Looking around at Mario Miranda’s ongoing exhibition, Bombay /Mumbai and the World of Mario Miranda, one also hears giggles and chuckles from different corners of the gallery. All celebrating the classic Mario brand of humour in which vignettes of life and culture of different cities of the world have been portrayed. “Where there is humour, I will do a cartoon,” says Miranda.
The exhibition is a collection of folios, prints, postcards, books and tiles of doodles and cartoons by Miranda over the years. It has been an assortment from as many as 8,000 works compiled by curator and architect Gerard Da Cunha since 2005.
He collected works from Miranda’s childhood friends, associates, collectors and the artist himself for a book.
In the recently released book, Mario De Miranda, Da Cunha mentions in the introductory note, ‘Mario is a versatile artist who is comfortable with different mediums. Although his cartoonist avatar has been supreme in the public eye and given him recognition.’
Among the different sections is one on Mumbai that illustrates the essence of the metropolis with scenes at the railway station, jam packed markets, rented accommodation, side walks along with a sub- section titled Sketchbook, a tribute to the people of the city of Mumbai. Miranda writes a note that mentions the need to point out the variety and ideas that powered this city in the 1970s.
The 83-year-old artist moved to Mumbai from Goa in his 20’s. Having studied history at St Xavier’s College and then pursuing architecture studies, he soon began sketching professionally.
His sketch diary landed his first job in a newspaper. Thereafter he worked with various publications depicting the physical state of people, politicians, businessmen and the masses. His murals at Café Mondegar in Colaba are one of the most known visual images any tourist or visitor can take back home with the well-known characters of Miss Fonseca, Bundaldas and Miss Nimbupani among others. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1988 and the Padma Bhushan in 2002.
Observing a gamut of lifestyles and thousands of cartoon faces with different expressions is an experience, that one can take back in the form of the memorabilia on sale at the exhibition.