When Vitthalrao Buradkar decided to make a profession out of his art, he had no idea what it would become. 50 years later, the Buradkar family boasts of a family tradition, which made a name for itself amongst some of the biggest households in India and abroad. A group of artists, the Buradkars along with their craftsmen, sculptors, and other creative & contemporary artists, work under the name of Mangal Sudha.
We sat down with the Managing Director of Mangal Sudha, Mr. Manish Sudhakar Buradkar, who, along with his family has kept the tradition alive in this flourishing business.
What is Mangal Sudha about?
Mangal Sudha is a 50-year old family run business started in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, not by the same name of course. At the time, our family was famous by the name of Buradkar Mandap Decoration. Our business would flourish during the festival of Navratri, when Ganesha statues were made in bulk. We would provide alternative solutions to clients, which was or USP at that time. People would ask for marble, but we would suggest them cement statues, which were relatively cheaper and sturdier. Today we mainly manufacture traditional Indian artifacts, using many different materials. But we haven’t lost touch with our roots or tradition.
Apart from India, how many countries have you provided services to?
We have clients from Dubai and Malaysia who come for our traditional artifacts and sculptures. Apart from that we provide services to wherever the order comes from. We are open to clients from all over the world who have an appreciation for this art. Our main aim is to introduce the world of Indian culture to its very core.
What kind of artwork does Mangal Sudha make?
We used to specialise in set design, pandal decoration and of course, artifacts manufacturing, way back in the 90’s. Today, to keep up with the current generation, we have branched out into many more areas. Presently we make traditional statues, idols and paintings of Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva & Shivaji Maharaj to name a few. We are also into interior and exterior design, murals, sculptures, precast, contemporary and abstract designs. Our products aim at generating less waste and lasting longer.
What are the top projects that Mangal Sudha has done till now?
Apart from our bulk orders every year during the time of Navratri, we have also been responsible for the beautification of the reception at Nagpur Airport, interior and exterior designing of DSK Bungalow in Pune and have also provided services to Le Meridian and Sheraton Grand. These three were major projects to our credit.
Some of the Art Works done by Mangal Sudha
If someone wants to order some of your artwork, how can they do it?
We have a portal which goes by the name of Mangal Sudha that went live last year. People can view and order products from there. Apart from that we have developed an app that can be downloaded both from the Play Store and App Store. People can also place orders over the phone.
What all are the risks in this industry? What are the challenges you faced since you started till today?
When we came to Pune, we were just people who knew of an art and were starting out, new in a big city, so it was difficult to make a name for ourselves amongst established artists. There was a need for space to establish a business like ours, and also to protect our products from the weather. So that was initially a major issue. Once we overcame that, a new problem arose. Our designs would be duplicated and credit would go to established businesses. Finding work and ensuring originality became difficult because developing trust among customers took the time. The recent onslaught of GST has also posed a problem for businesses like ours. We aren’t a department store where customers are regular. With a 12% GST applied to our artwork, we receive relatively less yet personalised work at the cost of more taxes.
How many Eco-friendly campaigns have you organised around Pune?
We have organised two of these campaigns already. It started out small. Only about 50 people helped out then. Over time, more and more people have connected to the campaign and the count of supporters has now reached over 200. Supported by the Rotary club & Hirali foundation of Mumbai, the aim of this campaign is to lessen the quantity of solid waste generated by statues and decoration during festivities every year, which can reach up to 2000 ton. This resulted in the birth of One Tree One Ganesha campaign. Customers would be encouraged to buy Green Ganesha, and those who did would get a sapling for free. Apart from that, we make our Visarjan statues from the soil of the river bed, ensuring that the material goes back to the source, hence causing no harm to the environment.
From where do you curate designs? How do you ensure you keep up with the changing preferences of people in accordance with the changing times?
We always try and offer something new to our customers. The products that are made are based on what the client wants, where the product will be placed and what suits the surroundings. Discussions are held within our group before starting out on something new. Designs are curated by our in house artists who understand the client’s likes and dislikes before designing anything. The more we create designs on our own, the truer we stay with our roots. Improvisation is the key to keeping our designs fresh.
What are your best selling work/products?
We are known mostly for our murals and statues of Shivaji Maharaj, where clients want the mural to be as different as possible from the rest of our design. Shivaji Maharaj riding a horse or walking with his men is very common. With the new trend of placing things on the table, we make sure that Shivaji Maharaj is always doing something new in each mural/statue, while catering to the interests of our clients.
What are your future plans for Mangal Sudha?
Combining the efforts of artists from around the country to bring about progress in the field of art is the need of the hour. The more support our industry gets, the more we will flourish. Every other field of work has a research organisation for its development and consistency, but not art. We are working towards the establishment of a research & a training institute for art, something which has been long neglected. We are also branching out into newer materials and technologies, with GFRC (Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete) as our newest venture.
Anything else you’d like to add as we wrap up the interview.
I hope that our small effort encourages others to pick up Indian art and help it grow strong. The more we collaborate with artists abroad and adopt their skills and technologies to showcase our art to the world, the more beneficial it will be for craftsmen like us and Indian culture at large.
Buradkar’s who creates or gives creative expression to, or re-creates works of art, who considers his artistic creation to be an essential part of his life, who contributes in this way to the development of art and culture and who is or asks to be recognised as an artist.
We wish them Godspeed!
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