MARIO MIRANDA : THE EMINENT CARTOONIST
By Wellington Dias.

 

The art of poking fun through the pen and bringing out a grin and even a laugh (at times) with subjects ranging from politics to other day to day events, is what cartooning is all about and this is exactly what, Mr. Mario Joao Carlos do Rosario de Britto Miranda or just Mario Miranda, as he is better known has been doing for quite a while now, thereby, making him one of India’s and Goa’s - most renowned cartoonists.


Meeting, this soft spoken Gentleman at his ancestral place in Loutolim (on 7th Jan., 2001) , could notice that Mario Miranda, kind of exuded a laid back nature and did not have much airs of himself in spite of being well known & famous and during the course of our tete-a-tete, he spoke on a wide range of topics, which included his early days, his work, etc. He also provided a lot of information that laid the basis of this article.

EARLY LIFE :

Mario’s journey into cartooning began when he started to caricature on his home walls and his Mother noticing his talents, presented him with a blank book to caricature on (which according to Mario was his “Diary”) and had to say that his early cartoons revolved mostly around day to day events of village life and admitted that his work, even today, is mostly on a trial and error basis.

Into CARTOONING :

Mario mentioned that he never envisioned a future into cartooning even while doing his BA in History of the English Novel (at St. Xavier’s College), as at that time, he was focussed mainly in entering the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).

His friends noticing his artistic talents, encouraged him to make postcards and draw for them, which earned him extra pocket money and according to him some of his drawings & cartoons made their way to newspapers and publications, which brought him an offer to work for the “Current” magazine and later on, the Times of India Group offered him a slot (even though being rejected at first), with his creations like Nimbupani, Miss Fonseca appearing on a regular basis in the “Femina”, “Economic Times”, etc.

NEW HORIZONS :

Mario Miranda’s life, was to change after being offered the Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian Scholarship which enabled him to travel to and stay a year in Portugal and this time in Portugal according to Mario helped him to broaden his horizons. After a year in Portugal, Mario travelled to England and was to spend five years there, learning as well as doing jobs for newspapers and recalled of
his getting a break to apply his skills in an altogether different field, i.e. of television animation (at Independent Television).

Besides this job, Mario mentioned about selling his cartoons to magazines which were featured in the “LILIPUT” and even in other prestigious Magazines like “MAD” (once) and “PUNCH” (twice). Mario had to say that this supplemented his finances, thereby, enabling him to travel around Europe, interacting with other cartoonists (from whom he gained a lot of knowledge & encouragement) and also meeting Sir Ronald Searle (whom he considers as his mentor).

RETURN TO BOMBAY & WEDDING BELLS :

After five years in England, Mario decided to return to Bombay and was offered back his old job with the Times of India but entioned that he had to work under R.K. Laxman’s shadow.

After his return Mario was to meet another artist by the name of “Habiba”, with both tying the knot and have two Sons. The elder one Rahul (married to an American), a coiffeur by profession, owns his own saloon in New York & resides there while the younger one Rishad, lives with him and Mario considers him a good artist (having designed the book “Legends of Goa”) and a cartoonist in his own way.

RECOGNITION & FAME :

Mario, had to say that his main break to fame & recognition came in 1974, when, at the invitation of the United States Information Services, he travelled to America, which enabled him to promote his art and interact with other cartoonists in U.S.A. and also meet Charles (creator of Peanuts) and Herblock (of the Washington Post).

He further added that the States trip brought him recognition, from his home Country (being awarded the Padmashree award) and also being invited to exhibit his works in America and other Countries like Japan, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, France, Yugoslavia, Portugal and at the time of the interview mentioned about his exhibition presently being on, at Lisbon.

ABOUT CARTOONING :

Mario mentioned about his likeness for the English and American cartoons and had to say that India, too, had some good cartoonists as well.

About cartooning, he had to say that it was a serious business, which required lot of dedication & hardwork and was of the opinion that Mumbai & Delhi are two places where cartoonists are better appreciated.

Even though not leaning towards politics for his cartoons, he mentioned that in India one could not help but cartoon the political scenario, but his proclivity with the pen and ink has mostly centred around cartoons of a non-controversial nature and poking fun without hurting sentiments.

A fact that needs mention about him is that in spite of having no formal training at Art School, it was only through his in-born talents, that he has made it big in this field.
 



MARIO’s HOBBIES & OTHER WORKS :

Besides cartooning, Mario mentioned of his fondness to do murals of which he has a number of them in Goa and other parts of India. He further added that as of now, he was a bit tired of cartooning and wanted to do paintings or serious works of art and mentioned already doing quite a number of them and being well appreciated for the same.

Mario, to his credit has a number of books, some of which are “Laugh it Off”, “Goa with Love”, “Germany in Wintertime”, etc. and plans to republish the aforementioned titles in the near future as they are not available presently.

Besides his own books, Mario, mentioned about his illustrating books of Dom Moraes (“A Journey to Goa”), Manohar Malgaonkar (“Inside Goa”) and Mario Cabral e Sa’s (“Legends of Goa”).

Besides Cartooning he mentioned about his affinity for travel, reading, listening to music, {which includes Jazz, Pop, classical and GOAN MUSIC (for which he mentioned his special fondness and hoped that it lives on, forever)}, Drama, Cinema and his pets.

 


LIFE AT PRESENT :

Nearing retirement, Mario’s love for his home place beckoned and now lives at his ancestral home (where part of the hindi movie Trikaal was shot), at Loutolim with his Wife, younger Son and his pets.

Even though retired, Mario mentioned about him being more busier than before, as he submits his work from home to magazines & publications in Mumbai and attributes this possible due to better communication facilities like courier, etc.

ABOUT HIS HOMEPLACE :

When queried about Goa, he rued the fact that the Goan identity was fast disappearing with influx of outsiders, houses being sold off, land being developed haphazardly and in an unplanned manner, the environment being ravaged and felt that very soon Goans themselves, will be a minority in their own home place and appealed to the NR Goans to take interest in Goa and be aware as to what is happening back home.

About Loutolim, he mentioned that it was loosing its character and added that its typical touch needs to be maintained.


@ 2002 Wellington Dias
Copyrights Reserved

E-mail : wellydias@hotmail.com
Picture & Cartoon Courtesy Goa Today Magazine