PM Modi opens art gallery dedicated to cartoonist RK Laxman; Family says dream come true
It was like a dream come true for RK Laxman’s family members when Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually opened a modern art gallery-museum dedicated to the legendary cartoonist here in Maharashtra on Sunday.
The main attraction of the art gallery, located in Balewadi, is a miniature model based on the village of Malgudi which will virtually come alive through audio-visual effects.
The art gallery is also home to more than 30,000 “timeless” sketches made by the cartoonist, best known for his creation “The Common Man”. These sketches are available in digital and physical format.
Malgudi is a fictional town in southern India mentioned by RK Narayan, brother of RK Laxman, in his collection of short stories “Malgudi Days”.
“I would like to congratulate Usha Laxman, (RK Laxman’s daughter-in-law). Today a state-of-the-art gallery, dedicated to RK Laxman, was opened. I congratulate Ushaji and his family for their dedication, commitment and enthusiasm in the realization of this project,” the Prime Minister said during the virtual grand opening of the gallery from the MIT College Ground, where he launched several other infrastructure projects.
Usha Laxman said it all started on January 26, 2015, when RK Laxman passed away.
“Although Prime Minister Modi was unable to attend RK Laxman’s funeral in Pune, he had commissioned Devendra Fadnavis, then CM of Maharashtra, to announce a museum dedicated to the legendary cartoonist,” she told PTI.
Later, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) took over this project and offered the art gallery on 1,315 square meters of space.
“After 2018, the PMC handed this project over to the Laxman family to design the art gallery. We then started work but the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the pace for a while. the works, and today is like a dream come true for all of us,” she said.
Moving the art gallery-museum project forward became a special excitement for me and my family members, she recalled, and hoped the art gallery would become an “institution for budding artists and students. who wish to do research.
We will explore a likely collaboration between the gallery and universities in India and abroad, she added.
“This art gallery is the story of RK Laxman like a biography. It depicts Laxman’s life from the age of three, how he started drawing and how his sketches were recognized by his drawing teacher. The story is all about his aspirations to become a cartoonist, so it’s about his journey to becoming a cartoonist and how he became a political cartoonist,” she said.
According to Usha Laxman, there are two interesting aspects of this facility – a room dedicated to a feature film “a day in the life of Laxman” and a wax statue “that resembles the true appearance of RK Laxman’s life”.
“We also have a miniature model based on the village of Malgudi which compliments the two brothers. It’s a sound and light program,” she said, adding that the voice-over is provided by Bollywood actor Boman Irani for English and actor Dilip Prabhawalkar for Marathi.
“RK Laxman’s life story is like – the common man tells the story and goes the distance saying that ‘I would like to tell you the story of a man who created me’,” he said. -she adds.