Padma Vibhushan Mario João Carlos do Rosario de Brito Miranda was born on 2nd May 1926. What better way to celebrate his birthday than with a most iconic character he created. A woman who imbibed, reflected and communicated the rising India challenged by its gender biases, community quirks and jugaad of all kinds.

This woman has been the symbol of Mario Miranda’s signature sketches. On his birthday we analyse his work and what women meant to it. Whether it were his caricatures, village scenes of his birthplace Goa, or his cartoon strip, Miranda’s work would most often be populated with curvaceous women going about their day. But one lady with a rather fine figure was Ms Fonseca. She became a household name as the assistant to the boss in all of Miranda’s workplace comic strip.

Mario Miranda and Women by Saffron Art
Mario Miranda and Women. Pic by Saffron Art

According to a piece in Economic Times“Miranda based her on many of the secretaries he had seen and heard about from his friends in the advertising industry: ‘Pretty secretaries, the Bandra girls,’ Miranda told the writer Ravi Balakrishnan. Ms Fonseca who was never given a first name had to work hard to win the affections of readers, though.” Balakrisnan adds, “Ms Fonseca was among the original comic strip sex bombs in India.”  Miranda is known to have laughed at the various impressions of Ms Fonseca by his readers and is quoted saying “People thought I made Ms Fonseca too buxom.

When it wasn’t the workplace, it was the busy streets and villages of Goa, which yet remain his most popular work and a signature style. Voluptuous women would be pouting in dark outfits, their black hair well kept in a blunt. Often they’d be represented as working in the village (complete in their floral skirts or dots) and sometimes as objects of desire that were ogled at by potbellied bald men. These were the denizens of the Goan artist’s whimsical murals.

Mario Miranda and Women
Mario Miranda and Women Pic by MarioMiranda.com

When it was Goan scene, it would have traditionally-clad fisherwomen, in the din of the party sharing a canvas with gentlemen in chic tuxedos. When Miranda passed away in 2011, Amul’s advertisement also remembered him through the female characters he created.

Amul Ad on Mario's Death
Amul Ad on Mario’s Death

 

Padma Vibhushan Mario João Carlos do Rosario de Brito Miranda was born on 2nd May 1926. What better way to celebrate his birthday than with a most iconic character he created. A woman who imbibed, reflected and communicated the rising India challenged by its gender biases, community quirks and jugaad of all kinds.