Bharani Art Gallery Chief Convenor N.B. Kaverappa (extreme left) seen with Sri Jamunagiri Swamy of Cave Shiva Temple near Nandi atop Chamundi Hill, artists Linta Vuorikkinen (Finland), Kate Maconachie (Australia) and Pirkko Huttunen-Nieminen (Finland).
Mysore, Oct. 24 (KK&KMC):
People from abroad are being attracted to ancient Vedic art forms of India and are taking up rese-arch works to trace their origin.
One such effort is made by a team of three women artists — two from Finland and one from Australia — who have expressed their understanding of Vedic Art through some 43 paintings that are displayed at the Bharani Art Gallery at Vivekanandanagar (near Circle) in city. The art exhibition tittled ‘Returning to Source’ depicting ancient vedic traditions and mother nature, was inaugurated by Prof. K.C. Belliappa, former Vice-Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi University yesterday. Chief Convenor of the Art Gallery N.B. Kaverappa was present.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Belliappa termed the event as a historic one as the paintings were based on ancient vedic knowledge. “It is an irony that people from abroad are taking interest in our ancient culture and teaching us about it,” he said and opined that one should be self-motivated to appreciate art forms and their values.
Curt Kallman, an artist in Sweden developed and nurtured vedic art painting method for over 30 years. At present, this art is being taught in 12 countries. Since vedic art is not popular in India, all the three foreign artists Pirkko Huttunen-Nieminen, Kate Maconachie and Linta Vuori-kkinen, who have been teaching vedic art, are in the city to educate and propagate the art.
Kaverappa, addressing the gathering, said that the exhibition will be open till Oct. 30 from 11 am to 7 pm. This the artists’ second exhibition in India, after Calicut, he said.
Veteran artist L. Shivalingappa also spoke on the occasion.
Mystic presence of vedic art paintings
Mysore, Oct. 24 (KK&KMC):
The three women artists specialising in Vedic Art are basically art teachers who have been together since the past decade.
One among them, Pirkko Huttunen Nieminen of Finland, aged 65 years, told SOM that she had learnt the art from Curt Kallman of Australia 10 years ago. “It has changed my life itself. The Vedic Art has a mystic presence, deep silence that is pregnant with meaning, which I have tried to give a shape in the form of paintings,” she said.
Artists Kate Maconachie of Australia and Linta Vuorikkinen of Finland are also said to have learnt the art form from Curt Kallman, who is indulged in the art since the past 30 years.
source for both: http://www.starofmysore.com / General News / October 24th, 2011
MLC C.H. Vijayashankar presenting Karnataka Choodamani award to former Minister B.T. Lalitha Nayak at a function in city yesterday. Others seen are District Kannada Sahitya Parishat President Maddikere Gopal, poet Jaraganahalli Shivashankar, poetess Latha Rajashekar and KSRTC Divisional Controller M.N. Srinivas.
Mysore, Oct. 24 (MTY&RNN)
Former Minister B.T. Lalitha Nayak was yesterday conferred Karnataka Choodamani award given by Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation’s Central Kannada Working Committee for outstanding services to Kannada land and culture.
Conferring the award at a colourful function organised at Rajendra Bhavan on Ramanuja Road in city, MLC C.H. Vijayashankar lauded the services rendered by Lalitha Nayak, who had overcome shortcomings of being a dalit besides being a woman to render yeomen services to Kannada culture.
Till recently, it was difficult for people of backward community, especially women, to get education, he said and added that Lalitha Nayak had successfully confronted those problems and excelled in contributing to the society which in itself was a great achievement.
Replying to the felicitation, the Karnataka Choodamani Lalitha Nayak said that the difficulties and atrocities faced by tribal women forced her to take to writing and used an incident of a husband harassing his wife as an epicentre for her novel.
Lalitha Nayak said that she was allegedly removed as Minister of Kannada and Culture for not arranging for party funds. She said that she was informed later that her successor collected Rs. 20 lakh from officials for party fund.
She expressed happiness that the incident saved her from being branded as corrupt which could even have resulted in her going to jail.
Earlier, Lalitha Nayak was brought to the venue from Gun House Circle on a decorated vehicle in a grand procession, which was accompanied by various cultural artistes
http://www.starofmysore.com / General News / October 24th, 2011
Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology Director Dr. C.N. Manjunath releasing the book ‘I Salute You Sir’ at The Paradise in Yadavagiri on Sunday. Andolana Editor Rajashekar Koti, former Assembly Speaker Krishna and author of the book Dr. Basappa are seen.
Mysore, Oct. 25 (KCU)
– A book on the history of phamaceutical science ‘I Salute You Sir,’ which also throws light on the effort of scientists in discovering medicines, written by Dr. Basappa, Consultant Doctor at Apollo BGS Hospital, was released at The Paradise hotel in Yadavagiri on Sunday by Dr. C.N. Manjunath, Director, Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology, Bangalore.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Manjunath lauded Dr. Basappa for throwing light on the invaluable service of scientists to society and pointed out that the book would motivate doctors and medical students to pursue research in medicine.
Andolana Editor Rajashekar Koti, who unveiled a portrait of Louis Pasteur, opined that medical profession was truly dedicated to society and suggested to publish the book in Kannada also.
Presiding over the programme, former Assembly Speaker Kris-hna pointed out that scientists toiled almost their whole lives pursuing research in medicine at the cost of their personal comforts. Contrary to that, a few doctors were more engrossed in making money with no humanity, he regretted.
Dr. Basappa observed that se-veral scientists had entered into deep depression and ended their lives while being deeply engrossed in research work foregoing social life. He pointed out that his book showcased the usage of scientist’s invaluable inventions in society and the struggle and sacrifice behind that.
Dr. Lakshman welcomed. Arun proposed a vote of thanks.
source: http://www.starofmysore.com / General News / October 25th, 2011
Archana presenting a music concert accompanied by M.A. Jyothi on Violin and A. Radhesh on Mrudanga.
L Archana, an upcoming young vocalist, is the daughter of vocalist and Guru Koviladi Kala. She is an accountant by profession, working in Infosys, Bengaluru. Kala hails from a family of musicians from Srirangam, Tamil Nadu. She has migrated to Mysore after her marriage. Since then Kala is a permanent sight in the music circle of Mysore.
Trained under the able hands of a music guru like Kala, Archa-na has blossomed into a fine singer. Added to that, she has developed a cultivated Manodharma through hard work and a keen sense for Sahitya. These two factors contribute a lot in the making of a singer.
Archana was on the dais of Veene Seshanna Bhavana of Ganabharathi during their monthly concerts on Oct. 15. She was accompanied by M.A. Jyothi on Violin and A. Radhesh on the Mrudanga. She began her concert with the popular Shaha-na Varna Karunimpa of Tiruvotriyur Tyagayyar. It was surprisingly suffixed with a Swara, which no one expects from a young singer but nevertheless gave an impetus to her concert. This was followed by another popular Tamil oblation to Ganesha Gajavadana Karuna Sadana (Sriranjini-Adi-Papanasham Shivan).
Immediately she took up a not so brief Alapane of Saveri with one more popular Kruti Shankari Shamkuru Chandramukhi of Shama Shastri set to Adi Tala. Saveri is a prominent Audhava Sampurna raga, derived from 15 Maya Malava Gowla, which evokes Karuna Rasa. Selection of Saveri gave a soothing feeling. The singer took up a Neraval at Shama Krishna Sodari Shya-male Shatodari. Normally this raga is rendered in Vilamba Kala. If the pace becomes any thing slower than the raga permits, it will put the audience to sleep.
Once again there was a not so brief Alapane in Gowri Manohari Raga. Tyagaraja’s Guruleka Etuvanti Guniki was the Madhyama Kala composition chosen. Archana suffixed it with a neat and brief Swara. A rare and interesting raga, Nasika Bhushini, a Prati Madhyama Janaka Raga with number 70, is known as Nasamani in the Dikshitar Sampradaya. It is a minor Mela Kartha Raga with very few compositions. But one has to be very careful while rendering this raga as any minor change in the frequency of Nishadha may tend this Raga into Kosala. Archana chose Sri Rama Saraswati in this raga, by Muthuswamy Dikshitar.
It was time for the Main raga to be taken up. But before that, Archana sang a Purandara Dasa Devara Nama Nanda Tanaya Govindana Bhajipudu in Bhim-palas. Shankarabharana was the main raga of the evening. The Raga image was poignantly projected in the Alapane as the approach had a well rehearsed effort. This was evident when she attempted successfully a Grahabheda (Thodi, the Murchana with Adhara Shadja as Gandhara). It requires certain amount of confidence to do so. The Alapane neatly done, the Kruti Swara Raga Sudha Rasayuta of Tyagaraja was rendered in the traditional Tanjore style with some sangathis evolved by the great Nadaswara Vidvans of that region. The Anu Pallavi line Pramanandamane was taken up for a methodical extrapolation of Neraval, with imaginative Swara Kalpane.
The tail enders after the main raga were Kurai Onru Illai (Raga-malike-Adi-Rajaji), Pannagadhipati (Yamana-Adi-Purandara Dasa) and Elliruve Tande Baaro of Sheshagiri Dasaru in Behag. The first one by Rajaji was on the request of a listener.
Archana was well supported by the accompanists and Radhesh displayed some rare strokes in his Mrudanga in his term of Tani Avartana.
source: http://www.starofmysore.com / Feature Articles/ by S. R. Krishna Murthy
Caption: Dr. R. Chandavar Vidya explaining a painting at her expo to the guests Mysore Varsity ex-VC Prof. S.N. Hegde, Andolana Editor Rajashekar Koti, CAVA faculty D.A. Upadhya and others.
‘Colors,’ a maiden painting exhibition by Dr. R. Chandavar Vidya, was inaugurated by Mysore Varsity former Vice-Chancellor Prof. S.N. Hegde at Suchitra Art Gallery in Kalamandira premises in city yesterday.
Andolana Editor Rajashekar Koti and D.A. Upadhya, member of faculty, Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts, were present on the occasion.
A native of Uttara Kannada, Dr. Chandavar has been working at the Zoology Department at Yuvaraja’s College since 1996 and is presently an Associate Professor. She completed her Post Graduation in Zoology from Bangalore University and was awarded the Ph.D degree in Endocrinology from Mysore University.
“I started painting around 25 years ago when a friend of mine forced me to join art classes with her. While my friend discontinued after a few days, my painting journey started from there,” says Dr. Chandavar.
The expo includes oil and acrylic painting. “I like paintings which play with light and shadow. Portraits are my favourite” she adds.
Even with no professional training, her paintings are realistic and takes the viewers to a different world.
The exhibition will be open from 11 am to 7 pm till Oct. 31.
source: http://www.starofmysore.com / General News / October 30th, 2011
A twin pack CD containing the compositions of H. Yoga Narasimham and a website about him were released on Oct. 16 at Rotary West audito-rium, in a function presided over by Dr. Padma Murthy who also released the CDs. Dr. Sukanya Prabhakar, who was present, spoke about the CDs and Dr. Mysore M. Manjunath released the website.
Mysore is a true cultural capital even from the days of Maharajas, who gave all-out support to fine arts like music, dance, drama, sculpture, painting etc. This was the main reason for many musicians of repute making this city as their home town. Many of them were composers too, like Veene Sheshanna, Mysore Sadashiva Rao, Mysore Vasudevacharya, Piteelu T. Chowdaiah, Muthaiah Bhagavatar to quote a few. One such composer was H. Yoga Narasimham (1897-1971), who pursued music throughout his life.
Yoga Narasimham was the youngest among the four children born to Narasappa and Lakshmidevamma and grew up in an atmosphere charged with music in the Palace and elsewhere. He was outstanding even in his academics. He had passed his BA exam with a gold medal in all the three subjects Sanskrit, English and Philosophy, in Maharaja’s College. He also completed his MA in Sanskrit from Mysore University.
He joined the Govt. of Mysore as Inspector of Schools under the Department of Schools and became the Principal of Sanskrit Maha Pathashala (Sanskrit College), Mysore. He retired as a District Education Officer, under Nalwadi Krishna Raja Wadiyar’s Royal Mysore Government.
His musical journey began at his home and the navigators were his mother, brothers and sisters. He also learnt a lot by listening to the great masters of the day. He became a disciple of Mysore Vasudevachar and was an ardent student of the legendary musician for seven years from 1928 to 1935. But their association continued for nearly four decades.
This made him a musician, composer, musicologist, critic, an author and editor of repute of musical works. But his composing ability came to the fore at the end of his life. He has composed only about 38 krutis, including Swara Jatis, Varnas, Krutis, Ragamalike, Padas, Javalis and Tillanas.
His compositions are in Sanskrit, Kannada and Telugu. They are a set of refined literary work of impeccable taste, and evolved with high musical acumen. Bharata Ratna M.S. Subbu Lakshmi sang and recorded some of his compositions in a cassette tape in 1986, which made the music fraternity to take notice of his krutis. She used to sing one his krutis in her concerts also and the most popular one was Sada Saranga Nayane in Raga Ranjini.
In spite of all this, the memory of music fraternity is short and his krutis would have gone to oblivion. Therefore, his daughter Neeraja Achuta Rao, a vocalist in her own virtue, her daughter M.A. Jyothi, a vocalist and violinist, brothers and sister of Neeraja took it upon themselves to preserve his krutis for the future and published them in a website www.devagitam.in. They also recorded 18 of krutis in two CDs. The website and CDs have been aptly named as Devagitam, as his Ankita (signature) was ‘Deva.’
The first CD contains ten krutis, Sundara Deva, a varna in Hin-dhola, Ekadantham Upasmahe (Begade-Adi), Kovaa Raago (Valachi-Mishra Jhampe), Sujana Charitam (Mukhari-Adi), Kaapaadade Nepa Hooduvee (Gagana Mohini-Adi), Nada Vara Sushobhitam (Nadavarangini-Khanda Triputa), Chandra Shekhara Guruvaram (Kamavardhini-Adi), More Ittarenu Idadiddarenu (Revathi-Khanda Chapu), Tillana (Abhogi-Khanda Triputa) and a Mangala Narasimhaya Mangalam (Madhyamavathi-Adi).
In the first CD, three krutis are sung by Neeraja and one solo is by Jyothi. The rest are sung by the duo. The two ragas in the above, Gagana Mohini and Nadavarangini are relatively new ones. The first one has a mention in the scripts and this is the only kruti available. The second one is a creation of Narasimham. Gagana Mohini has an Arohana Scale resembling Valachi and Avarohana resembling Amrutha Varshini. It is an Audhava Audhava Raga. The dominance of Kaishiki Nishadha in Arohana and Kakali Nishadha in Avarohana gives the raga its colour, but confuses as to which Janaka Raga it belongs. It can be said 64 Vachaspathi as its Janaka Raga. The other Raga Nadavarangini, a creation of the composer, is a Janya of 22 Kharahara Priya.
The second CD contains eight krutis, namely Kamala Mano Mohana, a Varna in Mohana set to Adi Tala, Shaanti Rupasyatam (Latantapriya-Adi), Sadaa Saaranga Nayane (Ranjini-Adi), Ninnu Minchina (Kolahala-Mishra Chapu), Saphalam Jeevitam (Kuntala Kusumavali-Adi), Hemateera (Kamboji-Khanda Triputa), Tillana (Kalyani-Adi) and Jaya Jaya Bharata (Ragamalike-Adi).
Jyoti has rendered seven krutis and the last one by Sahana Doravari, daughter of Jyoti and Arpita Somayaji, a student of Neeraja. Three Ragas Latantapriya, Kolahala and Kuntala Kusumavali are very rare Ragas. The first one Latantapriya is an Audhava Audhava Raga, a Janya of no. 1 Kanakangi. Most probably this is the only Kruti available in this Raga.
The second one Kolahala is a Vakra Shadhava Sampurna Raga, a Janya of 29 Shankarabharana. There are only three krutis available in this Raga, Madilona Jeevitham of Tyagaraja, Neerajaksha Maam Paahi of C. Rangaiah and the present one. It is heartening to see that the last two composers are from Mysore. The third one Kuntala Kusumavali is another Vakra Audhava Vakra Shadhava raga, a Janya of 65 Kalyani. Once again this may be the only composition available in this raga, as far as my knowledge goes.
The last Kruti is in Ragamalike (Madhyamavathi, Shuddha Dhanyasi, Mohana and Bilahari). It is a patriotic song, in praise of our National Flag and it has been rendered as group song. In both CDs, Charulatha Ramanujan and H.S. Sudheendra have accompanied on the violin and mrudanga respectively.
Most of the krutis are sung to showcase the wisdom of the composer in creating the Sahitya and its adaptation to a Raga. Neeraja Achuta Rao, the elderly lady, has retained the ability to sing. Jyoti is not only a vocalist, but also a violinist. Therefore she has imbibed many styles and has formed her own style of singing. She has rendered the compositions of her grandfather which was already set to tune. But her ability comes to fore when Manodharma can be used, like in Gagana Mohini, Kamavardhini, (both in first CD), Ranjini, Kamboji (both in second CD) where Alapane, Neraval and Swara Prasthara have been rendered.
The CDs have successfully brought out the beauty of the compositions written by Yoga Narasimham, who lived till the later half of the past century and many in my age group have seen and interacted with him. The listener is introduced to many new Ragas and rare ragas as well, in these CDs.
They also give good listening pleasure especially in Kamavardhini, Kamboji etc. Charulatha Ramanujam on violin and H.S. Sudheendra on mrudanga have given able support to the artistes. The digital recording of the CDs is neatly done by Resonators of Mysore. The set of two CDs is priced at Rs. 200.
A vocal concert by M.A. Jyothi, containing the compositions of Yoga Narasimham, had been organised at the end of the stage programme. She was accompanied by Adithi Krishna Prasad (violin), H.L. Shivashankara Swamy (mrudanga and S. Manjunath (ghata). The compositions she sang included five krutis from the CDs and two others.
The varna Kamala Mano Mohana (Mohana-Adi-CD 2), Sujana Charita Avadharaya Chitta (Mukhari-Adi-CD 1) and Kapadade Nepahooduve (Gagana Mohini-Adi-CD 1), were all replicas from the CDs.
Hema Teeradali (Kambodhi-Khanda Triputa-CD 2) was taken up elaborately with an Alapane of Kambodhi, which was followed on the violin neatly by Adithi. She took up a Neraval at the Anu Pallavi line Vamaanga Aalangita Padmalaya Priya Me Kalaya where her Manodharma was in fore, followed by Swara.
The next one was Nijada Nija Neenanate (Bhanu Dhanyasi-Khanda Chapu), a newly created raga, an offshoot of 45 Shubha Pantuvarali, with a limited Nishaadaantya Sanchara (S R G M N D N – D P M G R S N S). It has 5 single line Charanas. All the Charanas are sung the same way as the Pallavi line. Shubha Pantuvarali is a raga which evokes pathos. Therefore the effect is a little weary, as there is no variation and the repetition is also quick.
The concert concluded with a Tillana in Kalyani (CD 2) and a Mangala in Madhyamavathi (CD 1), composed on Lord Narasimha installed on the banks of River Hemavathi near Holenarasipur.
source: http://www.starofmysore.com / Feature articles / by S.R. Krishnamurthy
October 30th, 2011Business & Economy
1) Some of the honey, jams and sauces produced by Nectar Fresh. 2) Chayaa Nanjappa with business partner Rajappa at Ahaar expo in Chennai. 3) The entire processing unit consisting of a container to feed honey to the settling unit.
They say ‘fruit of hard work is sweet’ and in this case it is metaphorically and literally sweet. Shall we call this a success story of a lone lady who made it big in the small scale industries sector or the growth of a brand which has today become one of the leading names in the field of honey? It is difficult to describe one without the other as this is the story of a lady who started a honey brand from scratch which has grown to great heights over the years. In this Weekend Star Supplement, SOM introduces its readers to this lady who says ‘If I could make it, then any other lady can
’ A flavour for every season
Nectar Fresh was launched by Chayaa Nanjappa in 2007 at Bangalore and was backed by Khadi and Village Industries Board. Born on June 20, 1971 at Kodagu, Chayaa says, “I had a gut feeling and wanted to do something connected with my hometown. That instant I knew I wanted to start honey manufacturing and wanted to name it as Nectar Fresh.”
“The plant was doing well in Bangalore but due to some circumstances we had to relocate to Mysore in 2010.
Initially people said that Mysore is a small town and is not feasible for such businesses. But for me Mysore has been a lucky mascot. Most of the major deals were struck after we shifted here,” she says.
The plant was relocated to Kadakola near Mandakalli Airport when Chayaa partnered with Rajappa of MyStore.
Speaking about Nectar Fresh, Chayaa says, “We are one among the top 5 honey manufactures in India and are the only ones who are manufacturing different varieties of honey. Usually the Khadi and Village Board products are not considered as product for the high end markets. But today we have replaced international brands in hospitality sector under the Board. We have used their logo in our brand because it is the Board which has supported us. Also, there is a notion that business is only for the elite class who come from the same background or have the educational qualification for it. But we have proved this wrong. Anyone can do it if they have the survival instinct. Today we employ around 50 persons all over the country and around 20 in our Mysore plant.”
Chayaa, a PG Diploma holder in Mass Communication, underwent specialised training at Central Bee Research and Training Institute, Pune. She is also a member of the National Bee Board and is the first lady to have a honey processing plant in the country.
The company has its mobile vans placed near the fields across India. Hence they are the only producers of a variety of honey in the country. They are also the first brand to launch honey blisters.
“Every month we have different varieties of honey according to the flowering season. This month it is acacia, clover and Himalayan honey,” says Chayaa, adding that lychee honey has the greatest demand.
Although Nectar Fresh has a wide network, it’s manufacturing unit is only at Mysore. The unit produces around 1,000 tonnes a day and is planning to increase it to 4,000 tonnes by procuring more equipment.
Processing plant: First, the honey is loaded into the container. This honey undergoes around 30 microns of filtration. It later undergoes moisture reduction and then again 2 microns of filtration. It is then cooled and sent to settling tanks. This will later be filled in containers and packed.
The brand has also started dealing with jams and sauces to help sick women groups. It aims to provide them with the technical knowhow and quality assurance and in turn market their produce thereby giving them a channel to avoid middlemen.
The processed honey is tested for quality at Pristine Laboratories, Bangalore and also at the units’s in-house laboratory.
Nectar Fresh is known for its varieties in honey which include Coorg honey, rapeseed/mustard, eucalyptus, lychee, sunflower, Himalayan, acacia, clover, south Indian etc.
Market and export
Nectar Fresh today exports its produce to the Middle East, Malaysia and Australia. They will be looking forward to capture the US and European markets very soon.
The brand has replaced top international brands in India and today has a monopoly with the five star hotels.
“Previously we were not keen on our own private labeling and would supply in bulk and to the hospitality sector. But now we are entering the retail market also. We are the major suppliers to the Honey Society and are vendors for DFRL in city. Apart from this, ITC, Kerala Ayurveda, Taj group of hotels, Apollo etc., bottle their products here,” says Chayaa.
Mission beyond market
With an aim to be a leader in their business in India, Nectar Fresh is also seeing to offer its service beyond market. Apart from helping women with jams and sauces, they have empowered the locals around Kadakola region by providing them training and employment. They are also backing tribals by sourcing honey from the Sirsi belt.
The company is also associated with various charitable organisations helping girl child and Chayaa herself is a member of many women organisations in the country.
When asked about their major competitors in the market, Chayaa said “We have replaced many international brands including Australia’s Beerenberg Farm. In India, our major competitors are Kashmir Apiaries and Kejriwal Enterprises.”
The company will soon be launching honey pouches with an aim to make honey available to even the lowest section of the society. The pouches are being prepared with the help of CFTRI. They will also be launching premixes of coffee and tea. The mix, which comes with milk, sugar and coffee/tea powder, can be prepared by just adding to a cup of water. With this the company plans to rule the Indian market and introduce Mysore and Kodagu to international customers.
Work hard and believe in yourself
I am not a feminist. But I support those women who work hard to stand on their feet. Most of the time, laws favouring women are abused and the most genuine cases do not have the privilege to use it. Hence, through our brand we intend to empower such women.
“Believe in yourself and have that never-let-go attitude. The success you achieve through this will give you a lot of self-respect rather than finding easy ways of making money.
“I have faced many hardships while coming this far. As a single woman, it was initially difficult for me to survive in this field. But that did not discourage me. With help from Corporation Bank, the government and of course from my business partner, now sky is the limit for Nectar Fresh. If I was able to achieve so much, then any woman can.”
source: http://www.starofmysore.com / Feature Articles / October 29th, 2011
Shree Bose, an Indian-origin US-based high school girl, won an award for her research on why a certain drug was resistant to chemotherapy and for finding a solution for it. Remember it was a research done by a high school girl. This was her dedication towards it. When you have dedication, you can go from nothing to something and from something to everything.”
This is how Sahasramukhi Raghavendra Rao (popularly called as Ragi Rao) describes his life. A high school graduate, who worked as a stenographer at the University of Mysore (UoM), went on to become a much-sought-after expressionist in India and abroad. He has been a dramatist, a marriage and party photographer, a percussionist and today, with all his past experience, he is teaching people how to handle stress by altering expressions of past experience.
Ragi Rao is in city on vacation and had a chat with Star of Mysore during which he spoke about his different faces, on and off stage.
It all started with Oliver Hardy Born on Nov. 23, 1937, Ragi Rao worked at University of Mysore (UoM) from 1958 to 1978. His life took a different turn in 1970s. “Apart from my job, I was also a dramatist. But one day while I was shaving, I was twisting my face and at one point it resembled that of Oliver Hardy. With practice and change of expression, I was able to alter that face into Adolf Hitler and Charlie Chaplin. I started entertaining people with this new-found talent and within two years came to limelight. The UoM recognised my talent and granted leave of absence for eight years. I started travelling across the country and earned the title ‘Sahasramukhi’ (Man of thousand faces). You need guts to make faces which will make others laugh,” he says.
Over the years, Ragi Rao has changed his face to resemble national personalities like Indira Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Kuvempu etc., to international figures like Hitler, Hardy, Martin Luther King and Max Muller among others.
Ragi Rao’s first big performance was at the Indian Institute of World Culture in Bangalore. In 1978, Ragi Rao immigrated to the US. “It was difficult for me to get along in the US because of the language and accent. But I didn’t give up,” says Ragi Rao who is today a renowned expressionist in the US.
“You can play the role of Rama and Krishna because no one has seen how they look. But to imitate a non-fictional character is very difficult. A writer writes the character and an actor portrays the character. But an expressionist not only portrays but resembles the character,” he adds.
With his experience as an expressionist, Ragi Rao worked for three years as Counselling Assistant at Mid Columbia Mental Health Centre, where he had to recognise if the patient was psychotic, neurotic or manipulative.
Face behind the lens
“When I was around 13 years old, I got a Kodak box camera. That is when my interest in photography started. Later, my brother got two good cameras for me with which I improved my skills. After I started earning, I got around eight film cameras and made my hobby a profession. With the introduction of digital photography, I sold all my film cameras to buy digital ones. I practiced professional photography for the past 25 years. But now I have stopped as it is difficult for me to carry the weight,” says Ragi Rao.
With this skill, Ragi Rao had organised a photography exhibition on the religious sculptures from India at US to collect money for installing idols at a temple there. The photographs showcased the sculptures from Belur and Halebid temples.
Expressing through drums
“Devotion and intelligence are one and the same. If I get interested in something, I will do it with complete devotion,” says the expressionist who is also a self-trained percussionist. He plays the tabla, mrudanga, ghata, and a host of other percussion instruments along with vocal percussion which, he says, he learnt by seeing and plays by mere knack. He had also given a performance ‘Drums of India’ to raise fund for the victims of 2001 Gujarat earthquake.
“Now after portraying so many faces and getting tired of it, I am teaching how to face different faces of life with the appropriate face. This is stress language. It teaches you how to tame and tune your emotions. And unless you know this language, you cannot live with stress,” he says. But what is this stress language? Here is Ragi Rao’s answer…
“You should know 26 alphabets to read, write and understand English. Likewise, the nine emotions — serenity, fury, disgust, pathos, terror, eroticism, heroism, comic and wonder — are like letters. By combining these nine, you can create more emotions. We have heard of anger management and laughter therapy. But I thought why just two expressions? Why not combine all?
“For this you will have to think of a situation that triggers the emotion. Then think of a prefix and suffix relating to good or bad. Good reminds you to do the same to handle such situations. Bad tells you not to repeat the same. For example, in case of anger — think of a situation which made you angry and what you did to tackle it. If the situation was handled well with your expression then do the same in future, or else, alter it for better results. Use the same method for all the nine emotions and you will be taming thousands of other emotions. This will help you control your facial and verbal expressions, thereby helping you overcome tough situations in life.
“With common sense, an individual can make his/her personal tools to express and act with appropriate degree of verbal and facial expression to win situations.
“Physiognomy is not just an art but a science as well. Your facial and verbal expressions should match. If not, what you are telling may be a lie. Hence you should always live with the reality. You should not hide what you are. Ten persons may laugh at you for it but 990 will laugh with you.
“My main motto is not just to make faces to make others laugh and get away with it, but to show with this laughter, how to tame your face and live life better.”
source: http://www.starofmysore.com / Feature Articles / by M.S. Apuurva / October 28th, 2011