Mario Miranda store and gallery at Bandra shuts down

Jan 04, 2019, 07:41 IST | Hemal Ashar

With franchise owner saying it has become impossible to sustain the business, merchandise bearing drawings of city's iconic chronicler goes off the shelves

Mario Miranda store and gallery at Bandra shuts down
The Mario Miranda shop, Mario Gallery, that shut down in Bandra. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

It is farewell Miss Fonseca and bye-bye Bundaldass, as the legendary late cartoonist Mario Miranda's Mumbai store has downed shutters. The store, which opened towards the tail end of 2014, had a four-year run and closed down approximately one month ago."

It was located at the mouth of Linking Road on Bandra (W), very close to the well-known Shoppers' Stop. Fonseca, the buxom Anglo-Indian secretary was a famous Mario character. Bundaldass, the corrupt politician was another from the cartoonist's quirky character cast. Mumbai store-owner Shabana Chawla confirmed, "We closed one month ago. It was unfortunate that we had to shut shop, but we did not have the sales to carry on, and had trouble breaking even."

Inside the Mario Miranda store
Inside the Mario Miranda store

Chawla said that their rent was approximately Rs 1 lakh a month, "this is a ballpark figure" she clarified, which they used to pay to the landlord for this store. Before the full-fledged Mario Miranda store, "I used to own an art gallery in Andheri (Lokhandwala). At that time, I used to sell Mario merchandise from a corner of the gallery. Then we set up a full-fledged store at Linking Road. Maybe, the store needed more advertising as not that many people were aware of the location," finished Chawla.

In Pictures: Celebrating Mario Miranda's art

Store strength
Gerard da Cunha, curator of Mario Miranda's galleries in Goa, said from his office in Porvorim, "The Mumbai store has closed down but we have several stores in Goa and are selling Mario Miranda collectibles on our website too. The bulk of our sales are in stores all over Panaji, Margao, Porvorim and Calangute. I am quite happy with being in Goa and selling online."

Shabana Chawla
Shabana Chawla

Da Cunha, an architect by profession, said "The bulk of our sales comes from shops, with Mario collectibles like fridge magnets, tiles, figurines and t-shirts topping the list. We just opened a Mario Miranda store at the Goa airport and it is doing very well. I do believe that a Mario Miranda store will work in Mumbai, maybe it needs to be a bigger space than it was." The unsold inventory from the Mumbai store will be returned to Goa, da Cunha added.

Mumbai man
The house where the Mirandas live currently is their over 300-year-old mansion in Loutolim, Goa. Habiba, Mario's wife said over the phone, "It is sad that Mario Miranda has exited Mumbai. He was so much a Mumbai man. What he loved most about the big metropolis was its zany energy. He used to talk about Mumbai extremely fondly. I do hope a store opens in the city soon, though I am happy that there are so many Mario Miranda stores opening in Goa."

Gerard da Cunha with a Miranda figurine, the breadman
Gerard da Cunha with a Miranda figurine, the breadman

In 2011, when Miranda was alive, Habiba had spoken to this paper about how difficult it was for them to move out of Mumbai. She had said then, that they missed the buzz of the city, friends and the Mumbai social circuit they were part of there. The Marios lived in a flat in Colaba's Oyster Apartments, when they were in Mumbai.

Mario Miranda with wife Habiba
Mario Miranda with wife Habiba

Mario Miranda
Mário João Carlos do Rosário de Brito Miranda (May 2, 1926 – December 11, 2011) popularly known as Mario Miranda or Mario de Miranda, was a cartoonist and painter based in Loutolim, Goa. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1988 and the Padma Bhushan in 2002. Miranda was posthumously awarded the Padma Vibhushan, on April 4, 2012.

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