THE GOOD STUFF: Saurabh Turakhia’s celebrity portraits Lines change lives, says this HeartAtArt painter

The Good Stuff returns with what, for me, has been a labour of love and personal reward. Of inspiration and learnings from interacting with a passionate portraits-painter who has been persisting with his love for colours and the  black and white spaces. Who says his passion for painting has seen him through tough times, and who today nurtures his love for painting alongside his job as a content writer with a leading brand in the e-learning space. He was a journalist with online and print publications too, and his abiding passion, alongside every job, has been the painting of celebrity portraits — of people we recognize and instinctively, mentally reach out or respond to.


The Good Stuff: Celebrity portraits by Saurabh Turakhia

So, The Good Stuff on brings you celebrity portraits by young Saurabh Turakhia. Someone I had got to know more than a decade ago, while working at the same organization, as a thinking young journalist whom I admired for taking exceptional pride in being thorough, well-written, and middle-of-the-road even while working in a trade publication which, as most people know, is a genre that  sometimes must, you know, defer to gentle nudges from potential or actual clients. But that’s not germane to this story.

What is, is the fact that ever since 2008, at least, I’ve been seeing Saurabh post celebrity portraits online. And I’ve seen his skill grow. Poster art, black and white, water colors and more have brought recognizable faces to life in his own unique way.

So, presenting the work of a young writer-artist who loves painting ‘portraits’ in the informal style, with different mediums in colour and black and white.

Images: Saurabh Turakhia; Collage:

This simple, down to earth young man is working to take his work to a larger audience, get it awareness, and is active on his blog and Instagram account, where his portraits are well received. Saurabh’s gallery of portraits has also been used by the film Shreelancer, where 5 to 6 of his creations were used.



Saurabh, like so many people I know, is someone who has a great hobby, and has followed up on it. “I’ve taught art to a couple of interested students,” he says. “I taught them what I knew about portrait art, and while I make it clear I am not a professional, I am confident that I can impart my learning about replicating a face.”

Saurabh says he’s not a professional-level artist, but a respected publication like Hindustan Times; Brunch has used this portrait of Amitav Ghosh as an illustration for a story that you can read here.

So here’s the elevator intro to Saurabh Turakhia

In his own words: I am Saurabh Turakhia, a 39 year-young artist and writer living in Mumbai. I write and paint in my free time, and on weekends. I work as a content writer and have been a journalist with online and print media in the past.

Writing and painting are very strong passions for me. I have self-published my book of short stories, The Soul Connection.

I love to be busy with lines on paper- whether these lines tell a story or paint a face, lines, I believe, change lives

I like art, for it is a peaceful world and offers a lot of scope to be thoughtful, develop concentration, and make use of time productively.

Over the years, visiting old-paper marts for picking up magazines with good references has helped me treat reading and painting with respect.

And before we go on to a QnA with Saurabh, here’s what some of the film stars think of his talent.

Star-speak about Saurabh’s star portraits

Here are some Tweet grabs:

image-Star-speak about Saurabh's star portraits-mediabrief

A Q&A with Saurabh Turakhia

I spoke with Saurabh to find out more about his passion for celebrity portrait painting. Here’s what we discussed:

Do you consider yourself an artist?

image-Jackie-Shroff-Portrait--Saurabh-Turakhias-passion-for-celebrity-portraits-mediabriefThe term ‘artist’ can be used loosely. Though I am eager to be a full-fledged artist, as of now, my skills are restricted to replicating faces based on reference images.

Since how long have you been actively painting? Are you happy with the progress?

I have been actively pursuing art since over a decade now. While I am happy that there has been an improvement, I still have a long way to go before my work can claim to have finesse of a professional.

Is it a challenge to keep your passion alive while doing a full-time job?

Yes! It can be quite challenging, for the only motivation may just be the eagerness to serve your passion. I try to keep my passion alive by doing something related to it over the weekend.

Saurabh is passionate about his love for celebrit portrait painting. A day in the sun at Kala Ghoda in Mumbai with his paintings and prints is nothing for him. This beautiful pic was shot by MIDDAY photographer Atul Kamble, and led the paper’s excellent story on him which you can read here


Why Bollywood portraits?

The collection has some global personalities and people from other fields such as Nelson Mandela, David Beckham, Barack Obama, Charlie Chaplin, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Robin Williams. Any good closeup is a good reference for me to replicate. References of Bollywood personalities are easily available in film magazines at old paper marts.

I love to be busy with lines on paper- whether these lines tell a story or paint a face, lines, I believe, change lives

What do you like about portraiture?

The fact that although it is all about replicating, it can be quite challenging to get the likeness. Of course, when people recognise the personality, one gets a different kind of a joy.


What is unique about your collection?

My blog, has over 300 portraits of several personalities. It is arguably the most comprehensive Bollywood portraits blog. Someone looking at it holistically will find a lot of value in it for Bollywood comes alive on this blog. It features all major superstars from Raj Kapoor to Ranbir Kapoor, Dilip Kumar to Aamir Khan, Nutan to Kajol, Amjad Khan to Amrish Puri.


What drives you to continue painting?

At one level, the motivation is the Identity I have got of an artist. At another level, it is an activity that is peaceful and a kind of meditation. I release all my angst and drive into creating something that the world will acknowledge.

An early drawing – which Saurabh posted on 05 November 2008

Passion utilises your vulnerability as well as your ability positively. It adds substance to your life, and is a very genuine element of one’s life. It gives a very strong sense of purpose. I have seen my passion help me sail through tough times


Were you so passionate about art since childhood?

I was certainly inclined towards art but my connect with it turned intense around a little over a decade back. Back then I was dealing with an unfavourable situation and somehow I turned to sketching to vent out my angst, to rediscover my substance, to add another layer to my identity. I was clear I wasn’t ready for expensive indulgences and hence found it very easy to buy a drawing book (which now costs Rs 45 and can be used for over 20 good sketches), a Rs 5 pencil and good reference pictures. Over a period of time, art has turned into a serious passion for me and I remain dedicated to it.


Do you think something about your passion and the way you are going about it can inspire others?

That’s for others to decide but I have come across some friends and other people in social circle who seem to like how I have stuck to my passion through various phases in life despite other commitments. I certainly feel good that I have continued this journey for over a decade and am enthusiastic to serve my passion better.


Are there any favourites?

Initially there are favourites and somehow Amitabh on screen has been an influence. However as an artist grows he desires to make every portrait as good as the original reference.


Do you teach art?

I have taught art to a couple of interested students. I taught them what I knew about portrait art and while I make it clear I am not a professional, I am confident that I can impart my learning about replicating a face. I also take up portrait assignments and many people have got portraits of their loved ones done by me.


How do you think having a passion helps?

It helps a lot. It utilises your vulnerability as well as your ability positively. It is not like a corporate job where after a point many people treat it like a game following written and unwritten rules. Passion adds substance to your life and is a very genuine element of one’s life. It gives a very strong sense of purpose. I have seen my passion help me sail through tough times.


Where to from here?

The desire is to be a full-fledged artist, being able to do original work as well. I will have to work hard to get there.


To get in touch with Saurabh…

…to buy or commission portraits, write to him at saurabhturakhia [at] You can call him on +919892733839. You can follow him on Twitter too. His Instagram handle is SaurabhTurakhia.

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