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Unusual children's film

Devara Makkalu: stark realities

THE MISCONCEPTION that only fun-filled or adventure-oriented films can be categorised as children's films, to an extent, was responsible for the dismal showing of actor J.K. Srinivasa Murthy's maiden directorial venture, Devara Makkalu. True, the film was a serious one, dealing with issues direly affecting children such as child labour, illiteracy, alcoholism of parents, broken homes, and the like. But it was a watch-worthy venture both for children and adults alike for its stark portrayal of reality.

It is gratifying that although Devara Makkalu sunk without a murmur, it has been selected for the Children's World Section of the Golden Elephant 13th International Film Festival to be held at Hyderabad for a week from November 14. For Srinivasa Murthy, the film's selection is a vindication of his stance that today's city-bred children especially need to be made aware of the life of their less-privileged counterparts, and that official apathy is as much responsible for the ills befalling children. Namma Makkalu, made in the '60s, was the first children's film made in Kannada. Nagarahole, Chinnari Muttha, Putani Agent 1,2,3, and Simhada Mari Sainya are only a few of the other films in that slot which were successful.

Srinivasa Murthy is one of the more seasoned artistes in Kannada cinema, although, of late, he has taken to the small screen.

His beginnings have been from theatre, and he has continued to work as a stage artiste in both professional and amateur theatre. He has acted in over 175 films in Kannada, and produced and directed TV serials such as Anna Basavanna, which sketched the life and teachings of the 12th Century reformer.

The serial for ETV received much appreciation. Karapala Mela, a documentary on a folk tale of Karnataka, has been another directorial venture of Srinivasa Murthy, who won the State award for best supporting actor in 1982 and 1999. His son, Nitil Krishna, plays the lead role in Devara Makkalu, while his elder son, Naveen Krishna, has sung a song for the film.


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