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If one wants to study and understand the post-independence history of Indian architecture he should first read the auto biography of Balakrishna Vithaldas Doshi whose experience spanning seven decades will give few lessons not only about the profession but also about how to face challenges and overcome them successfully. His willingness to work under Le Corbusier, the legendary French architect, as an unpaid assistant in the beginning of his professional career showed his zeal to learn the profession. No wonder then, he was one of the key persons involved in designing India’s first planned city, Chandigarh and was also instrumental in starting CEPT university in Ahmedabad.
Internationally acclaimed architect, B.V. Doshi, has always remained in news for his work relating to and contribution to the profession of architecture. However, couple of years ago he was in news for a different reason – for his role in an Tamil film. Why should a world-famous architect, in his late 80s, accept a role in a film that too produced in Tamil language? How and why did Doshi accept the offer to act in a movie? Do you know the reason?
Fame or money was definitely not the reason because he already had both of them. But it was the role itself which made him say yes! The guest role offered to Doshi in Mani Ratnam’s O Kadhal Kanmani film was no different from what he had been doing all these years in his professional career. The film featured Dulquer Salmaan and Nithya Menon (who was doing the role of a young architect) in the lead roles and Doshi appeared as Nithya’s mentor. In other words, for Doshi there was not much acting involved in the role and he had to portray his real life on the screen. The scenes involving him were shot at Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and CEPT University both designed by Doshi himself! So, there was neither any scope nor any good reason for Doshi to say no to the offer. By accepting the offer, he created another record – one of the oldest persons debuting in Indian films!