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Their vision gives Bappa those beautiful eyes

Artisans with expertise say, eyes on the idol should be painted in such a way that they should appear as if the idol is looking at you

mumbai Updated: Sep 02, 2017 00:13 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Ganpati,idol
Constable Vinod Vichare works on an idol. (HT photo )

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, and the same goes for Ganpati idols as well.

Vinod Vichare, a constable, has been painting eyes of Ganesha idols since 1982 and has been passing on his art to the passionate ones. His students full-time artists to hobbyist.

“Not everyone can make Ganpati’s eyes because it has to be painted in a way so that whichever angle you look at it from, it should appear that the idol is looking back at you. One needs a steady hand to paint the eyes,” said Vichare.

He added that one has to come up with eyes that look different and must be open to experiment. “Even the tiniest of the mistakes can ruin the idol, which is why beginners are usually asked to use specific brushes,” Vichare said.

Back in the days when Vichare first picked up the brush, only a handful of people specialised in painting eyes on Ganesha idols. But today the craft is being learnt by several, said Vichare.

“Since the demand for idols have gone up, it has become necessary that artistes pick up the required skills to paint the eyes. It is not something where one can hold the other person’s hand and teach. Those interested have to observe and learn by looking at other artisans but they learn by looking at how other artists work,” said Vishal Shinde of Trimurti Arts.

While he finds it difficult to climb the ladder at his age, 76-year-old Ratnakar Kambli paints the eyes of Lalbaugcha Raja — a skill he learnt by observing his elder brother. Though the idol is now sculpted by his son Santosh, Kambli spends about eight hours painting the eyes.

“It is the eyes which add life to the idol, and it is difficult to maintain the size and features of both the eyes of bigger idols because of the massive gap. When I start working, I refrain from talking to people around me until if finish the job. It’s my devotion towards Bappa,” said Kambli.

First Published: Sep 01, 2017 22:34 IST