Who in the Telugu world is not familiar with the decisive and strong lines of Bapu bommas? The month of May brings a daylong exhibition-cum-sale of artwork prints of the popular Telugu film director and illustrator to Milpitas.
Awarded with Lifetime Achievement by the Indian Institute of Cartoonists, Satthiraju Lakshminarayana, popularly referred to as Bapu, was born in Narasapur, Andhra Pradesh. With no formal art school training, he began his career in the arts by illustrating stories for a friend and soon became a sought-after illustrator for Telugu magazines and novels. For a while, he worked as an art director at an advertising firm but quit to pursue another artistic medium: film.
Directing films gave Bapu a new channel to express his creativity. Today, he has to his credit Telugu classics like Muthyala Muggu, Pellipustakam, and Mister Pellam. The director is known for his realistic characterization, crisp dialogues, and clean entertainment. To date, Bapu has to his credit 33 feature films in Telugu, nine in Hindi (Woh Saat Din, Hum Paanch, Prem Pratigya, to name a few), and one in Tamil. He has also been honored with three national awards and an equal number of state awards. Sita Kalyanam, a Telugu film, was selected for the London and Chicago Film Festivals in 1978.
Bapu explained that his direction style includes drawing detailed storyboards for every frame of his films, and working with a fixed schedule where each movie is completed within three to four months.
Bapu’s most well-known cartoon strip, called Budugu, was the result of a collaboration with his childhood friend, Mullapudi Venkataramana, with whom he also shares a love of movies. The cartoon strip is about a lovable, precocious little boy-next-door.
His recent work has included the direction of the popular Sri Bhagvatham, a TV serial for Eenadu TV, and an animation film in the works, Bala Krishna, which is being simultaneously made in Hindi and English.
When asked whether he prefers one artistic medium over another, he simply states that all artistic mediums excite him. He explains, “… whether it is a film or a painting, (both) express a picture in the mind.”
The exhibition at India Community Center, Milpitas, is organized by Anuradha Mullapudi. It will showcase some of this extraordinarily talented artist’s masterpieces. The prints include paintings of Indian Gods and Goddesses, Bapu girls, scenes from the Ramayana, dances of India, and several miniatures. It is an excellent opportunity for lovers of art to acquire a Bapu painting. —Smita Garg
Saturday, May 13, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. India Community Center, 555 Los Coches St., Milpitas.
(650) 566-1495, (408) 934-1130. www.indiacc.org