Tribute to Rafi, in letter and spirit

Tributes - 25 Dec 2021

Singer’s name used nearly 4,000 times to sketch his smiling face

After paying memorable homage to legendary footballer Diego

Maradona and India’s first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Palakkad’s leaf artist has come up with an indelible tribute to another legend — Mohammed Rafi.

Rajendran Vadakkepadath has paid his artistic tribute to Rafi, whose divine voice continues to enthral millions of people across the world nearly half a century

after his death, on his 97th birthday that falls on December 24.

Rajendran used Rafi’s name nearly 4,000 times to sketch the singer’s smiling face on an A-3 sheet of paper. Rajendran chose Rafi

for the tribute as he “remains the singer of the millennium.” Rafi was voted the best singer of the millennium in 2001 by Hero Honda and Stardust magazine.

“Rafi saab is matchless in both singing and as a human being. God endowed him with a divine voice and the beauty of his songs is immeasurable,” said Rajendran.

It took dozens of painstaking hours for Rajendran to sketch Rafi with a black gel pen using nothing but his name. “Letter art is something that requires painstaking attention. As it is done with a gel pen, a single mistake can often ruin the entire art work,” said Rajendran after completing the portrait on the eve of Rafi’s 97th birthday.

Rajendran has sketched some celebrities in letter art, including Malayalam actor Tovino Thomas. He said he would honour requests from people who valued the art.

“It takes about 3,500 names for an average portrait on an A-4 size paper,” he said.

Mega work

He is more than halfway through in a letter-art mega work of Chittur Kavu, a project he started almost a year ago. “It will take a few more months to complete,” he said.

Rajendran is planning to make a letter art work on O.V. Vijayan’s magnum opus Khasakkinte Ithihasam, which will highlight Vijayan’s portrait.


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