Saga of Mysore Association

  • This is the story of the Mysore Association, which began on a sunny Sunday in February 1926, when a group of young professionals from the Mysore State met to create a platform to meet the cultural aspirations of Mysoreans in Bombay.
  • Dewan Bahadur K. Ramaswamy became the first President.
  • And the Mysore Association was formally inaugurated on the 15th of August 1926, by Professor Subba Rao, the then Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mysore, in a rented premises.
  • In 1932 the Bombay Municipal Corporation gave a plot at Bhau Daji Road, Matunga, on a perpetual lease. The first Building of the Association “VANIVILAS HALL” was constructed in 1934 at total cost of Rs.5000 purely from the contributions of its members, and that too in the difficult years of Global depression.
  •  The Building was further expanded in 1941, in 1944, in 1969, in 1978 and in 1998.
  • A number of persons are responsible for the Building construction at various stages, starting from
  1. Shri. B. V.S. Iyengar
  2. Shri. R. D. Char
  3. Shri. A. Nagabhushan Rau
  4. Shri. T. S. Champakanath
  5. and many more stalwarts
  •  During the eighties, full-fledged Auditorium was planned under the leadership of Shri. A. Nagabhushan Rau, the then President and renowned construction expert.
  • The final edifice stands today as testimony to the efforts of four generations at a total cost of 1.5 crores.
  •  Many dignitaries visited the Association, beginning with His Highness Shri. Krishnarajendra Wodeyar and His Highness Shri. Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, in 1937.
  •  They were followed by Sir. Arcot Ramaswamy Mudaliar, Sir Mirza Ismail, Sir M. Visveswaraya and many others during the British rule and later by every Chief Minister of Karnataka, the ministers in the Karnataka Govt. and other dignitaries.
  •  The Mysore Association is an association of professionals drawn from various fields like Architects, Technocrats, Scientists, Industrialists, Legal practitioners, Engineers and performing Artists. It is these men and women, who also doubled up as Sportsmen, Teachers, Playwrights, Artists and Social workers to enrich the city.
  • While the popular sport in the 30’s was Volley ball, the interest soon shifted to Basket Ball. From the very start, the Association team grabbed most of the coveted Trophies, and went on to become the unbeaten Bombay State Champions for the successive years of 1949, 1950 and 1951.
  • The Association has the unique distinction and honour of having 4 out of 5 players, including the Captain, being selected to represent the Bombay State, to contest the 16th All India Olympic games held in 1950.
  1. Shri. K.S.K.Iyengar
  2. Shri. Subba Rao
  3. Shri. Babu Ramaswamy and
  4. Shri. Parthasarathy

are some of the group members who contributed to the growth of this game.

  •  The Association was conducting an annual open Table Tennis Tournament for Shri. B.V.S. Iyengar Silver Trophy since the 1940s.
  •  Many stars like Shri. Dilip Sampath and Sriram, were born in these tournaments.
  • Billiards section owes its origins to the generosity of a non-Mysorean, Shri. Nanji Premji Dersey who donated a Billiards Table in 1930’s. The Association has instituted a Silver cup in his memory.
  1. Shri. N.Subramanian
  2. Shri. P. N. Rama Rao
  3. Shri. S. N. Nagaraja Rao
  4. Shri. L.D. Char
  5. Shri. Satyanarayana
  6. and Shri. H. S. Neelakantha

have contributed to the growth of this game.
 

  • One of the main objectives of the founding Fathers was to engage in educating people at large. An elementary school was started in 1927 at the Association by appointing a teacher with self help. Later a separate entity, National Kannada Sangha. Today N.K.E.S. provides education to the children of underprivileged section from Dharavi, Antop Hill and Wadala, right from Kindergarten to 10th Standard in both Kannada and English media. It is our pride that many students of this school have now assumed pivotal roles in nation building.
  • The efforts of Shri. R. D. Char, Smt. Vaidehi Char, Shri. Varadarajan, Shri. B. Narayana Swamy, Shri. R. V. Murthy, Shri. Magal, and Shri. A S K Rao are to be recorded for posterity.
     
  • The Association has been in the forefront of Fine Arts including painting, right from its early days. In co-operation with the Bombay Arts Society, it organized exhibitions of painting by eminent artists from both Maharashtra and Karnataka.  Mega events were held in 1976, 1986 and again 1988.
  • Painting competition for the children was an annual feature.
  • Beginning in 1946, the Association has been hosting Music and Dance Festival during the Ganapati celebrations. Many top performers belonging to both Karnataka and Hindustani styles have taken part in these festivals apart from many budding musicians.
  • A great number of eminent artists starting with
  1. Pt. Mallikarjuna Mansoor
  2. Pt. Basavaraja Rajguru
  3. Pt. Bhimsen Joshi
  4. Smt. Gangubai Hangal
  5. Shri. Doreswamy Iyengar

have graced these festivals and contributed with their music.
 

The Association has hosted many dance festival including Nritya Karnataka focusing on Mysore School of Dance. Many a dancing stars have participated in these festivals.

  •  The contributions from Guru Mahalingam Pillai, Kalyana Sundaram, and Rajee Narayan of Shri Raja Rajeshwari Natya Kala Mandira are remembered sincerely.
  • Many of the well known Artists participated in Association's festivals, starting with
  1. Padmini
  2. Ragini
  3. Vyjayantimala
  4. Sudha Doreswamy
  5. Venkatalakshamma

and many other eminent dancers.

  •  The Association itself has produced a number of Ballets under the leadership of Smt. Geeta Vishwanath whose talent is unbounded. Notable among these are
  1. Shyamala Dandakam
  2. Bhaja Govindam
  3. Krishna Kannamrita
  4. Kolooru Kodasoosu
  5. Anthapura Geetegalu
  •  Smt. Sitamma Rao’s musical play “Sri. Purandara Dasa” made a lasting impression.
  • A 4 day Karnataka – Maharashtra Folk Dance festival, was held in 1986, to further bonds between the Marathi and Kannada cultures. This was a unique occasion to the connoisseur of folk arts, as a number of rare gems were presented.
  • Another credit to the Association is the hosting of All India Kannada Sahitya Sammelana in 1934, in Bombay jointly with Karnataka Sangha, Mumbai. All the Kannada literary Giants have visited the Association over the years including Gnana Peetha award winners
  1. K. Shivram Karanth
  2. D.R.Bendre
  3. Maasti Venkatesh Iyengar
  4. V. K. Gokak
  5. Pu.Ti. Na.
  6. Shreeranga
  7. Shivarudrappa
  8. Girish Karnad
  9. U. R. Anantha Murthy
  10. L. S. Sheshgiri Rao
  11. S. L. Bhairappa
  12. Chandrashekar Khambar
  • Many writers of the Association have won acclaim for their literary contributions. Among them
  1. Shri. Chandrashekar Sharma
  2. Shri. G.P.Rajaratnam
  3. C. K. Nagaraj Rao
  4. Smt. Uma Rao

stand bright for the short stories and poetry.
 

  • But it is in the field of writing plays, that the Association has contributed the most to Kannada languages, with well over 40 plays some of them have gone to win prestigious awards and have served on various Academics.
  •  Apart from the Gubbi Theatre, the Association is the oldest living entity in the Indian theatre, with over 75 years of continuous activity. Starting 1926, it was Shri. Gangadharaiah a lawyer by profession, who initiated this activity. Shri. Gangadharaiah presented “Virat Parva” in 1926. The troupe gave public performances of “Virat Parva”  and “Shakuntala” in aid of Smt. Yamunabai Nair Hospital, in 1927.
  • While the historicals and mythologicals dominated the 30s, in the 40s T.P.Kailasam, known as Karnataka Prahasana Pitamaha, stayed at the Association and directed a few of his plays. This changed the trend in Association from mythologicals to parodies.
  •  Up to 1952, only men donned the roles of women.
  • In 1952, lady members volunteered to participate and made history in the Bombay Kannada Theatre.
  1. Smt. Madhura Krishnaswamy
  2. Smt. Sharadamma Narayanaswamy
  3. Smt. Mahalaxmi Rao
  4. and Smt. Meera Rao

not only broke traditions but encouraged other ladies to join the theatre   movement.

  •  Today, if in the Association’s theatre group, lady artists outnumber male artists, the credit should go to these courageous ladies.
  •  V. K. Murthy, the noted Cinematographer was the driving force in the 40s, 50s and 60s. He was joined by on enthusiastic band of artists
  1. Shri. M. N. Ramachandra Rao
  2. Shri. Jayabheema Rao   
  3. Shri. Duggapaaiah Nadig
  4. Shri. C. S. Puttannaiah
  5. Shri. N. V. Srinivas
  6. Shri. C. K. Shankarnarayana Rao


These gentlemen set a new trend in the Theatre activity in Bombay.

  •  70s saw the emergence of a new generation of playwrights and artists, who made a clean break with the tradition. Comedies and parodies gave way to Social realism and surrealism.
  • It was in the 70s, and 80s, Theatre in the Association attained the status of professionalism, with more emphasis on the body language, music and above all group activity, and thus created a total Epic Theatre.
  •  The Association went on to bring many Kannada novels on to the stage.
  •  The troupe travelled all over Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat to garner more laurels.
  •  Today the Association can boast of Four generation of artists, on the stage, working together, singing together, dancing together and passing on the tradition to the future.
  •  Long is the list of men, women and children who have contributed to the growth of Theatre and their contribution is well remembered.
  • Noted among these are
  1. Madhura Krishnamurthy
  2. V.K.Murthy
  3. Sandhya Murthy
  4. Geeta Vishwanath
  5. Kunti Duggappaiah           
  6. Susheela Rao and many more.
  •  Members of the Association have always been in the forefront of social service.
  • Smt. Vaidehi Char and Smt. Shyamalaba’s commitment to the education of  underprivileged is well recorded.
  • Star among them, Smt. Usha Jairam worked for the education of street children and providing employment to the destitute women. She did yeomen service at Latur after the earthquake and at Dharavi after the 1992 riots. Her contribution to Theatre and Fine Arts is still remembered. The work of Smt. Bhavani Sundaraj, Smt. Poornima Srikrishna, Smt. Geeta Vishwanath, Smt. Laxmi Dasappa and Lalita Doreswamy is already well known. Many more today are working for many social causes in Bombay.
  • The Association over the years has developed a binding force with the All India Women’s Conference in its endeavour to contribute to the cause of social work.
  • At the dawn of the new Millennium, the Association entered its Platinum Jubilee year and was ably led by Shri. S.Doreswamy and Smt. Leela Rajkumar. Today, Shri. V. Ramabhadra and Shri. Narain Jagirdar are at the forefront of Association’s activities.
  • In the last decade, the attention had been mainly on organizing more one man theatre festivals and workshops, seminars and conferences on music and music related subjects.
  • At the beginning of the new millennium, an 8-day long multi-language theatre festival of Shri Girish Karnad was organized in which 8 different groups from different parts of India took part. Also forming a part of the festival was a debate cum conversation with the playwright himself along with other theatre stalwarts such as Vijay Tendulkar, Chandrasekhar Kambar, Jabbar Patel, Alique Padamsee, and which drew a large audience.
  • Besides Girish Karnad, the Association has hosted other Kannada playwrights and theatre personalities like B. V. Karanth, Chandrasekhar Kamabar, B. Jayashree, and Nagabharana.
  •  Music conferences and workshops have become an annual feature.
  • To begin with, a 2-day conference on ‘Shrungara Rasa’ in Karnatak Music was held with lecture demonstrations in music and dance.
  •  Well-known Kannada musicians such as R.K. Srikanthan, R. K. Padmanabha, Sukanya Prabhakar, M. S. Sheela, T. S. Satyavati, R. Srilatha have held week-long workshops for Students of advanced studies in Karnatak music.
  •  Childrens’ theatre and art workshop is also a regular activity which is conducted by eminent personalities from the related fields. This is being done with a view to encourage budding artists in the new generation.
  • Two ‘Horanada Vishwa Kannada Samskrutika Sammelana’ were organized in the last decade in collaboration with the other local Kannada Sanghas and the Karnatka Govt., which were a huge success and caught the eye of the media.
  • We are confident of walking through the new millennium towards our Centenary celebrations.
  • This is the Saga of an Association which is based on self help and harmony.
  •  The Association now plans building and developing a Centre for Performing Arts to train youngsters in the fields of theatre, dance and music.
  • We have over the last 8 decades shown the World what we can do by working together. We appeal to all our members to lend their strength and goodwill to complete this huge task.