Film crew evicted from heritage site on Manasagangotri campus

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Film crew evicted from heritage site on Manasagangotri campus

Mounds of mud dumped and flattened to create a wrestling arena for film shooting, being cleared from the Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion premises in Mysuru on Thursday.
| Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM

A film unit from Bengaluru engaged in shooting on the Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion premises at Manasagangotri campus was evicted and the vehicles seized after intervention by heritage activists and morning walkers, on Thursday.

While the heritage building awaiting conservation was marred by dumping of large mound of mud, three sandalwood trees were also felled by the film crew.

The crew from Harshita Movies, Bengaluru, had secured permission from the University of Mysore which had stipulated 19 conditions and levied a fee of ₹4.35 lakh including ₹1.05 lakh as refundable advance.

 However, regular morning walkers noticed large mound of mud dumped and flattened in front of the iconic building and converted to what was ostensibly a wrestling arena.

The issue was brought to the notice of Prof. N.S. Rangaraju, former head, Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore and a member of the District Heritage Conservation Sub-committee.

He rushed to the spot and took the film crew to task on noticing the vandalism. Prof. Rangaraju said Forest Department was informed of the felling of the sandalwood trees and a complaint was also filed against the film crew at the Jayalakshmipuram police station. Prof. Rangaraju also questioned how truck loads of mud were allowed to pass through the security gate when bonafide teachers and students have to produce their identity before being let in.

The Forest Department staff seized the sandalwood logs and the film crew was evicted from the spot while the crew van and other vehicles were locked within the compound of the mansion and the gates, locked.

Prof. Rangaraju pointed out that Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion is one of the 14 palaces of Mysuru with 125 rooms and its historicity and importance cannot be over-emphasised. It is also one of the nearly 500 heritage buildings in Mysuru. It was built for Jayalakshmi Ammani, sister of Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar in 1905 and was handed over to the varsity by the then maharaja in 1959 to run the PG courses. The lighting of the venue was inaugurated in 1962 by the then President S.Radhakrishnan and the mansion currently awaits restoration, he added.

Prof. Rangaraju also spoke to the Vice Chancellor of the University Prof. N.K. Lokesh agreed to rescind the permission issued to the film crew.

The issue will be placed before the varsity syndicate in the next meeting and a decision taken not to permit film shooting at the Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion in future, said Prof.Rangaraju.

Condemning the flagrant violation of heritage laws and conditions stipulated by the varsity, Prof. Rangaraju also called for the prosecution of those responsible for the vandalism. Instructions were also issued to clean up the premises and remove the mound of mud in front of the heritage building.

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