First Person: I draw a lot from the earlier part of the century, when cartoons were couched in symbolism and stylised references. The latter is true in my case - it’s like guerrilla warfare.–
Gautam Benegal loves making animation films for children and illustrating children’s books and magazines.
Gautam started illustrating for Anandabazar Patrika and Sandesh when he was 16 years as a schoolboy in Calcutta and this continued later along with the films. Gautam loves to draw cartoons and he’ll probably be silently figuring out what you’d look like on paper from the moment you are introduced. That explains the glazed look. He likes to paint serious stuff too.
He’s held exhibitions of his paintings in Important Sounding Places but he really got started when he was 10 years old and arranged all his drawings in the living room propped against the chairs and sofas. And called whoever on the street was passing by the window to have a look see. He’s written about this in a short story in one of his books. But what he likes doing most of all are workshops with kids where he can muck around and learn new stuff which only kids can show with fresh new eyes.
Having grown up in Kolkata, his books 1/7 Bondel Road and The Green of Bengal have the state as the backdrop. Benegal has a mind of his own and stands by his convictions as is explicit in his hard-hitting articles on contemporary issues published online on ‘Daily O’. His animation films - especially the Kelvinator Penguin and Handyplast Boy - are household figures. He has made films for the Films Division of India and his films have been selected for film festivals in Teheran, Hiroshima, Belarus and Cairo among other places. He is also a freelance painter, journalist and cartoonist associated with the DNA and the Times of India.