If you are Hetal Shukla, your cars could look like a polar bear, a temple or whatever catches your fancy. But that doesn’t mean that the Mumbai-based graphic artist gives these bizarre makeovers to his Ambassador car just to grab eyeballs. Each makeover comes with an underlying message. His Ambey-se-Darr temple car makeover, for instance, happened after he was forced to pay for a
in a temple. “It’s a satire on what will happen if the future MBAs enter the business of God. They will surely have mobile temples at your service,” he says. Shukla’s polar bear Ambassador car also carries a poignant message: Just like the animal, Ambassador is becoming extinct too.
Shukla says that he looks at cars as art installations. “My art is a reflection of what’s happening around me. Whenever I observe something different and beguiling going around me, I feel like giving it a final look by placing the thoughts on my car. Because of its mobility factor, car is the best medium, as you can showcase your art to maximum number of people.”
Shukla’s car, after the makeover, creates quite a stir when it’s out on the road. “It delights me to notice people’s attention while driving on roads. The makeovers have made my cars quite a public figure,” he says. “My cars are also conversation starters. I remember someone from a Rolls Royce knock my window just to say he loves my car.”
Inspired by the makeover, many people are approaching Shukla for makeovers of their cars. The cost of these makeovers start at Rs 40,000 onwards. Shukla brainstorms the look of the car with the client after assessing his personality. Shukla takes about a month to finish a car, and also alters the interiors of the car to sync it with the theme. “It could take several meetings to figure out what exactly the person is looking for,” says the artist, whose next car is going to be a red hot car, with red droplets all over it.