Whitefield Diaries releasing on Sep 10th

In a city being dug up all around for infrastructure, preserving heritage can become pointless talk very quickly. Yet, Whitefield has become one of the centres for a new film-led conservation effort.

Whitefield Diaries
Screening followed by panel discussion
Sep 10th, 2011
Whitefield Club, Bangalore
Map to location
All are welcome

A series of six short films, titled Whitefield Diaries is being screened a special event on September 10th, 6-7.30pm, at the Whitefield Club. The films capture the transformation of Whitefield from its origins in the 1880s to the present day, especially more recently, with rapid urbanisation. The famous inner circle and outer circle of Whitefield, and the Waverly Inn where Winston Churchill stayed are covered in the films.

Whitefield is tucked within the great triangle between KR Puram, Marathahalli and Kadugodi. Massive apartment and villa communities have sprung up in the region that connects Marathahalli to the ITPL area and KR Puram to Hope Farm and Kadugodi.

But in stark contrast to steel buildings, tech parks, or sprawling private boulevards in gated enclaves, the core of ‘heritage’ Whitefield is about a 19th century Anglo-Indian and Eurasian settlement founded with help from then Mysore Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar.

The original settlement came up in 1882 after the Maharaja granted 3900 acres of land to the Eurasian and Anglo-Indian Association of Mysore and Coorg. It was planned in such a way that there is an inner circle which contains a playground and some greenery and a larger outer circle with colonial bungalows. The houses resemble those in the city cantonment areas though on a smaller scale.

The 120-year-old Neo-Gothic Protestant Memorial Church at Whitefield. Pic: Meera K.

The Whitefield Diaries film series was co-produced by Krupa Rajangam, a conservation architect and Archana Prasad, founder of the Jaaga Media Centre. Krupa is the head of  Saythu, a heritage conservation cell.

Each of the films are about seven minutes long. "The films record the neighbourhood’s tangible and intangible heritage, the socio-cultural centres that make Whitefield special, and personal histories", says Archana.

The films are part of a larger idea called "Neighbourhood Diaries".  Through such films, Krupa and Archana plan to involve the residents of a locality and engaging them in discovering secrets, truths and novelties that made their neighbourhood special. For her part, Krupa has been concerned about the lack of legislation to protect local heritage.  She is particularly interested in Whitefield. "Recording intangible heritage is crucial to remembering a place and its people",  she points out.

For some, talk of local heritage appears to be misplaced nostalgia. Krupa brings out the distinction. "Nostalgia is expressing regret over what is lost, whereas heritage is celebrating what still remains and figuring out how to carry it forward to the present and future", she says.  

The screening of the films will be accompanied by a panel discussion on the questions the films raise. A Whitefield Day will be announced as well with its own ensemble of events. The Whitefield Club is located just off of the Inner Circle. Click here for Google’s map and directions.

This residence was once called Waverly Inn, where Winston Churchill stayed. Pic: Meera K.


(Moderator: Krupa Rajangam)

Asvathnarayan – a retired IAS officer, he is presently Convener of the Karnataka Chapter of Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).

Michael Ludgrove – is Curator Collections, the Royal House of Mysore. Of Anglo-Indian origin, he is a descendant of D S White who was instrumental in establishing the settlement at Whitefield. Before his current position, he was with Christie’s and is an expert on rare books and manuscripts. He was instrumental in letting the research team view a rare copy of D S White’s original Guide to the Anglo-Indian Settlements which details his vision.

Deepa Peck – long term resident of Whitefield, she is married into the Peck  family – one of the original settlers of Whitefield.  She is also Treasurer of the Whitefield Settlers’ & Residents’ Association, which was established way back in 1905.

Subramaniam Vincent – one of the newer residents of Whitefield, he is also uniquely positioned in his role as co-founder of Citizen Matters, a publication dedicated to city affairs, community and culture.

Clemence Barret – is a French artist and filmmaker. She has made many documentaries for French TV Channels like Canal + and Arte. She started her collaboration with Jaaga in late 2010 as an artist in residence and created an installation called "Miss miss hop o’ & friends" about nomadism. Since then she is actively collaborating with Jaaga Media Center directing short documentaries.

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