This city-based documentary maker’s latest explores the life of celebrated horticulturist HC Javaraya.
BENGALURU: It is known to every Bengalurean that German horticulturist Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel, changed the landscape of the city, but his successor HC Javaraya also had an equal contribution to it. The latest book by Meera Iyer, a writer, researcher and convenor of INTACH, Bahadur HC Javaraya: A Gardener and a Gentleman, revolves around the life of horticulturist HC Javaraya. Inspired from the book, city-based filmmaker Ganesh Shankar Raj has adapted it into a documentary.
Raj says Javaraya was one of the key and native horticulturists in India, and the first deputy superintendent of Lalbagh. “He was a successor of renowned horticulturist Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel, who actually set up various gardens in Bengaluru. Even the Indian Institute of Horticulture and Research (IIHR) was set up by this gentleman as a Fruit Research Institute in the 1930s. Today, it has grown to become one of the premier institutes in the country. He is the one who created the famous ‘Agmark’ for fruits,” says Raj.
Javaraya was known as the fruit man of the then Mysore state. “If you see so much fruit cultivation in Bengaluru, it is because of him. He introduced a wide variety of fruits in Bengaluru. He was even the first person to cultivate apples. There was a thriving apple cultivation that took place in Bengaluru during his time and then everything died down,” says Raj, adding that Javaraya is an unsung hero. “Nobody knows about him. So, therefore, we decided to make a film in association with the family,” Raj further adds.
Raj’s last documentary was on Krumbiegel and he admits to having a soft spot for horticulturists who shaped Bengaluru. “We do different kinds of films, but these people have done a tremendous amount of work for the city. In Bengaluru, you can see a lot of trees, gardens and flowers...these stalwarts were responsible for it. Therefore, we decided to make a film that speaks about their contribution,” says Raj.