S.M Pandit's Mystical Creation

The great saint Sidappa Maharaj of Lachhan who was visiting Gulabarga in Karnataka blessed Panditji's mother Kalamma and said "Mother you will soon get a son, a jewel of a Son". Dr. S.M. Pandit, Panditji as he is fondly known as was born on March 25, 1916. Highly cultured and devout Pandit family soon realized that their son was blessed with extra-ordinary talent and skill of painting. At an early age of ten Panditji was sent under the guidance of Shri Shankar Rao Alandkar, the great painter from Karnataka and he later went on to complete his Diploma in Art from Madras (now Chennai) School of Art. He came to Mumbai and joined the Sir. J.J. School of Art. Panditji was greatly influenced by Capt. W.E. Gladstone Soleman, the then Director of Art, who was a Gold Medalist of Royal Academy, London. Panditji received his Diploma with distinction. He came under the spell of realistic classical painting.

 He was inundated with work from the commercial world of advertising and film publishing. His unique skill and love of graceful compositions coupled-with his mastery of the new medium of gouache, made film stars much more glamorous. His calendar pictures were printed and re-printed to adorn the walls of thousands of houses. Readers raved about the beauty of his cover designs of film magazines. He was awarded a medal at the International exhibition in Toronto in 1946 for one of his cover designs. Though Panditji has never had formal exhibitions of his paintings, he continued to create works of art. His inspiration was the only drive for him to paint.He was like humble Bhakta (Devotee); oblivious of what he has achieved. When he painted portraits he took possession of his subject. 

Panditji's attributes are many. His great contribution to fine art is the life size portrait of "Swami Vivekananda" at Kanyakumari. Then followed a number of paintings of Indian Leaders, these include the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi now at the New Council Hall, Mumbai. 

The exhibition of his mythological and portrait paintings in 1978 at the Ravi Shankar Hall and the Indian High Commission in London and Manchester won him great acclaims. He was also elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London (F.R.S.A.). During the Festival of India held in London, he painted portraits of Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, which are on permanent display in the Indian High Commission and commonwealth Institute in London.

His paintings are in collection with the Roman Art Gallery in New York, and many private and public collections in India and abroad.

Panditji was the founder member of the Commercial Artists guild, Mumbai. 

He was honoured by Karnataka State Lalit Kala Akademi in 1983 and in 1984 he was honored by the Karnataka State during the Karnataka Rajyautsava function, and he was conferred D. Lit from Gulbarga Universitys (Karnataka) in 1986.Panditji passed away in 1993.

view all articles