The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Star Spot

A portrait of Clinton…

Shot Somneel into the spotlight not long ago. He managed to meet the ex-Pres during his trip to India, portrait in hand, getting an autograph to boot. But that is just the tip of the Class IX student’s achievements.

Painting’s the thing…

Chunky here likes to do best. Picked up the drawing board at two-and-a-half years and hasn’t put it down since. ‘Sir’ Gourango Bramha started him out with pastels, and is still with the 15-year-old now that he has moved on to clay modelling, oils and water. Started dabbling with portraits at age eight, now has a collection including those signed by Mother Teresa, Jyoti Basu, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Amir Khan, Pandit Ravi Shankar, cricketers Sachin, Sourav, Kumble, Srinath and Dravid.

Has the fundas, too…

Does the boy who completed his graduation in art from Rabindra Bharati last year, scoring over 85 per cent in all eight years. Now the Michelangelo devotee is planning a post-grad to set him up for a future in fine arts.

Every boy’s dream…

Was his too. The Narmada School student used to play cricket for six years, some of which was under the auspices of Cricket Association of Bengal, playing for the DKS Club. His dream was shattered three years ago when he underwent neurosurgery, and was prohibited to play any longer. But his fantasy of getting close to the Indian cricket team came true, thanks to his portraits.

One l’il master met another…

And Somneel insists that Sachin was the second best to meet (after Bill, of course, who promised to sponsor his higher studies abroad). But six meetings with Tendulkar proved his hero was all that he had hoped and more.

Bringing in the bucks…

Already, is the boy’s passion, with one of Somneel’s paintings selling for Rs 10,000. Having received offers from Archies, the two-time All India Camel Contest winner, with a total of 30 firsts to his credit, still dreams of getting signatures on his paintings of the Big B, Shah Rukh, Hrithik, Zakir Hussain, Amjad Ali Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Aparna Sen, Suchitra Sen, David Beckham, George Bush, Tony Blair and Queen Elizabeth.

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