Last December, Shahrukh Irani, 33, was at work when he got a call from home saying his design for the symbol of the rupee had been shortlisted by the government.
This was almost six months after he had submitted his design. “It had slipped my mind. I was so surprised. This is not just any competition but an opportunity to be part of Indian history,” said the JJ School of Applied Arts alumnus.
Irani is one of five people — four of whom are from Mumbai — whose designs have been shortlisted by the Centre from among 25,000 entries. The proposal was put up last April, and in December, the shortlisted candidates were flown to Delhi to meet a seven-member jury comprising officials of RBI and institutes such as National Institute of Design, Lalit Kala Akademi and JJ. The Cabinet is yet to select the final symbol.
The only criterion given by the government was that the symbol should reflect India’s culture. “The design had to be one the common man could identify with and yet be global,” said Hitesh Padmashali, 30, creative director at an ad agency. Udaya Dharmalingam, a student at the Industrial Design Centre at IIT-B, blended the Devanagari and Roman scripts. “It had to be simple to write for Indians irrespective of educational background, and yet not alien to the rest of the world,” he said.
The fourth Mumbaiite on the shortlist is architect Charles Correa’s daughter Nondita, who is currently abroad.