BANGALORE: Caricatures have been a reflection of human behaviour for centuries. The squiggly lines were always used to capture the essence of comedy. Amongst the most prevalent and popular art forms, both cartoons and caricatures have revealed the freedom that art signifies. Likewise, erupting with humour — satirical cartoons seem to have blurred the distinction between reality and fiction.
Well, cartoons arrived in India with the British. Nevertheless, this stylised art form has evolved over the years. Since the era of Late Shankar S Pillai, we have seen several cartoonists carve a niche for themselves in the field of art. However, with his minimalistic approach and subtle humour, N K Ranganathan, a disciple of Pillai, introduced new possibilities in the world of cartooning. Fondly known as Ranga, the caricaturist’s works were characterised by deft lines and
City Express pays a tribute to the legend whose works were displayed at Indian Institute of Cartoonists recently.
Consisting of famous personalities including former presidents, prime ministers and leaders, Ranga’s sketches had a lot of depth. In fact, each of his works had several distinct layers to them. Crisp expressions and animated characters defined most of his works displayed at the institute. Amongst the celebrities, his sketches of Margaret Thatcher, Ramakrishna Hegde, H Veerappa Moily, M S Subbulakshmi, Dalai Lama, Bismillah Khan and Salman Rushdie deserve special mention. With a few adroit strokes, Ranga had a brilliant way of capturing quirky expressions. His style was uncluttered and elegant. Known for his line-drawings, Ranga’s work was featured in several publications all over India.
The artist had a rare distinction of having the highest collection of autographed caricatures of both national and international celebrities. In fact, the late Russian President Nikita Khruschev liked his caricature so much that he asked for a copy. Soon, Ranga began drawing two caricatures; one for the celebrity and the other with his or her autograph for his collection. Ranga’s passion for art knew no bounds.
He would always would draw with characteristic speed.
In fact, his two-line sketch of Mahatma Gandhi (which is also on display) is not only a brilliant example of the art of caricature but it also portrays the dynamic interplay of creativity and innovation.