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Thackeray-Raj meet: All about cartoons, not politics

November 24, 2008 11:58 IST
Last Updated: November 24, 2008 11:59 IST


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Other than the uncle-nephew relationship, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray [Images] and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena president Raj Thackeray [Images] share two qualities -- both are good cartoonists and have publicly expressed their admiration for Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler [Images].

A day after the uncle-nephew meeting, their first in over two years, Shiv Sena and MNS leaders are emphasising that there were no political undertones to the meeting, held at Bal Thackeray's residence in suburban Bandra.

"What is in your mind did not take place at the meeting. If we had to have secret parleys, we would have met at a secret place," Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, also present at the meeting, said.

The meeting also brought to fore the 'creative leanings' of the Thackeray family.

Uddhav, Bal Thackeray's son, is known to be an avid photographer. Uddhav's brother, late Binda, made films. His other brother, Jaidev, wrote a column in Sena mouthpiece Saamana. Smita Thackeray [Images], who was married to Jaidev, is a filmmaker.

Raj Thackeray has often said that he picked up cartooning from his illustrious uncle. "I stayed at home and learnt from Saheb. When you have the best cartoonist in the land at home, why do you need to go elsewhere to learn," he had said.

So, when the two met on Sunday, it was because "Saheb wanted some of his old books," still in Raj's possession, back and Raj offered to carry them to him instead of sending them over.

A self-taught artist, Thackeray honed his drawing and sketching skills under influence of Walt Disney [Images] and Sir David Low who have deeply influenced his craftsmanship.

It was a book by Sir David, which Raj took to the Thackeray residence on Sunday.

On his uncle's style, Raj had said that he spent "hours watching him and learnt from him his sense of discipline. He never just sat down and drew a cartoon. He spent hours labouring over his work, on getting it perfect".

"I knew that he had finally accepted me as a cartoonist when, once in a while, he began to ask me to pencil him an idea or ink in an idea that he had sketched. It showed his confidence in me. For me, that was the final achievement. The biggest trophy," Raj had said, commenting on Bal Thackeray.

Of course, not all of Raj's cartoons were for public display, like the one he drew when everyone was talking about fake encounters, showing Gopinath Munde, the home minister, at the height of his 'conflict' with then Chief Minister Manohar Joshi, chasing Joshi with a gun.

Raj, who once said politics and cartooning inspired him and he could have never given up one for the other, has been busy with the politician's role since he quit Sena in 2005 following differences with Uddhav and formed MNS the next year.




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