Arts & Entertainment

Colorful car designed by Mexican artist set to return to Indian streets

New Delhi, Jul 14 (efe-epa).- When Indian lawyer Ranjit Malhotra bought a car decorated by Mexican artist Senkoe a year ago, he hadn’t imagined that the colorful flowers and geometrical figures on its body could result in problems.

In a country where trucks and autorikshaws (tuk-tuks) proudly sport slogans, symbols and paintings, authorities in the northern state of Punjab decided that so much color on the originally white body of the car violated rules and refused to register the vehicle until a local court finally ruled in favor of Malhotra on Tuesday.

The lawyer had purchased the especially designed Ambassador – an iconic Indian car which has ferried prime ministers and government officials in the country for decades in the past – from a European diplomat in July 2019.

“Obviously, the main motivation was the art work,” Malhotra told EFE.

Senkoe, a street artist famous for his colorful murals full of geometric shapes, was tasked with decorating the vehicle, having undertaken similar projects on the quintessentially Indian auto-rikshaw in the past.

A tuk-tuk painted by him was adopted as an official vehicle by the Mexican Embassy in New Delhi in 2016 and attracted widespread media attention.

“The motor vehicle inspector gave verbal refusal for re-registration of the vehicle by stating that its original white color has been changed. But, (it was) without any legal justification and despite repeated requests,” Malhotra argued in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The ensuing administrative muddle continued for almost an year, until High Court judge Jaishree Thakur ordered the car to be registered on Tuesday.

In her ruling, the judge said that any person driving on the Grand Trunk Road – one of India’s oldest highways dating back to a road constructed by emperor Sher Shah Suri around 500 years ago – would easily see “slogans, quotations, colorful paint jobs done on the back/front of the trucks” that drive across the country.

After Thakur’s order, the Senkoe-designed Ambassador is all set to ply on Indian roads and possibly attract surprised looks and pique the curiosity of passersby. EFE-EPA


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