Padmavati or Queen Padmini of Chittor.

The controversy that’s been raging in India for a whole month lit a fire under me and made me find this portrait of Queen Padmini or Padmavati from my archives.

The lore tells us of a beautiful Srilankan princess who crossed the Indian ocean to be with her husband and beloved Ratansen, the king of Chittor.

Recently, a Bollywood period-drama based on the life of Queen Padmavati found itself in choppy waters, presumably for tinkering with history. The movie, say those who claim that their sentiments were hurt, shows the queen dancing. A queen who tread such high moral ground that she not just immolated herself but led all other women of Chittor into the funeral pyre to ensure they died with their dignity intact, couldn’t stoop so low as to dance. They are also of the opinion that the movie shows some romantic moments between that creepy invader Khilji and Queen Padmavati, which the producers say, actually show Khilji fantasizing about the queen.

There are too many moot points.

  • Whether or not there was actually a queen called Padmini who was actually a Sinhalese princess the tales of whose beauty had driven Ratansen to cross the ocean and go to Sri Lanka to marry her and bring her back?
  • Who is right? The movie-makers or the movie-attackers?
  • Why we still hear of nose-chopping and head-lopping as the right way to set matters of honor straight?
  • How the freedom of artistic expression be curbed “slowly?”

I’m sure the list is longer than my tired brain can produce.

Queen Padmini Padmavati portrait of her reflection in mirror - Alauddin Khilji's attack on Chittor.

A Portrait from the Mists of Time – Queen Padmini of Chittor (Size: 18″ x 22″, Medium: Graphite Relief Work, Copyright 2004, All Rights Reserved.

Actually, upon reading the stories, I do believe that they are more fantastical than historical. (A question that keeps perplexing me is what happened to the children of the women who immolated themselves? There’s no mention of children anywhere. In the days of the yore, I’m sure that in the absence of any birth-control measures, children were aplenty.  Silly question, I know. Yet, I’d like to know how they were whisked away from a fort that lay under siege for so long that people had begun to starve.)

Anyway, the long and short of the Padmavati story is that eventually the dust would settle. The movie-makers will find a way not only to salvage their 300 Cr. investment but also to make it bear fruit. It’s only a matter of time.

In the meantime, lose yourself in the lore of Padmini.

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Short Story – The Goldfish Princess (Illustrated with an Oil Painting on Canvas)

The Goldfish Princess

She turned her side and the heat of her body rushed to embrace the cold surface of the bed. This was why she had been postponing the moment until her muscles had begun to cramp. The cold, she thought, would one day freeze the blood flowing in her veins, and when that happened, her frozen blood would expand to first crack and then blast open her veins, quite like the water that upon turning into ice, cracked the pipes.

With sleep having fled from her eyes, she lay on her left side, letting her warmth seep out of her body and warm the cold sheet under her. She could have remained in the sunny climes of her homeland, but then she would have been sleeping on the pavement and begging on the streets. Here she was a princess.

Oil painting on canvas - Princess with gold tail - caricature and portrait art in india by portrait artist shafali

The Goldfish Princess – Oil on Canvas, Size: 13.5″x17.5″

Almost a princess.

The faces around her, all white, all different from hers, closed upon her from all sides, like a wall. They smiled and they talked. They talked in a foreign tongue that she couldn’t yet understand completely. They were kind to her, and they gave her a bed to sleep in.

Back home, Mother would be thinking that her daughter was a princess too, and so would all the uncles and aunts and neighbors who lived in the dirty threadbare tents that they had hitched upon the pavements. Back home, back at the pavement, they thought of her as a princess with a tiara upon her head.

Perhaps they were right. She had a roof upon her head. A roof that the wind couldn’t blow away. She had clean clothes on her back, so what if she had only two changes. One to wash while she wore the other. And she slept in a bed. She had a trunk to keep her things in, and a hopper window that she could open to let sunlight in when the sun was almost about to set on the western horizon, except that she was usually busy in the kitchen at that time of the day.

Upstairs, the kind man and woman, and their children, they slept in heated rooms, and they went out, everyday. The children played out in the sun, the woman wore new dresses everyday. They listened to music, they watched television, they played, and talked, and shopped, and did everything that she wanted to do along.

As she fell asleep again thinking of the pavement and the tiara, she wondered how long would it be before the four a.m. alarm went off. The woman, her mistress, was not cruel until the girl caused her grief, and her mistress liked to see the house sparkling clean when she woke up at seven.

And the goldfish had to be fed too.

Kindred souls.

Discovering the Artist within me (Part IV) – I am what I think.

I am what I think, and because art is an artist’s expression, my art too would have a bit of me in it. If it has then by logical extension, my art is my thoughts. When my thoughts stretch beyond the realm of cognitive thinking and spill over its boundaries, they become my feelings and emotions, so my art should also be my feelings and emotions. This is why my art would be the outcome of my past interactions with the world, for they shaped my thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Some of these are buried in my subconscious, but most live in a twilight zone that exists between my conscious clarity and my sub-conscious nebulosity.

In my paintings, I sometimes return to caricatures. Mostly because the watered down version of reality that we often deal with in our lives, doesn’t let us experience life completely. Evil exists, and often its darker than black. Goodness too exists and sometimes it brighter than white. We usually choose to experience life in moderate shades of gray.

The Darkest Grays and the Deepest Blacks

A boy we’ve known from childhood can be a little wayward, but he cannot be the rapist who pulled out the entrails of a girl he violated. A bow-legged nephew who is always so charming in his manners, cannot be a pedophile who molests a woman’s daughter. An eighty year old frail woman couldn’t have gotten her sons beaten black and blue by her husband because she liked seeing her husband beat his sons whom she had hated bearing.

We choose not the believe the darkest grays and the deepest blacks, because believing would lead us to question everything around us, and our virtual safety bubble that allows us to sleep peacefully at nights, would vanish.

The Lightest Grays and the Brightest Whites

We also raise eyebrows when a billionaire decides to spend his billions in research and development that doesn’t turn his billions into trillions but helps the masses that hang from the cliff of their existence by their fingernails. We don’t trust his good intentions. We find ourselves at a loss of words when a client doesn’t try to bargain our skin off our backs.

We see the hand of God at work when anyone goes out of his or her way to help, because such bright and light grays and such brilliant whites appear impossible in our imperfect human world.

I think that as an artist I attempt to capture these two ends of the human spectrum, for what lies in the middle is a diluted version of life. I believe artists must think and feel, and then reach out to pull the two ends into their work. 

Discovering the Artist within me (Part III) – Connecting with the Soul.

Last week, I was down with viral fever. The whole week, all hundred and sixty-eight hours of it, went up in a puff. Then, yesterday, I happened to meet an artist and my conversation with him, fueled up my thought-process.

All these years, I had kept a lid on my need to paint my soul and its connection to the world. I had done everything that wouldn’t let me feel the pain of seeing my own vulnerabilities. I had boarded shut the window that opened into my soul.  The connection of my soul with the world is, as you might surmise, full of knots and tangles. It is going to perhaps be the most difficult thing to paint. But I must paint it so that I can see it as much as others can – for only then will I truly understand it.

Recently, since I’ve begun to connect with contemporary artists, I’ve been learning things that I hadn’t known all this while. That illustration, cartooning, and caricature-drawing don’t qualify as art, and that an artist’s past as an illustrator or a cartoonist, in some way makes the artist’s art less palatable.

Oddly, I cannot nod a blind yes to it, for in my books an artist and his art is the sum-total of the artist’s past – and whatever colors that artist chooses to put on the canvas are made from his sweat and blood, and those countless hours that he spent perfecting his skill. I believe and I seriously do, that we cannot have artists popping out of pre-approved molds.

Yesterday, I stood in a gallery looking at works that didn’t speak to me. They made me feel dead inside. I’m sure the artist felt otherwise. She, in fact had reasons for every little thing she had put into her works, and she was animatedly describing them to her audience. She spoke of her experiences and how it made her art what it was. The art was her expression, but the world that it connected to, wasn’t mine.

I am beginning to think that one of the important characteristics of art is the soul-connection. It should be born from an artist’s soul and then it should embrace the viewer’s. Without this connection, art would never find its patrons, and without patrons, the artist’s work will never be seen.

Discovering the Artist within me (Part II) – Classification.

Artists are classified. Period.

Ironically, periods are what classify artists, as do schools and styles. And if you apply paint on canvas, you’ll automatically be classified as a kind of artist, or your art shall be called a mix of styles.

In past several days, I  have had the opportunity of interacting with an amazing young woman. I draw and paint what I want, and having never set foot in an art school until recently, I’ve been both positively and negatively blessed. Positively because I still think the way I want to and I continue to question what I don’t understand, and negatively because the techniques of art are difficult to come by.

This young person is a vibrant combination of intellect and creativity, and her thoughts on art are mature beyond her years. My learning from her has led me reflect upon what My illustrations done for the purpose of exemplifying articles and news, and my caricature renditions of people for the purpose of satire and/or humor notwithstanding, I draw and paint:

  • My thoughts that often take the form of expressions, faces, mountains, animals of all ilk.
  • My memories that fluctuate between the light and dark but often get personified/morphed into my physical experiences.
  • Motion, speed, acceleration for everything around us is perpetually in motion.
  • Colors – washes, splashes, blobs…but all to bring out my thoughts in a visual format.

My young friend tells me that the artist within me may have surrealistic leanings. I do love Dali’s surrealist renderings, but I’m not sure if I would eventually paint like that. Dreams are different from thoughts – thoughts are anchored in logic; dreams break those anchors, allowing the thoughts to fly aimlessly, meeting other thoughts that they were never supposed to meet, and populating a landscape to give birth to surrealism. The elements of surprise, the realistic treatment of people, animals, and objects – they were the hallmarks of Dali’s paintings.

Oh, now that I’m reminded of Salvador Dali, I must show you the caricature that I did of him a few years ago. A simple pencil rendering, nothing much – but one day, I shall paint him the way he would’ve painted himself, surrealistically.

-artist-salvador-dali-mustaches-moustaches-surrealism-surrealist-caricature-of-dali.jpg

My take on Dali’s work has always been of wondrous respect.

Right now, I stand on a spiritual event horizon. If I cross over, I may not return; if I don’t, I won’t know what lies on the other side. But from the windows of time that rush past me at lightening speed, I’ve been able to catch a few glimpses and those glimpses must be translated into sketches…those sketches might get me my visa to the other side. I just hope that it’s a tourist visa and that it comes with a free return ticket.

 

Discovering the Artist within me (Part I) – Art? What’s that again?

Art is something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings… Merriam Webster.

By this definition, everything that’s created with imagination and skill,  and which either looks/feels good or expresses an important idea or emotion, can be classified as art. For this reason, I suppose, a piece of music that makes the listeners swing and dance (looks/feels good) is art; a caricature-composition that obviously requires a lot of imagination and skill to create and which expresses an important idea, is art; a dramatic scene in a movie that is directed with imagination and acted out with skill, and makes people bite their nails (expresses/conveys important feelings) is art.

By this definition, what may be art for you might not be art for me, for the expression must be understood and felt. By the same definition, something that’s created with imagination and skill, but is neither beautiful nor expresses an important idea or feeling, isn’t art; nor is something that’s created without imagination or skill but expresses and important idea or a feeling – (a pamphlet, a news item?)

As I go through the history of art, learning from it in bits and pieces, I realize that art is evolutionary. What is considered art at one time and place may not be considered so in another. In the late nineteenth and earlier twentieth century when art separated itself from the visual renderings of religious nature, and began acquiring a personality of its own, most of the works that were acclaimed internationally, had one or both of these characteristics.

  1. They evoked an emotional response in their viewers.
  2. They were aesthetically pleasing.

The degree to which each of these characteristics would be experienced by the viewers varies, and yet, these are the two basic reasons why people buy the art of an unknown artist. (The known artist’s work is often bought by art-investors who “invest” in the works of an artist who’s expected to become a star. These characteristics don’t matter then.)

Let us look at two interesting works. (I’m not good with the names of the art-periods and the art-schools, and as I’m studying them mostly to “feel” art, I won’t force myself to remember them.)

The Scream by Edvard Munch.

This painting by Munch reminds me of my times of hopelessness. Most of us have been through dark times in our lives, and while we could argue about the degrees of darkness that one may have experienced, for each individual his darkness is made of the deepest darkest black. Munch’s Scream for me is soundless and endless. It draws a strong emotional response from me.

And this is my response to the painting, not to the artist, nor to the artist’s own pain. I knew nothing of Munch when I had first seen an image of this painting.

The Scream definitely isn’t aesthetically pleasing to me. I won’t want it on my living room wall because every time I’d look at it, I’d be hurled back into that half-forgotten pit of darkness. And yet, for me, it’s a work of art. While it may be pointed out that it’s illustrative or even symbolic and thus doesn’t open itself to multiple interpretations, I still consider it art, for it even darkness is interpreted differently by each one of us.

American Gothic by Grant Wood.

When this painting was first displayed, it aroused emotions of different kinds. Mostly because the Iowans felt that it didn’t really depict the kind of people they were. And yet, after almost ninety years and tens of thousands of miles away, this painting still evokes an emotional response from me. It makes me think of life as a book filled with pages that the read the same throughout. It slaps me across the face to wake me up, and sends me scrambling to find a notebook or a sketchbook; it reminds me that life isn’t about living in comfort and dying within…because that’s my personal takeaway from the expressions I see on the faces of the farmer and his daughter (or Wood’s dentist and Wood’s sister.)

The emotional response isn’t as strong as the one evoked by The Scream, but it isn’t as dark either. If I could afford it, I’d love to own the American Gothic. The painting also has a stronger aesthetic dimension for me. I love the skill with which it’s painted, and I love the overall composition. The straight verticals, the neat and clean house in the background, the expressions on the two faces, the metal of the pitchfork, everything’s been painted with such finesse. I love it!

Over the next few weeks, I intend to look at other major artworks and measure my own responses to them, because I really want to figure out what my own view of art is.

Comments and suggestions to help me on this journey would be appreciated from the bottom of my heart 🙂

 

Plans are…a Switch!

 

Plans are a switch – You toggle them on and off, as you like. 
Or they are a glitch…in every unplanned event in your life.

This is why I don’t like plans.

No, I am not tossing “plans” into the bin without trying them out. You know well that there was a time I’d make plans and announce them right here on my blog, hoping that announcing them to my readers would help me keep them.

But no – my plans were a switch. 

I’d switch them off on the slightest opportunity of having to do something more interesting. It wasn’t working out at all.

So I made up my mind and decided to follow them come what may. I ignored the random fun and happy things that happened around me, and I tried staying true to them. But honestly, all it did to me was make me feel miserable.

And I began thinking of plans as a glitch.

You see, most of the fun events are unplanned. You do them because you want to do them at a particular moment. Or you do them because they’ve been needling you for a very long time…but your plans, your logical and practical plans that you made with a hundred constraints in place were making you postpone them.  So my plans suddenly became a glitch in everything I really wanted to do.

Caught between the switch and the glitch…your plans, you see, are nothing more than a pain in your…oh well, your precious derrière. (The French do have a delicate way of putting things.) I decided to ditch both the switch and the glitch, to let the reasonably trustworthy hand of fate take over the puppeteering of my life from me.

Until reason returns… please don’t hold me responsible for my actions. I would have no hand in whatever I do.

So, don’t ask me why I’m posting Malcolm Gladwell’s caricature here. It just happened.

Caricature Portrait of Malcolm Gladwell, the Author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and What the Dog Saw.

Caricature Portrait of Malcolm Gladwell – Digital Painting – Actual Size: 10 inches by 12 inches at 300 dpi.

Perhaps because we started our careers in publishing with the same magazine, The American Spectator…or because I find the intense look in his eyes disconcerting and intriguing at the same time…or just because in this beautiful moment, I’m making unplanned, unreasoned decisions.

Read the original post about Gladwell’s caricature, and about my first assignment with The American Spectator, and if you are interested in checking out my Portfolio without the clutter of my mutterings and musings, please head over to shafalianand.wordpress.com.

 

Anthony Weiner sentenced in Teen Sexting Case and the Pole-dancing stops.

Anthony Weiner has finally been sentenced to 21 months in prison for sending the pictures of his white underwear-clad nether region to a 15-year-old girl.
Anthony Weiner New York Mayor Sentenced. Caricature Cartoon pole dancing.

For the next 21 months, Weiner would be wondering whether he really needed to promote the underwear brand that he was wearing on the fateful night.

Portrait of a Fortune-teller – A Pen and Ink rendering.

They’ve been called by various names…

Seers, Soothsayers, Oracles, Fortune-tellers, Star-gazers, Clairvoyants, Psychics, Sibyls, Kahunas, Shamans, Healers…

They exists in a liminal space or the twilight zone, where their conscience hovers between the material and the spiritual world.

 

Portrait Caricature of An old person - Seer, Mage, Old man, Old Woman, Healer, Sooth-sayer, Oracle, Fortune-teller.

Title: “The Seer” Medium: Pen & Ink Size: 8″x11.25″ (Done on Strathmore Acid Free 64 lb. paper.)

Pen and Ink is one of my two favorite mediums (the other is digital painting.) I love this medium because, Pen and Ink drawings emerge fully formed, for there’s nothing more for the artist to do. Each line we draw in ink, is permanent…quite like each line that time etches on our faces 🙂

I did this drawing yesterday…and in doing so, almost bled from my eyes. I’m glad I did, for it made the drawing ever more worthwhile and special. This one is for me…and for the years the lie ahead.

Emotions & Expressions – Part I – And the Lefty-Lefty Bond.

Emotions lead to expressions and without expressions, caricatures are merely dead drawings, only marginally better than portraits. To breathe life into caricatures we must attempt to reflect their emotions on their faces, even postures.

According to Robert Plutchick there are 8 basic emotions:

  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Joy
  • Disgust
  • Surprise
  • Trust
  • Anticipation

If the list was limited to these 8 emotions, and corresponding 8 expressions, the caricaturists would have been a happy lot. The problem lies in the following two facts:

  • humans experience these emotions in different degrees – thus, the intensity of fear could cause either a slight tingling of the spine or a need to…scat. Thus, one might be “apprehensive” or “scared to death.”
  • humans often experience a mix of different emotions and not a single, isolated emotion. We experience a combination of anger, fear, and sadness when we experience jealousy; a concoction of sadness and disgust when we are dumped in love; and a heady mix of anticipation and joy while falling in love.

The following drawing (a very rough sketch. Allow me to quickly blame it on bad lighting and a crick in my neck painstakingly acquired through my bad posture,) too presents a mix of emotions. Which ones can you identify?

Anxious, worried, troubled, afraid, angry? Emotions and Expressions - Caricatures and Cartoons

A sketch from my sketchbook – Photographed in horrible light.

And now…a story 🙂

I was at the bank waiting in a long queue.

I ask you. What does an artist do when she must kill time?

Correct Answer: She draws.

So standing between a rather large gentleman in front and a rather skinny lady behind, I drew out my sketchbook and began sketching.

I ask you again. What happens to an artist when she starts drawing?

Correct Answer: She loses touch with her surroundings.

So as I furiously sketched some furious looking faces from my imagination, I lost touch with reality. People who stood around me realized that they could kill time too…by watching me draw.

I ask you, one final time. What happens when a small crowd begins to watch an artist?

Correct Answer: One of the interested onlookers decides to destroy the artist’s peace.

So while I was floating on a different and rather enlightened plane, hanging safely from the parachute of peace, I heard a chirpy voice, which sliced through the fabric of my metaphysical parachute and sent me hurling back to the harsh terrain of reality.

“Ooooooooh…,” cooed the young fashionista who had materialized in the bank while I was on my plane of enlightenment. “So you are left-handed? So am I.”

I stared at her blankly. Oh wow! I thought. I must be so fortunate to meet another one of the 750 Million lefties of the worldWho would’ve thought of it! Somewhere at the back of my mind, I knew that I should throw away my sketchbook, open my arms, and hug the lefty woman like I would hug my only sister who I may have lost in the Thar desert (and who my parents never told me about.) But I didn’t. Instead, I chose to lose that opportunity by nodding at her and saying, “um…oh,” whatever that meant.

The young woman gave me an odd look (expression?) that I read as, “is she dumb or what?” Actually, I was dumb…founded. I guess the lefty-lefty bond is something to cherish and celebrate, but I can’t imagine what good can come out of it.

  • Could it be that if two lefties walked into a bar, they’d get two drinks for the price of one?
  • Or could it be that if two lefties got together, they could change the world?
  • I mean, what difference does it make to anyone, if two lefties fell in love and had lefty babies?

The only thing that happened that day was that I couldn’t complete my drawing, and she went back with a long-face. So when one lefty accosts another lefty with an “oooooooh…” neither gets anywhere!

Now, back to the drawing board to right the wrong…the sinister…the gauche…the…

Oh, what the heck!

 

She was pretty once…

When she was pretty and lissome, and spring followed her everywhere,

when she was carefree and life was fun, when she smiled at everyone,

when her hair was thick and lustrous, when her skin glowed unblemished…

but that was, when she was young.

Those days are now gone.

Her bones now squeak a little more each day, and she wakes up with a new wrinkle every morning.

Her hair has turned gray,  they are grayer than the smog that hangs low outside her apartment window.

Her nose gets bigger, her ear lobes dip lower, and her lips are now thinner than the heels that she wore…

when she was young.

Those days are now gone.

Her breasts that were once her pride, now sit upon her stomach, hidden under her loose floral robes of silk.

The dull, dead strands of her hair, are dyed a color they never were; ashamed of being seen, they seek shelter behind her tiara.

Her chins that roll upon one another, find refuge behind her many necklaces; her swollen feet are now thicker than the waist she had…

when she was young.

But those days are now gone.

Caricature of a middle-aged woman bejeweled, rich, but unhappy.

Title: “She” (Pen and Ink Drawing – Size: 5″ x 8″ Approximately.)

 

You must’ve noticed that I’m terrible at getting words to rhyme. I apologize for it…but if I don’t try, I’ll never get there.

About this caricature:

The caricature was inspired by a lady I saw at the mall. She must’ve been very pretty once, but she was clearly not able to cope with aging. She was unhappy, perpetually complaining, even bitter, but she was laden with jewelry. I’m not a gemology expert, but I could see four solitaires, a couple of rubies, one emerald, and a lot of dazzle around her neck. The tiara, I confess, is my addition.

Cover Art for Fantasy Novel “Quests Volume 2: The Paths of Fire and Earth”

I love this cover that I did for Barbara G. Tarn’s new fantasy novel, “Quests Volume 2: The Paths of Fire and Earth.”  Fantasy readers, check out Author Barbara G. Tarn’s blog here.

Cover Art for Fantasy Novel "Quests" By Barbara G. Tarn by Cover Illustrator and Artist Shafali

It’s one of my favorite covers so far. I had been waiting for the book to come out so that I could share it with you. More soon.

You can download the book on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071XR1311/.

Caricature/Cartoon – Prabhas as Bahubali – Why did Kattappa kill Bahubali?

This one is for S. S. Rajamouli, for directing Bahubali – The Beginning, a movie that made me sit up and take notice. I’d have loved it more if moss had been growing upon the sides of the walls, and if there were a few stones missing here and there – but they wanted to show Mahishmati in good repair, so be it.

So here’s Prabhas as Bahubali, asking the question that India has been asking for two long years. “Why did Kattappa kill Bahubali?

Caricature Cartoon Sketch Drawing Bahubali Prabhas Why did Katappa Kattappa kill bahubali

What I love about Bahubali is that it’s a fair attempt at telling a fantastical story. Honestly, I wouldn’t have seen it. Nobody could’ve convinced me to go to the theater and pay for a South Indian movie dubbed in Hindi. I’d rather watch a South Indian movie in Tamil or Telugu, miss half its finer points and read the English sub-titles. I watched the dubbed version of it only because it was on TV. I’m glad I did because I fell for the illogical beauty of the movie as well as the drop-dead flared-nostril gorgeous looks of its tall, broad, and rather humongous protagonist, Bahubali. (Note: His nostrils and his height reminded me of a Telugu guy who had proposed to me in my first year of college – but I assure you that this fact had nothing to do with my mad desire to caricature Prabhas b.k.a Bahubali.)

b.k.a. = Best known As.

So what caught my attention?

First, the songs.

The lead-the-hero-on-his-quest song brilliantly shot.  The end-of-virginity-song  (Our movies often have a song at the end of which our virgin hero and equally if not more virgin heroine lose their virginity) was beautifully composed. Honestly, Bollywood’s pelvis-pounding, booty-bouncing, bosom-heaving efforts look crass when compared to the sensuality of these songs. The tattoo-story that spills into the end-of-virginity-song is one of those many details that make the viewers catch their breath.

Then the sequences.

We first learn of Bahubali Junior’s prowess in the scene where he plucks the gargantuan shivalinga (made of black igneous rock of some kind) and carries it on his shoulder, like it was made of origami. Then there was the scene when Bahubali Junior “alone” stops the king’s statue from falling – note that hundreds of men couldn’t achieve what he did, and quite effortlessly too. In fact, his other hand was free to help a worker to his feet. And then there was Sivagami, the omnipotent matriarch, who for some inexplicable reason was feared by everyone, including her hubby dearest. Her husband, the single-handed king, single-handedly managed to mess up the whole show for Bahubali Senior – the prince she favored over her own son (for no other reason except that as an infant, in a surreal display of power, he had held her thumb in his innocent vice-like grip.) Interesting, because what I’ve seen of mothers is that they’d love a baboon born of their own body more than they’d love another woman’s super awesome genius child.

Finally, Katappa (or Kattappa or Kattapa)

The man who threw the parting shot was Katappa. The man who in the last scene of the movie, confessed to killing Bahubali. He could’ve confessed a little earlier, or waited until the next movie was released. But he chooses to spill the beans right at the moment before the credits begin to roll on the screen. Honestly, I don’t understand the guy at all. I don’t think Bahubali understood him either. Which Bahubali? Well, both, I guess. The guy Katappa appears to be a rather dependable character – one who sides with Queen Sivagami all the time – and he confesses to killing Bahubali. Speaking of cliffhangers – I guess this was even bigger than Bahubali’s own cliffhanging attempt in the movie (recall when Ballaldeva was all prepared to bring the movie to an end by letting Bahubali die, but the director had intervened and saved the movie?)

Bahubali 2 – The Conclusion, is releasing on April 28th. I’m waiting for the release the same as millions of other Indians. We all want to know why Katappa killed Bahubali. Don’t we?

 

 

Caricature/Cartoon – Melania Trump – USA’s new First Lady.

BREAKING NEWS!

Melania Trump, the new First Lady of the USA, visits the caricaturist’s blog!

Caricature, Cartoon of First Lady Melania Trump on the map of the USA.

Slovenian Beauty Captures the American White House.

The Micro-bio of Melania Trump:

Born Melanija Knavs, the current First Lady of the US received her Green Card in 2001, and became an American Citizen in 2006. Previously, she worked as a model, a profession that she had joined at the age of five. She speaks six languages, loves powder-blue (in the caricaturist’s opinion,) and she applied for a US Green Card as a Model of “Extraordinary Ability.” (Information excavated from Wikipedia and must be consumed by the reader at her own risk.) She got married to Donald Trump in 2005. Soon after their wedding, in 2006, she gave birth to little Barron William Trump – the cute kid who wore a suit and sat through Donald Trump’s oath-taking ceremony with patience and panache.

About this Caricature:

Ah, well. 
Other than the fact that Melania Trump has an extremely caricaturable face, what inspired me to find my way back to my tablet and paint this caricature, was another caricature of the lady.
If you’ve read my book “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures” or you’ve read my past posts, you would know that I am a caricaturist who balances exaggeration with funny/cute. I am also someone who believes that a woman’s vanity must never be attacked, even through a caricature – and so as far as I can, I try to keep a woman’s caricature in the realm of cute. Any exaggeration that yields an ugly picture, isn’t for me – and I follow this philosophy regardless of my personal preferences/prejudices.

It so happened that this fabulous caricaturist painted a rather unflattering caricature of Melania Trump. Note that “unflattering” here, is a euphemism. The caricature made me sad. Features that had no business being exaggerated were pushed and pulled with impunity – it made me think that the caricaturist disliked the subject immensely.

So I thought that I should draw a caricature with an element of funny/cute in it, without, of course, killing the likeness – and so I did this.

About Melania’s Features – Note for the Caricaturists.

If you are a caricaturist, you may be interested in understanding Melania’s face, especially her eyes. Her eyes are different from most other eyes, in that they slant upwards on the outside corners, and they are rather small. In fact, tiny. When she smiles the slant increases. She’s got a sharp nose and a mouth with thin lips. Yes, I mean really thin lips. She uses a lipliner outside her natural lip line and fills up her lips. But the point to note here is that her upper lip is slightly heavier than her lower lip. A characteristic feature of her face is the way her cheeks are structured. Note the two vertical crescents that shine upon her cheeks. Then of course, you have her hair. My exaggeration of her features is slight and I’ve used the relativity of her features to caricature her face. For instance, I pulled her nose some, stretching her cheeks, so that her small eyes, automatically looked smaller. The upper lip became thicker, and the lower, thinner. I exaggerated the strands of her hair – but most of all, I used the big-head small body trick to get the toony look right.

Note the size of the buttons, the hoops of her earrings, and the swirl of her jacket – and of course, the confident stance. Becoming the First Lady of the US is no mean feat. She is winning, and the caricature shows it!

 

 

India Strikes Back!

India stands proud and tall today. The Indian Army went across the LOC early this morning, targeted 7 terror launch pads, eliminated about 38 terrorists and 9 Pakistani army men who were defending the terrorists. Our soldiers returned safe – no casualties. They avenged the Uri deaths. They got an opportunity to do so only because there was a will on the part of our government. Instead of throwing empty words on our faces while keeping the hands of our defense-forces tied, unlike the previous government, this government did something tangible, and they did it the right way.

There’s a limit to be patient with ignorance and vileness; and with the Uri attacks, that limit was breached. We cannot continue to play with those who hobnob with the ones intent on killing us – India was forced to act to contain the terrorist attacks that were carried out from across the border, under the aegis of Pakistan.

Today I was reminded of the day two years ago when I voted for change, and when I rejoiced with a renewed hope because after such a long time, we would have an Indian in the driving seat.

I want to thank our armed forces for keeping our borders secure, and PM Modi and team for taking decisions that uphold the pride and honor of India. For once, I am glad to have voted.

Caricature of Narendra Modi as BJP wins the 2014 Indian elections.

The First Presidential Debate – Hillary Clinton – Donald Trump Face-off!

The first Presidential Debate reminded me of this illustration that I did for the Jan-Feb 2016 issue of the Talk Business & Politics magazine.

Republicans and Democrats vs. the Voter - on occasion of the first presidential debate of the 2016 US elections

About the First Presidential Debate: 9-10:30 EDT on September 26, 2016.

While Donald Trump didn’t lose his cool despite Hillary Clinton’s repeated personal pokes, Hillary Clinton didn’t faint nor cough, as many had expected she would. And yet, neither Clinton’s pasted smile, nor her quick puss-in-the-boots acceptance of guilt upon the question of the deleted emails, appeared credible. On the other hand, Trump could’ve possibly been more people-friendly and less prone to explaining the business logic behind his proposals. His one-liners mightn’t go down well with some voters who would find it curious that declaring bankruptcy or using the laws to save taxes (evasion vs. saving – there’s a difference,) could be sound business logic.

It’ll be interesting to watch these elections and see how America decides. I do hope that the next two debates will be more interesting and bring out the honesty and patriotism of both the candidates. I for one, don’t believe that US should select its President on the basis of their race or gender – they should select a President who is truthful, patriotic, and gutsy, and who believes in building a level-playing field not only for all Americans but for everyone in the world.

A Special Birthday Gift for Someone Special – Caricatures on Stone.

On his Birthday, I struggled to come up with the idea for a birthday gift. I started by listing the traditional gifting stuff.

  • DeO? Implies that he has BO, which he doesn’t; and he already has some sort of crazy musky spray that makes me wonder why men first bathe then spray themselves with something that makes them smell all sweaty.
  • Wallet? He’s got one already, and accept it or not, an empty gift wallet can stress a guy out, making him think how he can fill it up. As a Birthday gift, it doesn’t click.
  • Belt? So what might I be implying? Cinch it and tuck it in? It could’ve come in handy a couple of a years ago when he had kick-started his midriff expansion project, but he had quickly dropped it, and he is now fit and smart.
    Honestly, I tried coming up with something that would really be useful to him…something that won’t go the way the keyboard and the roller-skates went – but I came up with nothing!

But then, he can read me like I were a first grade English text being read by an English Literature Professor. So, on the morning of his Birthday, he brought this stone pen-stand that he had bought from a fair years ago, and asked me to draw or paint upon it.

And so I did. It took me hours, peering over the 2.5″x 4″ stone-canvas, and painting upon the not-so-smooth surface of the stone, but the results were heartening. Note that these four characters weren’t sketched elsewhere on paper…they were born on this pen stand, for this pen stand 🙂

Caricature, Cartoon of a balding worker in hat and a pretty young girl wearing hat with a kitten on a stone pen stand.

The balding worker with the Smiley Hat and the Pretty Girl with a kitten.

 

Caricature Cartoon of a girl in a hat with kitten and a androgynous man with a cellphone

Young girl in hat with a cat and a blond man with a cellphone

 

Caricatures, cartoons of a blond funny man with a mobile and a dancing Indian girl

Man with the mobile phone and the dancing Indian girl

 

Caricatures, cartoons of dancing Indian Girl and the balding man in the smiley hat.

The Indian dancer and the balding man in the smiley hat

And finally, with the pencils 🙂

Caricatures Pen stand with pens and pencils - the gift.

The Gift 🙂

He loved the gift. And then of course, there was the halwa, his favorite  sweet-dish to sweeten the gift some more 🙂

Caricature/Cartoon – Hillary Clinton on her way to The White House

Time is apt for this post to reappear 🙂

Shafali's Caricatures, Portraits, and Cartoons

Everyone knows that Hillary Clinton will be running for President in the 2016 Elections. Period.

Here’s my take on the story.

Caricature cartoon in color - Hillary clinton - democratic candidate - US Presidential elections - 2016 - with donkey and 3 feathers in her cap.

Will Hillary run for the 2016 Presidential Elections?

Here are my reasons for believing that she will.
  1. In 2006, she was among the Democratic candidate hopefuls and narrowly lost to Barack Obama. This confirms that she is interested in becoming the President of the US.
  2. In 2007, she took up the position of the Secretary of State and happily co-existed and co-managed the international affairs of the US along with President Obama. This kept her in the public eye and made her a much stronger candidate than before.
  3. She took a break from a job which she was performing rather nicely. The only reason that makes sense to me is that she wanted to spend her time preparing herself for the next elections.
If the reasons given by…

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