Celebrating Mario@90: music, art and ‘Mondy’

PT Jyothi Datta | | Updated on: Jan 20, 2018
Mario

Mario

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googleMario

Google greets net prowlers with a delightful doodle

If you’re the kind of person who loves visiting places that reflect vintage Mumbai (or should that be Bombay!), it won’t be long before you land up at an Irani café.

And if the café happens to be ‘Mondy’ as the popular Café Mondegar is called, then it won’t be long before you are drawn into cartoonist Mario de Miranda’s world, as beady-eyed, shapely caricatures of men, women and animals look at you from walls in the café.

Ask around, and little stories emerge on how the place was a regular haunt for artists at that time and Mario, then not as famous, used to be a frequent visitor.

“We did not serve beer then; it used to be bun-maska, patties, kheema pao…like any Irani café,” says a person with the café, preferring to stay unnamed. But the uniqueness of this creative customer is there for visitors to appreciate, even after several years.

On Mario’s 90{+t}{+h} birth anniversary on Monday, a host of events were lined up by the Goa-based Mario Gallery, including a book release, an exhibition of Mario’s original art and a free concert featuring Mario’s favourite musicians. The book, titled ‘The Life of Mario: 1949’, is the latest in a series. It tells the life of Mario when he is 22 years old and is studying at St Xavier’s College in Mumbai and is busy studying between watching films. “The diary is the centre of his life and it is in the latter half of this diary that Mario displays an originality which will catapult him to be a great artist,” says the Gallery of the diary that has been translated by Nalini Lemos Elvino Desouza.

The other books from this series, 1951 and 1950 were also his diaries with illustrations that came from a time before Miss Fonseca, Miss Nimbupani and Mr Moonsamy came into our lives through newspaper cartoons. Born in Portuguese India in 1926, in an aristocratic landlord’s family, Mario Miranda returned from Damao (a port 800 km north of Goa) to his ancestral home in Loutolim, when he was six years old.

It was a warm and happy period, the book informs, when he was given colour pencils and paper to prevent him from defacing the walls.

‘Pocket cartoons’ Also commemorating Mario at 90 is an exhibition of his original drawings, 74 to be precise, that would be up for sale at Gallery Gitanjali, Panjim. They feature some of his best ‘Pocket Cartoons’ that he had done for newspapers, besides pictures for the book ‘Inside Goa’, the Gallery says of the exhibition that would be on till May 30.

Google greeted net-prowlers on Monday with a delightful Mario doodle that was given a generous thumb’s up by Twitterati. But Café Mondegar has not rustled up something special for Mario’s 90, says an insider, adding, “We would have, if he was alive.”

Nevertheless, the day is set to end with music at the amphitheatre of the Museum Houses of Goa at Torda Porvorim. It will feature Mario’s favourite bands The Cotta Family and Sonia Shirsat and her group, the gallery says, keeping the essence of Mario alive for his fans.

jyothi.datta@thehindu.co.in

Published on May 02, 2016
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