BANGALORE: The most striking feature of the sunlight- filled and airy home of cine artistes M K Sundar Raj and Pramila Joshai is its cool environs, both in its palm-fronted garden and drawing room, where a large slice of nature has been brought indoors. An unpretentious home for tinsel town inhabitants, the house has a natural flow to it, unhindered by walls and partitions, giving an expansive feel. And central to lending a homely feel to the imaginative structure is Sundar Raj himself, whose simplicity, good humour, and warmth are matched by the friendliness of his wife Pramila.
Sundar Raj has been a compelling albeit infrequent presence in Kannada filmdom, although he has 180 films to his credit, having traversed the roles of villain, comedian, hero, and anti hero with élan. Pramila is continuing her long innings as a character artiste, and now their daughter, Meghna Raj is a heroine in Tamil and Telugu films. Yet their home is just comfortably and simply done up. Sundar Raj is a selfconfessed lover of nature, and one finds an abundance of it in his house. The front garden doubles up as a mini orchard of vegetables, fruits, and flowers, but without the artificial, manicured look. “The acute shortage of water everywhere made me remove the waterguzzling lawns, and create my own kitchen garden. This little green haven will boast of medicinal plants next. We rarely value what is available in nature”, says this conscientious citizen.
A s i g n a t u r e d e s i g n o f architect Jaimsimh is his use of pergolas or cut cement slabs to let rain water into the periphery of the drawing room, and his modelling of Sundar Raj’s house has this, plus a whole lot of potted plants under the pergolas, the leafy green backdrop giving the feel of a hill station, especially in the monsoon and winter. Once seated on the plush sofas in the drawing room, one gets a bird’s eye view of the entire house, the design being open-ended yet cosy.
A huge mural with a rural backdrop adorns the wall facing the main living area, its pre-dominant colour one again being green. The prayer area, as distinct from a puja room, is an intriguing place, housing symbols of both the Hindu and Christian faiths, considering that Pramila is a Christina. Here again, four slim, stone pillars define the corner, with plants placed in niches. A tidy open kitchen, with a spacious store room, considered unfashionable nowadays, but with tremendous utility value, and bedrooms leading up from the drawing room, complete the picture of an open house in more ways than one, given the simple ways of Raj and his family.