Cartoonist Vikas Sabnis says it was Bal Thackeray who inspired him to take up cartooning as a profession. The nationally-acclaimed cartoonist is all praise for the late Thackeray.
Thackeray, who himself made cartoons for Marmik, had hand-picked Sabnis to step into his shoes back in 1985. “Raj worked on the cartoons for a brief period, but given his busy political schedule he would be hard-pressed for time, and saheb asked me to take over,” Sabnis says.
Until then, Sabnis had done some work with Sakaal, and Marmik would give him the break he needed. Sabnis adds that Thackeray always had something good to say about his work. “I used to expect him to give me a brief on form and content, but he never did anything of the sort. He respected my space as an artist and never interfered with my work,” Sabnis says.
“This may seem out of sync with popular notions about him, but anyone who knew him closely will vouch for what a warm, generous person he was,” he adds.
Sabnis worked with Marmik for 12 years, when he was suddenly asked to quit. He recalls, “In 2005, I got a call from Balasaheb asking me why I had stopped drawing cartoons for Marmik. I was touched that he even remembered me after so many years.”
“Interestingly, the people who told me to quit said that it was saheb’s order. Balasaheb, however, admitted that he had never been told that I was asked to quit,” says Sabnis, who has since worked for many other publications.
“We should have had many more years of him as a cartoonist. His work will be an inspiration for cartoonists in the years to come,” he concludes.