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Pune’s house of treasures modern makeover weaves a tale steeped in history

The grade I heritage structure, which was recently renovated, has a distinct Tudor style of architecture and was once home to Mukundrao Ramrao Jayakar, a barrister and the first vice-chancellor of the university of Pune

pune Updated: Jun 15, 2018 16:53 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,NFAI,Jayakar Bungalow
The renovated bungalow in NFAI is expected to open to the public soon.(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

Jayakar Bungalow, also known as house of treasures is all ready to meet the 21st century with its unique blend of the historic and modern. The building, which is in the premises of the national film archive of India (NFAI), was recently renovated. It will now house a digital library, film library, screening rooms, a multi-purpose hall and internal courtyard, along with guest rooms.

“We plan to hand over the key to the organisation, after a few finishing touches, on June 15,” said Raj Shekhar, assistant engineer (civil), civil construction wing, the organisation responsible for restoring the house of treasures on behalf of the ministry of information and broadcasting.

The grade I heritage structure, which was built in 1945, has a distinct Tudor style of architecture and was once home to Mukundrao Ramrao Jayakar, a barrister and the first vice-chancellor of the university of Pune. It was then acquired by the Indian law society, before it was handed over to the film and television institute of India (FTII) where it became the residence of Jagat Murari, the institute’s director. It was also briefly used as girls hostel before becoming the office of the NFAI in 1973.

The 6500 sq ft western country house is a two storied bungalow built in a load bearing system using coursed stone ashlars masonry with lime mortar. The floor and ceiling are built entirely from Burma teak wood.

The floor and ceiling are built entirely from Burma teak wood. ( Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO )

“I have very fond memories of the Bungalow. I learnt the basics of documentation here.I was elated when the Bungalow was taken up for restoration. Now that it will be turned into a digital library, I will get a chance to showcase the ancillary material which we have collected over the years,” said Arti Karkhanis, who joined NFAI in 1986 to work inside the offices based out of the Bungalow.

“Since it was part of the NFAI campus, we had initially thought of seeking funds from the government to restore the building in 2012. Rs 4 crore was allotted in 2013. We wanted to save this heritage structure. The building has a lot of emotional value for many of the film goers who visit NFAI,” said DK Sharma, accounts officer, NFAI.

“The digital library will benefit film researchers and students. We will also build personalised viewing spaces which will enable the researchers and students to watch films in privacy. For many years the building was not in use. The idea behind the restoration was to make the building functional,” said Prakash Magdum, director, NFAI.

Vinay Patil and Archana Deshmukh Kulkarni, both architects and conversationists, began the renovation in 2016. “A lot of structural and aesthetic elements were dilapidated or broken. We went through the entire process of repairs, restoration, retrofitting and conservation while also adding a few elements such as flooring since the ground floor was entirely damaged,” said Archana.

She added, “The Bungalow is important in terms of history, architecture and aesthetics. The building is a one of a kind. The idea is to open the building to the public next month. Every part of the building is an exhibit in itself.”

A barrister’s story

1905: Jayakar become a barrister in London’s Inn. He later becomes an advocate at the Bombay high court.

1906 - 1915: Assists in preparing the first edition of the popular treaties on Hindu law.

1916: Participates in the home rule agitation as a social reformer and was also a director of Bombay Chronicle along with Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

1918: Joins the deputation led by Annie Besant to Edwin Montague, secretary of state of India, and Lord Chelmsford, governor general, to represent the Indian Cause

1919: Becomes a member of the Congress commission to enquire into the Punjab disturbance.

1923 -1925: Becomes the leader of the Swaraj Party in the Bombay legislative council.

1932: Secretary of all party Round Table conference to solve political impasse.

1937: Judge of the federal court of India.

1938: Receives honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree from Oxford University. The university had once refused him admission.

1946: Resigns from the constituent assembly of India and becomes vice-chancellor of the university of Pune. He was the vice-chancellor for nine years, after which he retired.

First Published: Jun 15, 2018 16:52 IST