Holding on to fond memories

From the albums

Holding on to fond memories

Both these pictures are extremely special for me. The first picture of Vishnuvardhan and I was taken on August 15 on the occasion of my birthday in either 1976 or 1977 in our house in 5th Block, Jayanagar. This is also a very different picture because Vishnuvardhan, who fondly called me ‘Mai’, and I were not posing for the camera. We were caught unaware.

We don’t remember clicking many family pictures but the few that were taken of us were the ones clicked by our family and friends. Whenever I glance through our family album, I find half the pictures missing because they would have been borrowed by somebody in the family who doesn’t return them because they liked them so much and wanted to keep them. Pictures like this one bring back a host of memories. Every birthday, Vishnuvardhan would gift me a white sari with a border and buy me a pair of earrings. But more than material gifts, I always valued his love and concern for me. 

Whenever he and I were together, we hardly spoke because we agreed more than we disagreed on most issues. And I didn’t know how time flew whenever I was with him because he was so full of life and extremely witty and jovial. He was also a very intelligent man with a very strong and sharp perspective on everything. He could speak on just about any topic under the sun. Having him around the house was as good as being amidst a thousand people. He had an overwhelming presence. 

Vishnuvardhan enjoyed yoga and meditation. He would spend hours in silence and this is one thing that I have picked up from him. I often sit alone in silence whenever I can grab some time for myself.

This silence gives me a chance to go back in time and reflect on a lot of old things — good and bad. Silence has always made me a stronger and better person. It has always refreshed my mind. I’ve always noticed that my mind works better after I spend some quiet time with myself.   

We were a loving couple. I also don’t recollect Vishnuvardhan and myself ever getting into any argument. And if we ever did, it would be about issues relating to others and never between the two of us. I never argued or raised my voice with him and I don’t remember him doing the same with me at any point of time.

The second picture was taken with my parents in 1968-69 when I was 18 or 19 years old during one of the film shoots. My mother Bhadravathi and father Ramachandra Rao accompanied me on all my shoots.

I don’t recall travelling anywhere without them. They took care of all matters related to my work until I got married. I would always feel very safe and secure with them. And also, I indirectly got a lot of respect from the people I worked with because my parents were with me. I didn’t know anything about acting when I entered the film industry. My only experience related to the field of arts, dance or music were the many music concerts that my sister and I performed together when I was barely 13 years old.

My parents are no more and I miss them. My mother was a soft-spoken lady who would never hurt anybody either through her words or actions. She never went to school but she was a very mature person who conducted herself very well. She would talk less and work more. My father was very strict but a friendly person. I would always eagerly listen to his narration of stories related to Panduranga and his devotees. I am fortunate to have had such wonderful parents.

I was also married into a very warm family. I never felt that they were my in-laws. They were more like my parents. I’m fortunate to have always been surrounded by good-hearted people.

      Another good thing about my family, whether my
parents or my in-laws, was that they were good critics.
I complimented Vishnuvardhan  on his films and I really liked his role in ‘Aathamitra’. One of the first things that I told him after I watched the film was that he was looked so handsome that I wanted to fall in love with him all over again. 

Dr Bharathi Vishnuvardhan

(As told to Nina C George)

(Bharathi can be reached on aniruddha162@gmail.com)

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