A unique 2-day international exhibition entitled “Cartoonists’ Balasaheb” with cartoons, caricatures and images of the late Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Keshav Thackeray will open here on February 2, the organisers said here on Monday.
The expo, to be held at the Swatantryaveer Savarkar Rashtriya Smarak in Shivaji Park, is being organised by the Cartoonists’ Combine and Shivprerana, and will be inaugurated by senior Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Subhash Desai.
The exhibition will showcase the various spoofs on Balasaheb Thackeray, as viewed through the eyes of eminent cartoonists and caricaturists from all over India and many countries around the world.
There will be contributions lampooning the different moods, serious or howlarious expressions, mannerisms, hinting at both political and non-political aspects of Balasaheb Thackeray, from at least 25 cartoonists from all over the world, 44 from India and 44 from Maharashtra.
The expo will be a daring tribute to the much-feared Thackeray – himself a renowned cartoonist, who started his journalistic career with the Free Press Journal and later the Times of India in Mumbai, penning cartoons and caricatures, along with another legend, the late R.K. Laxman – before entering politics.
Later, he founded the Marathi humour weekly, ‘Marmik’, which is still published and takes a light-hearted view on issues concerning the masses, mocking the government and other subjects.
At the exhibition, some of the images depict Thackeray as a prancing tiger (his party’s logo), another as a sitting tiger with Thackeray’s face, one where he’s sitting like a king and apparently wielding the dreaded ‘remote control’, in another he’s on a roll enjoying himself in a rocking chair, others depict him as a Hindutva icon, etc.
Considered a cartoonist’s delight, many of Thackeray’s oft quirky styles or memorable traits mirror in the cartoons – his thick-framed glasses or black glasses, his famed ‘rudraksh mala’, his changing hairstyles and receding hairline over the years, the large red tilak on his forehead, his clean-shaven, french-bearded and a snowy grandfatherly full-bearded style, as it manifested over decades, holding fort at his bastion, ‘Matoshri’ in Bandra east.
Also seen will be Thackeray and his popular pipe hanging from his mouth – a perpetual fixture much like Popeye’s – which in later years he replaced with the lighter but large cigar though he was rarely known to light it, his collection of attires like dazzling white, off-white, soft creamy or sheer saffron kurtas-pyjamas with a shawl, all of which people admired at his public appearances or his annual Dassehra rallies, and his trademark aggression, raised arms, extended right arm, etc.
The Chief Guest for the exhibition will be eminent cartoonist Aabid Surti in the presence of Cartoonists’ Combine President Sanjay Mistry and Shivprerana Director Yashraj Nerkar.
Thackeray, who founded the Shiv Sena, was a political colossus, a mover-and-shaker of national politics for decades, but never held any public office, renowned as the ‘Hindu Hridaysamrat’, passed away on November 17, 2012, aged 86.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org)