The Indian artist drawing portraits with a typewriter

The Indian artist drawing portraits with a typewriter

Clickety-clack, clickety-clack, ding rings out from a home in India’s Mumbai where Chandrakant Bhide is creating his latest artwork -- on a typewriter. The 72-year-old thumps the keys of the bulky, manual machine to draw portraits of famous people, all bearing an unmistakable resemblance to their subject.

From politicians and film stars to cricketers, animation characters and religious symbols, Bhide has produced around 150 pieces of typewriter art over the past half-century. “I have done many personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy. This is my hobby, my passion,” he tells AFP.

Bhide has held 12 exhibitions of his work and become something of a local celebrity since discovering his unique talent in the late 1960s while employed as a bank clerk. As a young man he had wanted to go to art school and become a commercial artist but his family was unable to afford the costs so he trained in stenography instead. Bhide was working in the administrative department of Union Bank of India when in 1967 his boss asked him to type up a list of staff intercom numbers.

“I typed it in the form of a telephone itself. When I saw it I thought, ‘This is fantastic, I can make art through this medium.’ Everybody seemed to like it too,” he recalls. Bhide started using the “x” key to produce images of Hindu god Ganesha to mark India’s annual festival celebrating the elephant-headed deity. He then began to experiment with other keys -- including “w”, dash, asterisk, ampersand and percentage sign -- progressing to create portraits of celebrities from India and abroad. While Bhide takes only 15 minutes to draw Ganesha, several hours are required to complete a famous face in what is a painstaking process. No delete key With steely focus he uses his left hand to grip the knob that controls the platen -- the roller that feeds the paper through -- as he taps the keys with his right index finger. He stops every so often to change the angle of the page before typing again. Sometimes he’ll flick the colour-change lever from black to red or vice-versa and he’ll glance down regularly at the photograph he is working off to make sure he hasn’t made an error.

“Typing requires dedication and concentration. If you put one stroke in the wrong place then you have to start again. “It’s not like a computer where you can delete. Many times I’ve made mistakes and had to start again,” says Bhide.




Saudi, UAE pledge $3 bn aid for Sudan

Saudi, UAE pledge $3 bn aid for Sudan

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates yesterday announced three billion dollars (2.7 billion euros) in financial support for Sudan following the overthrow of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir. The oil-rich Gulf states pledged to inject $500 million into the Sudanese central bank and $2.5

Egyptians vote to “Do the right”

Egyptians vote to “Do the right”

Egyptians voted yesterday in a referendum that aims to cement the rule of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Voters were being asked to back amendments to the constitution to allow Sisi, 64, to run for another six-year term while boosting his control over the judiciary and giving the military even g

Thai Navy to remove bitcoin-rich couple’s sea home

Thai Navy to remove bitcoin-rich couple’s sea home

The Thai Navy will begin removing a “seastead” home built by an American bitcoin investor and his partner off the coast of Thailand, an official said yesterday, as the couple remains in hiding from charges accusing them of violating the country’s sovereignty. Chad Elwartowski an

Explosion, gunfire rock downtown Kabul

Explosion, gunfire rock downtown Kabul

Suicide bombers and gunmen launched an attack near a government ministry in central Kabul on Saturday, officials said, in an ongoing assault that destroyed weeks of relative calm in the capital. The attack near the communications ministry occurred one day after planned talks between the Taliban a

Pakistan says killer gunmen based in Iran

Pakistan says killer gunmen based in Iran

The gunmen who killed 14 members of Pakistan’s security forces in the country’s southwest earlier this week came from Iran to carry out the attack, officials said Saturday. Some 20 people wearing uniforms from the paramilitary Frontier Corps stopped buses in Balochistan provin

Djokovic knocked out as Nadal battles on in Monte Carlo

Djokovic knocked out as Nadal battles on in Monte Carlo

World number one Novak Djokovic was dumped out by Daniil Medvedev while Rafael Nadal survived a struggle to reach the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters for the 14th time yesterday. Djokovic, twice a champion in the principality, lost serve five times in a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 defeat by Russ


Saudi, UAE pledge $3 bn aid for Sudan

Saudi, UAE pledge $3 bn aid for Sudan

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates yesterday announced three billion dollars (2.7 billion euros) in financial support for Sudan following the overthrow of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir. The oil-rich Gulf states pledged to inject $500 million into the Sudanese central bank and $2.5

US envoy honours contest winners

US envoy honours contest winners

The US Ambassador to Bahrain, Justin Siberell honored the winners at an award ceremony held for the eighth annual Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Tech-I Competition.  The GIST Tech-I Competition is an annual competition for science and technology entrepreneurs

Jarir Bookstore to open BD4m outlet in the Kingdom

Jarir Bookstore to open BD4m outlet in the Kingdom

Jarir Bookstore, the largest retailer of books and consumer electronics in Saudi Arabia, will open a branch in the Kingdom next year. Jarir Chief Operating Officer Nassir Al Ageel noted Seef District as the best location for their new branch, due to its attractive investment environment. 

TradeQuest Programme winners honoured

TradeQuest Programme winners honoured

Under the patronage of Zayed Al Zayani, the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism and the Minister in Charge of Bahrain Bourse and in the presence of Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, the CBB Governor, the final TradeQuest Awards Ceremony was held yesterday, where high school and university student

623 rice bags confiscated after trademark violations

623 rice bags confiscated after trademark violations

Over 600 rice bags were confiscated from shops during inspections carried out by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism after noticing trademark infringements. The inspections were part of efforts by the ministry to ensure food safety and hygiene during the month of Ramadan. The i

‘Investing in youth a top priority’

‘Investing in youth a top priority’

His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister yesterday welcomed this year’s recipients of the Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Programme (CPISP), at Riffa Palace. During the meeting, HRH the Crown

‘Cancer cure research progressing at fast pace’

‘Cancer cure research progressing at fast pace’

A leading exemplary, who has contributed tremendously to the field of biotechnology, Dr. Robert Langer is widely recognised as a renowned researcher whose publications have been cited over 283,000 times. His research laboratory at MIT is considered the largest biomedical engineering lab in the wo

Easter Sunday horror

Easter Sunday horror

Seven suspects were arrested in connection with the Easter Sunday bomb attacks on eight churches and hotels in Sri Lanka that left more than 200 dead and hundreds more injured, the country’s defense minister said 10 years after the end of a civil war in which bomb blasts in the South Asian