Remember the Bengali short film Ahalya by filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh that was trending on YouTube India last year? The thriller, featuring Radhika Apte, shows a couple mysteriously trapping men in lifelike statuettes. Fortunately, there’s a way to own a miniature version of yourself, sans horrifying side-effects.
My Cute Mini, a one-of-a-kind Chennai-based establishment which kick-started as a Facebook page, creates miniature versions of clients in the form of fully handmade ceramic and resin dolls. It now has more than 42,000 likes on the social networking site.
The artist behind the page, Sri Hari Charan, trained under T.A. Nithyanandam, a well-known artist from the Kumbakonam College of Fine Arts, before he started his sculptural venture in July 2014.
On an average, My Cute Mini receives over 150 orders a month. Sometimes, there are as many as 400 orders a month between December and February. Their clientele includes young men and women from Chennai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata and Pune. The figurines also find an overseas market in the U.S., the U.K. and Dubai.
Speaking of how the idea came about, Sri Hari calls it the tale of an engineer- turned-entrepreneur, who found his calling in the visual arts. The 25-year-old founder worked for a leading MNC for more than a year before he decided to pursue his passion. Inclined towards art since his school days, he joined hands with a college friend, Prabhakaran (now the creative head of My Cute Mini), and decided to step into the business of making custom-made replica dolls.
The team comprises eight professional sculptors who record, envision and execute the needs of clients. The figurines, Sri Hari says, are made up of either clay or resin, in accordance with the client request. “Dolls made of resin cost twice that of those made of clay. Naturally, durable ceramic statuettes are preferred and sold more,” he adds.
These statuettes take about four weeks to be created. Sri Hari hopes to reduce the manufacturing time over the next year, as he plans to expand his team of sculptors.
The ceramic figurines come in two sizes — bust sized and full sized. They undergo three phases of approval from the clients, before they are finally baked for about five-six days. “Firstly, the picture of the head of the statuette without hair is sent to the client for approval, after which the photograph of the body portion and then that of the complete statuette is sent across. The end product is then checked for a match with the client’s photograph using software,” describes Sri Hari.
“Sculpting the head is the most tricky process. The right face and expressions can be achieved only if the head portion is sculpted meticulously,” he says. Next in line? “Wooden replica dolls,” he says.
These minis, which are popular birthday and wedding gifts, come as figurines as well as bobbleheads. They are either customised from head to toe, or just the head portion is created and then attached to a body moulded to look like Superman, Hulk or Iron Man. Because who wouldn’t want the rippling muscles of a super hero?
For details call 80480 17904.