Husband & wife, for better & for Bendre’s verse | Hubballi News – Times of India

Most couples busy themselves in planning destination weddings, theme decor and “bachelor parties” for bride and groom. Chetana Desai and Nikhil Maggavi had something else in mind: their pre-wedding shoot would centre around the life and works of Jnanpith awardee Da Ra bendre.
The couple are to marry on April 26.
Chetana, 27, grew up in Dharwad next to Bendre’s house in Sadhanakeri. “Though I have not seen Bendre ajja (as Bendre is fondly known here), I used to attend ceremonies at their home. When we decided on the theme for our pre-wedding shoot, Bendre’s granddaughter Punarvasu Bendre cooperated by giving us his hat, umbrella and gramophone,” said Chetana, who works as an interior designer in Bengaluru.
Nikhil, 29, an electronic engineer with a Bengaluru automobile company, hails from Belagavi and said he wanted to “showcase Indian culture and North Karnataka style and tradition”.
Dattatreya Ramachandra Bendre, born in 1896, is counted among the greatest poets in Kannada literature and considered a pioneer of the Navodaya movement, a Kannada renaissance in North Karnataka. His poetic journey spanned almost 70 years, till his death in 1981, and he was honoured with a Sahitya Akademi award and the Padma Shri. He and Lakshmibai were married for nearly five decades till her death in 1966 and they had nine children.
“My fiance dressed up as Bendre ajja and I wore the ‘kachchi sari’ that the poet’s wife, Lakshmibai, used to wear. My mother Naina Mutalik Desai helped me with the sari and did my hair like her too. We have been seeing their photographs at Bendre’s home and are familiar with the look of the times,” she said.
It wasn’t just costumes and props, though. “We referred to the ‘Moorthi mattu kaamakastoori’ anthology of poems of Bendre published in 1934. Poems like ‘Tandeni ninagenda’, ‘Naanu badava’, ‘Naanu hennu’ were more relatable for us,” said Chetana.
The couple composed their photos around some of the properties related to the legendary poet. One frame shows them engrossed in a board game – a traditional chequers Bendre was known to be fond of. The photos have photographs have gone viral, drawing appreciation on social media from Bendre admirers all over the world.
“We approached photographer Harshad Uday Kamath and explained to him what we wanted to capture. I wore Bendre’s hat and held his umbrella, it was a wonderful experience. I have now decided to play Bendre’s Bhavageethes on our marriage,” he said.

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Sagar Biswas

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