Artist seeks 100 signatures on Sachin Tendulkar portrait

New Delhi: Painter Venkatesh Kandunoori is on a mission - to collect signatures of important people on a large sized celebratory sketch of cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.

Over the past four years, Kanunoori, who hails from Warangal has been travelling to various parts of the country accumulating signatures from personalites across the world.

It includes those by President Pranab Mukherjee, former President APJ Abdul Kalam, cine superstar Amitabh Bachchan to legendary cricketer Sir Vivian Richards. Members of the 2011 Cricket World Cup winning team, and of course from Tendulkar himself have been assidously garnered on the canvas.

The four-and-a-half foot mixed media portrait, celebrates the life and times of the Little Master by incorporating various symbols representing his cricketing achievements. It also has elements of national symbols and smaller sketches of other cricketing legends.

After notching up 99 signatures Kandunoori says he has been camping here for the past three months waiting for the last one that of the Prime Minister to complete his goal of 100.

"I travelled across the length and breadth of the country and have gone through much travail to get those signatures," says Venkatesh.

The artist recounts that he had to "wait outside Amitabh Bachchan`s house for five days before I was ushered in."

A student of fine arts, Kanunoori says he wants to "raise money to fund education of underprivileged children."

Apart from that the artist who does not easily converse in English also says he "wants to create an identity" for himself.

Cautiously trying to avoid the tag of "just another Sachin fanatic", he says, "I am not a crazy fan of Sachin. This is simply an attempt to inspire people. An art form is complete in the real sense of the term only when it has an inherent story which inspires people and Sachin fulfills that objective."

Kanunoori says the mix-media piece of painting, of acrylic colours, oil colours and strokes of pencil, took him eight months to complete.

"I began right after India won the world cup in 2011. Honestly, I didn`t expect the kind of reception that this painting has received," said the 27-year-old student at Jawaharlal Nehru Technical University of Fine Arts.

Although he has gifted individual portraits to all the personalities he met, Kanunoori says he has made a one-foot tall brass statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel especially for the Prime Minister.

Referring to the 100 centuries that Tendulkar has scored, Kanunoori says, "Sachin has a century of centuries to his name."

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