Art Dance

For writer-cartoonist Bnim, the canvas is vast and wide

Words and lines Writer Bnim at work by arrangement  

Born as Bhamidipally Narasimha Murthy to Suryanarayana Murthy and Vijaya Lakshmi, in Athreyapuram of East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh, this affable man has made a name for himself as Bnim. A self-made man who reigns in the hearts of his fans, 61-year-old Bnim has mastered, without any educational qualification in the departments, scripting, poetry, short story writing, screen play, editing or anything. He learnt them all on the job and acted through his belief and gut. He is a qualified Ayuvedic doctor, but since he doesn’t practice it, the degree in medicine holds no value, he says.

On adopting the pen name Bnim, he says that the letters BNM are in his name and the word ‘I’ denotes ‘me’. “I am proud to be born in a village and having spent the best part of my growing up there, I moved to Hyderabad only e early 1980s and took up employment as a cartoonist. But I began contributing articles as Bnim since 1975,” says the artist. Bnim shares that at one time, he was so prolific that he was using 26 aliases to give thoughts to his creativity and a pen name ‘Neelapriya’, for poetry.

Recognising his penchant for drawing as a child, his sibling took him to a drawing teacher to hone his sketching and drawing and very soon, he was filling water colours into village scenes captured on the canvas. “I have seen life from the swaying of trees, heavy dark skies, to city’s heavy traffic and neon lights,” says the artist. When the going got tough in the city, Bnimmade up his mind to return home, but his friend Ram Mohan Rao convinced him to return from Vijayawada to meet the great stalwart Bapu. Meeting Bapu was a turning point in his life, and since then there has been no looking back. “I was blessed to have the kind grace of Bapu and Ramana garu,” he says.

He stepped into the world of television with Doordarshan, with his single cartoon ‘Adugu Puli’ in 1985 – 86 and has contributed to about 30 TV serials and 60 single episodes. He has been working in all departments — editing, designing, dubbing, modulation and even writing TV titles, mythological, historical, comedy or social subjects. He even designs all kinds of invitation cards.

Bnim is today popular in scripting ballets and has penned 254 ballets till date. Moving into this genre in the 1990s with ‘Madhura Swapna’ based on Rabindranath Tagore’s story for Pedilka Narsingh Rao, Bnim has written for many dancers in the city, country and abroad. “I have written dance ballets for dancers Rama Devi, Pasumarthy Ramalinga Sastry, Jonnalgada Anuradha, Usha Gayatri, Deepika Reddy, PB Krishna Bharathi, Smitha Madhav to name a few,” he says. To date, Bnim has penned five ballets on the Ramayana alone, each from a different perspective. “From Ravana’s angle, Mandhara and even the tribal woman Sabari.”

Though it is difficult for him to chose his favourite work, Bnim admits, he has enjoyed penning ‘Kali Mardhanam’ for Krishna Bharathi, ‘Rama Katha Saram’ for P Ramlinga Sastry, ‘Vatsayani Kamasutra’ for Swathi Somnath, ‘Lalitha Sindhuri’ for Aruna Bikshu and the list goes on. “Music for most of my dance ballets has been composed by DSV Sastry, Garimella Gopal Krishna and Srivalli Sarma garu.”

He has penned scripts for a historical like Bhagmati and on environmental subjects. “Sometimes penning a script takes two days and sometimes even months, all depends on the urgency. I have been working on the Bhookailasam script for the last eight months.”

Winner of Kalaratna and four Nandi awards, Bnim keeps himself busy by drawing caricatures, penning scripts or designing cards. Surrounded by books, Bnim is well-versed with today’s technology and has merged himself with it beautifully as he feels that when utilised properly, technology can boost an artist’s contour.

Bnim says that he did step into the world of films by penning a song in Yamudu Anna Ki Mogudu, which was made by a student of Bapu. That film bombed, though the song he penned and was sung by SP Balasubrahmanyam became a hit, and he kept away from films. What was a loss to the film world is a gain to the dance world and humanity as this diminutive man gives thought to his creativity and unleashes new thoughts into others.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 8:00:23 PM |

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