In January 2015, India lost one of its most renowned cartoonists, R.K. Laxman. He was best known for his political cartoons, with the help of which one can narrate the history of this nation’s politics spanning over a period of more than five decades. But not many knew him for the beautiful sketches of 40 stars from Indian cinema that he drew for the Filmfare magazine. Here is remembering him with some of those sketches, brought back from 1952.
Born in Mysore on Oct. 24, 1921, Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Laxman’s humour was one of a kind. He was best known for his series of pocket cartoons named ‘You Said It’, which continued to be a part of The Times of India for over 50 years. With his witty remarks, Laxman utilised that space to talk about a variety of issues like the kind of work being done by politicians, the rise in petrol prices, space research, eve teasing, joblessness, slum-dwellers, water scarcity – anything and everything that affected the common man.
Laxman’s love for cartoons and sketches took shape when he was just as a child. He used to be attracted towards illustrations in different magazines even before he could begin to read.
“I drew objects that caught my eye outside the window of my room – the dry twigs, leaves and lizard-like creatures crawling about, the servant chopping firewood and, of course, and number of crows in various postures on the rooftops of the buildings opposite,” he wrote in his autobiography, The Tunnel of Time.
While he earned fame mostly for his political cartoons, Laxman’s work also included many different things, like his cartoons for the Hindi film, Mr & Mrs ’55, his sketches for the television adaptation of Malgudi days (written by his elder brother R.K. Narayan), and his sketches of crows (which he considered “a most intelligent bird”).
But not many remember the time when Laxman sketched 40 icons of Hindi cinema in his series titled ‘The Stars I Never Met’, which were originally drawn for Filmfare magazine. A few of those illustration have now been released by the National Film Archives of India.
Here is bringing back the memory of R.K. Laxman with these beautiful sketches that he drew in 1952.