B.V. Ramamurthy was a renowned cartoonist whose cartoons were published in newspapers across Karnataka.
Not only was B.V. Ramamurthy a good cartoonist, he also had a good knowledge of English and Kannada. His cartoons were published daily in major local newspapers like Deccan Herald, Prajavani, Mayura, and Sudha.
The tribulations of Mr. Citizen have been embraced by the readers of Karnataka for over 33 years. With his gentle wit, Mr. Murthy tries to bring out the problems and trials that a common man daily undergoes and also depicts ongoing political developments.
His Early Years and Education
He started sketching in his school days, and he was fondly called Murthy by his friends. He perfected the skills of drawing and caricaturing while in college, and finished his graduation from St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore. In the 1950s, his journalist friend ‘Kidi’ Sheshappa discovered Ramamurthy’s talent.
His Work and Mr. Citizen
Murthy started drawing in his friend’s paper and his talent was further encouraged by Philip Spratt of MysIndia and Photan Joseph of Deccan Herald. In 1958, he started the column ‘As You Like It’, a daily cartoon in which the main character was Mr.Citizen.
Through Mr. Citizen, Ramamurthy was extremely successful in subtly bringing out the many problems that a common man faces in his daily life. This provided him a stronger foothold for making readers chuckle.
Mr. Citizen was so popular with the readers that at one time when Mr. Citizen was depicted without his habitual Mysore Peta (a kind of a customary hat) and was seen with a bald head, the readers demanded that he put on the Mysore Peta back on. His oil colors and water colors were also a big draw.
He once drew a sketch of Jimmy Carter, the US President, titling it as the Grin of the Year and this cartoon drew international acclaim.
Awards and Acclaim
He was chosen for the Sandesha Award in 1998 (state level awards that are given in Karnataka). This award was given to Ramamurthy for his contribution to journalism as a cartoonist and for creating an iconic character through Mr. Citizen.
He was a great artist, and he was a cartoonist, painter, and quite involved in literature too. This outstanding artist died of cardiac arrest in Delhi when he was 70.
He was a great cartoonist who’ll forever be remembered for bringing a smile to the face of every reader in Karnataka, for decades, every morning.