Crowning Glory: How this Mysuru salon has kept Kannada's literary tradition alive for 25 years

The salon has a collection of works by Kannada poets and writers on display for the customers to read while they get their haircut done

Fancy a literary haircut in a Kannada hairstyle salon? Then you should definitely check out what this salon in Chamundipuram of Mysuru offers. With quirky names for services – including Kuvempu cuttingGokak Face Massage and Da Ra Bendre bleaching –  the Super Style Men's Parlour has caught the attention of a lot of people in and across Karnataka.

Unlike other salons in the city where putting up posters of local and international movie stars and models are a norm, Super Style Men's Parlour is instead covered with portraits of Jnanapeeth awardees from the state. Run by V Manjunath, a former corporator at Mysuru City Corporation, the salon is a standing tribute to the literary legends to keep alive the state's rich literary tradition in a stylish and unique way, to make it appealing to people in the city. Incidentally, the salon is entering its 25th year on Friday, the Kannada Rajyotsava Day.

"Usually, it is the film stars who are a regular feature at saloons, but when I started the parlour in 1995, instead of reel stars, I decided to promote real stars of Karnataka," said Manjunath, adding that he was partly inspired by the speeches of Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj. "I did not just want to stop at the portraits, to catch the curiosity of people, I named the services after Jnanapeeth awardees," he added.

"Gokak movement changed the face of Kannada struggle, hence we have Gokak face massage; Kuvempu used to do machine cutting, hence I named it Kuvempu cutting, B V Karanth had little hair, hence we have Karanth hair setting, and Ananthamurthy was famous for his beard, hence we have the beard trimming service named after him," Manjunath said.

The salon has a collection of works by Kannada poets and writers on display for the customers to read. "I wanted to celebrate and spread the greatness of this beautiful language all day long, not just on a particular day," he added.

Manjunath stated that he has been happy with his efforts since many people still come in search of the salon, and those on a chance visit, often ask him about the poets. On being asked about the invasion of new hairstyles, on a lighter note, Manjunath said it was never his botheration since most of the old styles are making a comeback now. The side-trimmed look, which is popular now, is "nothing but a modification of Kuvempu cutting," he said in an amused tone.

Asked about his future plans, he said that he wants to revive his plans to start a women's salon, to celebrate women authors of Kannada and he expects it to coincide with a lady getting Jnanapeetha from the state.