Film-maker Girish Kasaravalli said on Sunday that the Jnanpith Award-winner late Kota Shivarama Karanth was a great humanist.

Mr. Kasaravalli was speaking after receiving the annual Dr. Shivarama Karanth Huttura Prashasti (Dr. Shivarama Karanth Birthplace Award) instituted by Kotathattu Gram Panchayat here.

Mr. Kasaravalli said that Karanth was an organic intellectual. He had made contributions to the field of literature, arts and Yakshagana. People knew Karanth as a writer, environmentalist and social thinker. But not many people knew that Karanth had also made a contribution to the field of cinema. In the 1930s Karanth had produced a film called Domingo. Three reels of this film had been discovered in Sri Lanka. Karanth had written about the principles of cinema then.

In the 1930s, cinema was a new technology and medium. Karanth had the curiosity and desire to understand this new technology. He was one of the few then to understand that cinema would become a great medium of communication. “A deep study should be conducted on Karanth's contribution to cinema,” he said.

Mr. Kasaravalli said the personality of Karanth and his works had left a deep impact on him. Some people asked him why women's roles were strong in his films. He traced this to his reading of Karanth's novels, where women came across as strong characters.

“What is most striking is that despite being multi-faceted, Karanth was a good person and completely transparent,” he said.

In this era of specialisation, there was a loss of perspective. The human values cherished by Karanth were eternal. “I am deeply touched and honoured to receive this award,” Mr. Kasaravalli said.

Minister for Higher Education V.S. Acharya said that it was befitting that the award was being given to Mr. Kasaravalli, who had won four Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus) and seven Rajat Kamal (Silver Lotus) awards for his films. He said the Government would implement the Third Finance Commission Report from 2011-12. With the implementation of this report, the local bodies would get more funds. Already the funds received by local bodies had increased since 2006, Dr. Acharya said.

A.C. Kundar welcomed the gathering.

MLC Kota Srinivas Poojary delivered the introductory remarks. President of Kotathattu Gram Panchayat Raghu Tingalaya presided over the function. Writer Jayaprakash Mavinakuli delivered the Karanth memorial lecture. Educationist K.R. Hande and taluk panchayat member Jyoti Girish were present.

The Dr. Shivarama Karanth Huttura Prashasti was instituted in 2005. Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily (2005), the former Lokayukta N. Venkatachala (2006), educationist K.R. Hande (2007), journalist Ravi Belegere (2008) and Yakshagana artiste Chittani Ramachandra Hegde (2009) have received the award so far.

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