When was the last time you saw at least 70 different characters (could be more if one actually counted!), not to mention other things like vehicles, tables, houses and more on one sheet of paper, with each character minutely detailed with suitable clothes, accessories, postures & expressions? Not to mention having you in splits at the same time!
If you are a resident of Bangalore and your answer is ‘in the past couple of weeks’, I am sure that you are one of those lucky to have visited the exhibition of Mario de Miranda’s works that is currently on at the Indian Institute of Cartoonists (IIC), off M G Road. And in all probability, you would have, like me, come away with literally a zillion characters jostling for space in your memory.
Be it P Petrification Pereira, Feliciano Mussolini Manoel de Purification e Souza (phew!!!), Miss Nimbupani, Serafina, Napoleon, Miss Fonseca, Bundaldass, Dosawattalasami or Mario’s faviourite dog, you just cannot forget any of these or Mario’s various other characters. They tend to stick to you like the fragrance of a flower – you are not aware of the its presence but yet it is there, tickling your funny bones and making you laugh at odd times.
Much has been said and written about Mario de Miranda – the legendary ‘cartoonist’. Be it his love for Goa, his travel across the globe, the awards he has won, or his association with publications like Illustrated Weekly, Times of India, etc.
Till this citizen journalist visited the exhibition, her impression about Mario was that he is a Cartoonist. It was an amazing (not to mention humbling) experience to find that in addition to cartoons, Mario’s works include fine pencil sketches and beautiful paintings, with each scene depicting something that is so true and close to human life.
Be it the intense look of Shivaji, the smirk on the bribe-accepting policeman, the utter relief on the face of a man getting his ears cleaned, the bewilderment of the barber who has a bald customer sitting on a chair waiting for a haircut, the put-on expressions of people related to the Hindi movie industry, or the harried look of an Indian lady at a strip tease joint while her companion is covertly trying to watch the show, or the frozen moment in the lives of various people in an apartment complex, the music classes and the extremely strict instructor, the church procession, the street where he (Mario) lives, each dairy sketch / cartoon / caricature / painting / drawing / mural is a remarkable piece of work.
Accordingly to Divya Raghuram, one of the visitors at the Gallery, “I loved his diary sketches. They are so original. He probably never needed a camera to remember a particular occasion /event. The attention to detail, especially in all his ‘crowd scenes’ is simply amazing. Each character is unique & brilliantly sketched.”
This well-curated show is on at IIC till the 24th of October, from 10.00 am till 7.00 pm. You can also purchase a couple of books (including ‘World of Mario’ at a discounted price of Rs. 2000), cartoon prints, & post card sized prints at the exhibition.
This exhibition is definitely worth a visit or two, especially if you are one who enjoys subtle humour, Mario shtyle. However, do ensure that you have at least a couple of hours to spare for you would need a lot of time to assimilate the hidden and subtle intricacies of Mario’s works.
Would also suggest that you have the company of a like-minded person, for after all, what is the fun in laughing alone!