me to see how cartoonists reacted to different events. They had to be knowledgeable in politics, economics, social and worldly affairs,” he shares.

With an intent to be a cartoonist, he resigned his job as a drawing teacher and made Hyderabad his home. In 2007, Jagadish Mittal liked his caricature and organised an exhibition in Hyderabad.

He likes to dwell on different themes and calls cartoons, a visual language. “It looks fun and is easy to on eyes but it is not so simple to tell so much in a few lines. A cartoonist has to think a lot as it is his way of expressing his opinion. One has to make sure that the cartoon doesn’t misfire and should be so simple that even an uneducated can comprehend it.”

Politicians are a cartoonist’s delight. “But it also depends on politicians and their sportive nature.” Recalling an incident, he shares how ace politician Keshav Rao was sprightly when he drew him with his coarse beard. “When he mentioned about it during a press meet, I drew his caricatures with beards of Karl Marx and Amitabh Bachchan. He loved the humour behind it and told me he would adorn those caricatures in his daughter’s new house.”

Shankar reveals this would be his last exhibition of cartoons and caricatures as he wants to move on with newer concepts. One of them is to create something special on Hyderabad and its people. “I want to do the way Mario Miranda featured Goa and Goans in his works. Hyderabad is like a painting and a melting pot of people. It is also unique with its blend of modern and traditional tastes and Hyderabadis, their language and traits have an affable charm. I want to show Hyderabad through my eyes.” Before signing off, he shares that a caricature on him should feature his bag and a Hyderabadi flavour with Charminar in the backdrop.

(Inked Image — An exhibition of Cartoons, Caricatures, and Drawings by Shankar Pamarthy is on at ICCR Art Gallery, Ravindra Bharathi till February 21)

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 1:47:05 AM |

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