Legendary cartoonist Padma Vibhushan R K Laxman declined the honour of attending the poster launch of the movie Lahore to be released on March 19 in India, because of what he says is, “the disturbing and shoddy treatment” meted out to him.
Laxman, who is partially paralysed following a stroke some years earlier, had designed the movie poster about four years ago.
Sunil Sharma of Sai Om Films contacted Laxman’s daughter-in-law Usha as they wanted him to be guest of honour at the poster launch on March 9. Usha said, “Sunil repeatedly changed the dates of the Mumbai launch. That meant I had to keep switching dates about bringing my father-in-law to the city and arrange accommodation for him.”
Laxman resides in Pune since the past two years. After days of yo-yoing between venues, Sunil requested Usha’s help in organising the launch function.
The poster launch in which R K Laxman was to be chief guest was finally fixed for Sunville Hall (Worli) on March 9. Usha says, “I went out of my way and fixed the venue because I know the Sunville owner, Zeba Mitha Kohli. I sent out invites to 40 of dad’s friends for the launch.”
Laxman came down from Pune for the function and Usha made arrangements for him to stay at a guesthouse in Carmichael Road. To her horror, Sai Om cancelled the venue once again on March 8 morning, saying the function would take place in Andheri.
Usha said, “I decided enough was enough, dad was not going to the launch. We have been strung along. A person who keeps changing his mind is not to be trusted.”
The family consensus is that it is a shame an artist of Laxman’s stature is treated this way. A couple of celebrities like Bharat Dhabolkar, Anjaan Srivastav (Wagle ki Duniya) and eminent neurologist Dr B S Singhal spent Tuesday (March 9) evening with Laxman at home. Laxman who has trouble speaking simply said, “I feel very bad. How else do you expect me to feel?” Laxman’s wife Kamala says, “I knew from the first day, these people spelt trouble. I did not want Laxman to get involved with the project.”