Chennai 360

THOSE WERE THE DAYS: Romulus Whitaker — Reptile man of Madras in whose name an Indian boa was named

The King and I was an American musical film based on the memoirs written by Anna Leonowens, who taught the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s. The King and I swept the Oscars, getting five of them. In 1996, a documentary, The King and I, was made for the National Geographic Channel. The major variance here was that the king in the title was not an east Asian monarch but the majestic king cobra, the sizeable venomous snake in the world supposedly capable of killing an elephant.
This film, like its namesake, received many awards, including the prestigious Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in News and Documentary Programming. The filmmaker was Asia’s Reptile Man, Romulus Whitaker, an American-born-Madras-resident.

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