Ever since his name was linked with Sachin Tendulkar's 'parting gift' from the Mumbai Cricket Association, Prafull Bhimraj Sawant's phone hasn't stopped ringing. The internationally acclaimed 34-year-old Nashik-based Sawant has been given the 'job' to prepare a painting that the MCA wants to give the Master Blaster, who will be playing his 200th and final Test match at the Wankhede Stadium between November 14-18.
On Monday, Sawant was caught by surprise when MCA officials called him to 'meet' an urgent request. The name of the 'client' rang a bell for sure. "Look I am not a die-hard cricket fan. Sachin Tendulkar is a famous name I know but ever since I was a kid, I have been painting all my life," Sawant said in an exclusive chat. Promptly, Sawant emailed 10 images of famous landscapes of the state to the MCA office. "Since Sachin is a Maharashtrian, it made sense to choose these," Sawant said.
Born in a family of painters, Sawant specializes in "realistic" paintings and his unique style in canvas and water colours has won him 17 international awards. "But this one is special. It's like the turning point in your life. Now that I am getting to know the magnitude of the moment, I just can't believe it. This has been like a dream and to present Tendulkar one my paintings is such a massive honour," the soft-spoken painter said.
Sawant has sent images of different landscapes of the state. One of them is the busy Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in the heart of the Mumbai. "There are also images of famous landmarks like the Phadnavis Wada and even the natural beauty of Panchgani. Now it is Sachin's choice. It's a work in process and once the confirmation comes, I will put the finishing touches. I have time to complete whichever painting he wants," Sawant said., adding: "I will surely be at the Wankhede to see him with my own eyes. That's going to be my biggest gift in life so far."
The MCA officials chose Sawant on MCA president Sharad Pawar's recommendation. "I have met him once during an exhibition in Mumbai in 2010. He was very impressed with my work and bought a few to encourage me. His daughter (Supriya Sule) had also bought a painting for her mother. But this request for Sachin has been the greatest honour," an excited Sawant said.
Tendulkar loves and appreciates paintings. The Prafull Sawant painting will be among a big collection of paintings from well-known artists at his home. Bengal-based Sanatan Dinda, who met Tendulkar in 2008, is also planning a "special" one to celebrate the maestro's swansong.