The wizard of Tableux-Vinod Guruji

Mumbai- Republic Day celebrations are incomplete without the mandatory march past drills and the tableux from various states. They are a part of the cultural representation of all the states of the country.

But who makes these giant floats? What goes into their making?

Mumbai Live caught up with veteran artist Vinod Guruji at Dadar. The Guruji brothers have been designing award winning tableux or "Chitra Rath" since 1980.

Vinod Guruji says that they had to coin a word in Marathi to describe the floats or Jhakiya, when they were designing the chitra rath that would be the official entry of Maharashtra in January 1981.

The theme was the coronation of Shivaji Maharaj. This theme won the first prize that year. Guruji says designing a chitra rath requires the combined qualities of a carpenter, painter, sculptor, engineer, mason and much more. Once the theme is finalised, the diagrams are sent to Delhi for approval. Once approved, the work starts on the entire design. Normally the entire chitra rath is mounted over a truck or a multi-axel vehicle.

But Vinod fondly remembers the award winning chitra rath they had designed which had the theme of Ganeshotsav. They had used two tractors and a jeep for the same.

Desiging of tableux takes a lot of effort and experimentation, but the outcome is phenomenal. A chitra rath is like a moving picture, says Guruji.

He however also spoke about the apathy of the government towards artists, and how artisans' work is not understood and treated commercially. The patronage needed to keep artists and their work alive has to come from the people and the govenment, so as to continue this unique legacy.

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