An international art museum modelled on the lines of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, will come up at The Roerich and Devikarani Roerich Estate (Tataguni) on Kanakapura Road.
Its construction will start soon with an initial investment of `3 crore by the Kannada and Culture Department, said Manu Baligar, chief executive officer, The Roerich and Devikarani Roerich Estate Board.
The estate has been under the control of the state government since 1996.
Speaking to reporters on the occasion of Roerich and Devikarani Day at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat on Wednesday, Baligar said that 25 acres would be set aside for the museum on the sprawling 468.33 acres of the estate.
“The state government has allocated `25 crore for the Kannada and Culture Department, from which the estate has been given `3 crore,” said Baligar, who was appointed estate CEO three months ago.
“We are in the process of preparing a detailed project report. The funding will be done gradually as and when it is required. We have also proposed a rose garden on another 25 acres on the estate and a tree park, on which the Forest Department has already started work,” Baligar explained.
Devikarani Chaudhuri was an actress who starred in many Indian movies made before independence and is considered the country’s first diva of the film industry. She is best remembered for her performances in Karma (1933) opposite her husband Himanshu Rai and Achhut Kanya (1936) opposite Ashok Kumar. Following the death of her husband in 1940, Devikarani took charge of the Bombay Talkies studio, which Rai founded in 1934. She married Russian artist Svetoslav Roerich in 1945.
Nikolay A Listopadov, consul general of the Russian Federation in South India, said the Roerichs played a vital role in bringing Russia and India closer. “The Russian consulate is ready to extend any support to Karnataka in development of the Roerich estate,” he said.
The Tataguni Estate
Devikarani and Roerich lived in the Tataguni Estate, about three km from the Art of Living campus on Kanakapura Road, till her death in 1994. Subsequently, the estate found itself in the middle of a legal battle for its ownership.
“The government took over the estate in November 1996. It was always clear that the estate belonged to the state, but there was litigation due to allegations that signatures of the owners were tampered with,” Baligar said. The SC in August 2011 ruled in favour of the government, he added.