Pune: Iconic Jayakar Bungalow opens to public as film library

Atikh Rashid
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar with Prasanna Gokhale (right), the great-granddaughter of Barrister Jayakar, in Pune on Sunday. (Express photo by Ashish Kale)

A restored Jayakar Bungalow, which will now house a digital library for researchers to access rich film database of the National Film Archive of India (NFAI), was finally inaugurated on Sunday by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar. The project, which was sanctioned in 2013, took over five years to finish the work was completed in November 2018 and the restored structure had to wait for another 10 months to find the auspicious day for inauguration.

The project restoration of the bungalow and setting up a digital library has been carried out by the NFAI under a plan scheme Upgradation of infrastructure of NFAI including Jayakar Bungalow and setting up of a digital library , which was approved by the Union Finance Ministry in June 2013. The work, however, could commence only in early 2016. The NFAI has spent Rs 4.21 crore, of which Rs 3.99 crore were spent on restoration work of the bungalow and Rs 22.21 lakh on setting up the digital library.

Jayakar Bungalow, classified as a Grade-I heritage structure by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), was built in 1945 and was once home to Mukundrao Ramrao Jayakar, a barrister and the first vice-chancellor of the University of Pune. Later on, it was handed over to the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), where it became the residence of institute s then principal Jagat Murari. Briefly, the building was also used as girls hostel before becoming the office of the NFAI in 1973.

The one-of-its-kind structure in Pune, the bungalow is built in Tudor style of architecture, which is mostly found in Great Britain. The exquisitely designed structure has wooden flooring, a narrow wooden staircase, typical of British architecture and massive bookshelves that stretch on almost to the roof. The two-storey bungalow is built in a load-bearing system with the use of coursed Ashlars Masonry with lime mortar. Serene interiors have ceramic tiles and wooden ceiling.

This bungalow holds a special place in the sphere of art and architecture in Pune. After restoration, this is being put in use for the benefit of film researchers. The project took time because it had to be done carefully, considering the fragile nature of such building and importance of conserving the original structure, said Javadekar, who also launched a booklet Parampara: An ode to Jayakar Bungalow , which sketches the history of bungalow over the last eight decades.

Prasanna Gokhale, the great-granddaughter of Barrister Jayakar was present on the occasion with her sons. She praised the NFAI for undertaking the restoration work of the building with which her family s history is closely linked.

I hadn t visited the bungalow until last year when we came with some relatives who had come from the US. My father, however, had spent some time in the bungalow. He would talk to us about the summer vacations that he had spent in the bungalow. NFAI has done a fabulous job with it, said Gokhale. Barrister Jayakar was her father s maternal grandfather.

The internal walls of the building have been pasted with portaits of filmmakers from various epochs of Indian cinema, including those belonging to stalwarts from regional film industries. The digital material such as old magazines, books and documents could be accessed by film researchers using the computers that have been housed in a part of the bungalow while elsewhere, personalised viewing spaces have been provided to see films of archival value which have been digitised by NFAI.

NFAI Director Prakash Magdum said these facilities will be provided to film lovers and researches at nominal fees. We intend to continue the practice of charging Rs 10 for use of digital library resources and Rs 50 per slot to see films for research purpose, said Magdum.