My book was released on 17th August 2008 and The Hindu covered the event. Here is the link:
There is a review of the book on the web –
Though I dont agree with the statement in the review that all the houses are not standing the way they are picturised in the book. These sketches have been made based on photos taken of the houses in the past few months. Since then, none have been demolished also.
Since the release, I have had interesting feedback on the book.
1. The inclusion of Mammen Mapillai’s house surprisingly has come in for some comment. Many have said that the house is not architecturally significant. But he was a great industrialist from the city and in my view deserved inclusion.
2. My friend Anwar has pointed out that no Muslim house has been included. My apologies and I can only attribute it to my ignorance of any historic residence belonging to Muslims other than Amir Mahal. However on reflecting about it, I could list quite a few:
Umda Bagh (now the Quaid-e-Milleth college), Shadi Mahal (apparently it still stands in Triplicane), Chepauk Palace, Sir Mohammad Usman’s house on Harrington Road, the Ahmed Mohammad family residence on Cathedral Garden Road. I did try to include Sadr Gardens, the home of Justice Basheer Ahmed Sayeed, but no permission was forthcoming from his son. Anyway, stupid of me not to have thought of the others.
3. PC Ramakrishna called and said that an architect friend had pointed out that the sketches in the book were not correct from the point of perspective unlike the works of Manohar Devdoss. Sujatha Shankar, the well known architect also made the same comment.
4. Some factual errors have crept into the book. These have been pointed out by friends who are acknowledged here:
a. Annai Illam – It was the residence of Sir Kurma Venkata Reddy Naidu (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurma_Venkata_Reddy_Naidu) and not KC Reddy before it became a business family’s residence from whom it was purchased by Sivaji Ganesan. The actor has given the name as KC Reddy in his biography and I had used that. However Randor Guy has since corrected me.
b. Deva Solai – I had one version from Tim Murari, the present occupant which what we published. His sister has since sent a different account which however tallies with Tim’s semi-biographical novel “Four Steps to Paradise”. I now feel that the sister’s version is correct. Her version is given below:
c. The house which became Chettinad Palace was not Somerville but Somerford. Mr Muthiah’s Madras Rediscovered has the correct name. Mea culpa!
I am still getting feedback and in case of any further corrections I will post them here. These corrections will be included and acknowledged in future reprints of the book.