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Updated: May 23, 2013 10:13 IST

A good, long look at the ‘person and the personality’

Muralidhara Khajane
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Director, Girish Kasaravalli. Photo: Sampath Kumar
The Hindu
Director, Girish Kasaravalli. Photo: Sampath Kumar

Kasaravalli is working on a documentary on Ananthamurthy

National Award-winning film director Girish Kasaravalli is a busy man. He is giving shape to a 60-minute documentary on Jnanpith Award-winning writer U.R. Ananthamurthy.

Mr. Kasaravalli, who completed three days of shooting before Dr. Ananthamurthy left for London to attend the Man Booker International Prize ceremony, is waiting for the onset of the monsoon to take the writer to his native village, Melige in Tirthahalli taluk of Shimoga district, to continue filming.

Writer P. Gopalakrishna Pai, a recipient of the Central Sahitya Academy Award, is assisting Mr. Kasaravalli in scripting the documentary and G.S. Bhaskar is the cinematographer. According to the director, the documentary will be ready by July-end.

This is not the first time a documentary is being made on Dr. Ananthamurthy. As many as eight documentaries, including those made by Abhay Simha, Krishna Masadi, and Hariharan, are already out there.

The motivation

So what motivated Mr. Kasaravalli to take up this assignment? The idea cropped up during the Samskrithi Shibira (cultural camp) held at Heggodu last year, says the filmmaker. Some of Mr. Kasaravalli’s Bengali friends asked him to do a documentary on the “person and the personality”.

Mr. Kasaravalli was initially hesitant, as he has not made any documentary, except for one on artist K.K. Hebbar.

He agreed after a lot of persuasion from his writer friends Gopalakrishna Pai and N. Manu Chakravarthy.

Connection with URA

Incidentally, Mr. Kasaravalli’s debut film, Ghatashraddha, which won the Swarna Kamal, is based on a short story by Dr. Ananthamurthy.

“Till now I have read only novels and short stories by Dr. Ananthamurthy. After making up my mind, I started reading all his works. It was like reading them in a new light. As my process of visualisation is different, I watched all the documentaries on him to understand how differently we can make this one,” Mr. Kasaravalli said.

He sent a proposal to Films Division of India, which was instantly approved, and commenced shooting.

‘Difficult task’

Admitting that it is a difficult task to capture the persona of Dr. Ananthamurthy, a writer, poet, thinker and intellectual, Mr. Kasaravalli said: “We are making an honest attempt to capture his thought process. I do not know to what extent I will succeed.”

“It will not be in the form of introducing [Dr.] Ananthamurthy to people. It is a visual reconstruction of his personality and it will be unveiled through discussions with people who know him well,” he said.


Apart from Malnad, the documentary will be shot in various places, where Dr. Ananthamurthy has left a mark.

Personalities, including Ashis Nandy, Shiv Viswanathan, H.S. Raghavendra Rao, C.N. Ramachandran and Mr. Chakravarthy will be interviewed, he said.

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