Splendours of Royal Mysore -
The Untold Story of the Wodeyars


Book release in Chennai - 30th May 2008

The 'Skills Theatre' beside the Besant Nagar beach provided a perfect setting for the Chennai release of Vikram Sampath's 'Splendours of Royal Mysore: The Untold Story of the Wodeyars'. Luminaries from the city of Chennai - eminent dance couple the Dhananjayans, Smt. Prema Srinivasan of the TVS Family, Mr. Sadanand Menon, Karthik of the 'Evam' Theatre group, Smt. V. R. Devika and many others graced the occasion.

The evening began with a soulful invocation by young and talented vocalist Sikkil Gurucharan. His 'Siddhi Vinayakam' in Mohana Kalyani, composed by Muthaiah Bhagavathar set the note for the evening. The Chief Guests for the evening were actress and danseuse Dr. Smt. Vyjayanthimala Bali, historian and journalist Mr. S Muthaiah and Prof. S. Venkateswaran, former Vice Chancellor of BITS-Pilani and currently Professor Emeritus and Advisor to the institute.

Speaking after unveiling the book and watching a documentary film on the book and its contents, Dr. Vyjayanthimala commended the efforts of the young author and reminisced her own childhood association with Mysore. She also spoke of the many musicians and dancers of the royal court who were frequent visitors to her house in Mysore, and also read excerpts from the book which she found fascinating. Noteable among those were the references to the Mysore Iyengars (a community to which she too belongs) who acted as agents of the royal family against Tipu Sultan.

Mr. Muthaiah in his address, stressed on the importance of biographies as historical accounts and called upon people to start recording their own stories as valuable documents for the future generation. Prof Venkateswaran recalled his personal association with Vikram Sampath as a student in BITS-Pilani.

In his talk Vikram Sampath spoke about the political differences between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu from the times of yore, but what was interesting was that despite the political turmoil, culture was the binding factor. The borders were porous for artists, musicians, painters, dancers between erstwhile Mysore and Tanjore and the cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts ensured that the two states have such an interwoven culture. This is a trait that we must not sacrifice on the altar of political agendas and enemity, he stated. This was followed by a reading of select passages from the book by eminent theatre and television personalities T. M. Karthik and Anuradha Ananth. 

The evening ended with a mellifluous flute recital by Kalaimamani Sikkil Mala Chandrasekhar. She was accompanied by Shertalai R. Sivakumar on the violin and R. Shankaranarayanan on the mridangam. Opening with Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wodeyar's 'Sri Mahaganapatim Bhajeham' in Athana, Smt. Mala regaled the audience with "Amba Vani Nannu" in Keeravani of Muthaiah Bhagavathar and Mysore Vausdevcaharya's masterpiece Brochevarevarura in Khamas. She completed her recital with two peppy devaranamas of Purandara Dasa, the evergreen 'Thamboori Meetidava' and 'Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma.' The evening ended with discussions and musings about Mysore and its rich cultural ethos.



Splendours of Royal Mysore


Splendours of Royal Mysore nominated for Vodafone Crossword Book Award 2008.

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