Mr Sampath: The Mysore printer whom the actor Dr Raj Kumar called ‘Appaji’

In today’s Andolana, the Kannada broadsheet newspaper from Mysore, appears this small, single-column advertisement on its last page.

A dignified portrait, not looking into the camera, writ with decency and civility—the flowers reminding us of an era that was black and white, and sepia.

The text accompanying the ad reads:

“35th year remembrance.

Shri Sampath, film actor.

City Power Press”

Those nine words hide an infinity.

They don’t tell you that this man’s real name was Cheluva Iyengar, who ran his press on Hanumantha Rao Street.

They don’t tell you he was a good friend of R.K. Narayan, and was probably the inspiration for Mr Sampath, The Printer of Malgudi.

They don’t tell you that his printing press was the front office for his real passion, acting, which he did in countless plays and movies.

They also don’t tell you that the great Dr Raj Kumar, whom Kannadigas called Annavru, called him Appaji.