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Some interesting reads in Kannada...

S.L. Bhyrappa by Desha KulkarniNavakarnataka publications, Rs.60Nineteen novels spread over a period of 31 years. The author divides this into two phases first: Dharmashree (1961) to Anveshana (1976) and Parva (1979) to Saartha (1998). "While the first phase is marked by emphasis on narration, in the second the internal process (antarkriye) of the characters takes the narration forward. Thought which was accelerating the tempo, now has the study of other disciplines like the Puranas, History, Music, Journalism and Psychology added to it. So, the reader also needs some special preparation," says Kulkarni. According to him, the third phase is still in the initial stage and Mandra (2002) demands different approach and yardsticks.Daatu (1973), which went on to win the Sahitya Akademi award at both the State and Central levels, has been dealt in detail in a separate chapter. The author feels it is more creative than Vamshavriksha, as it had no restrictions of an academic piece. While it is difficult to say whether Vamshavriksha was better than Ananthamurthy's Samskara, Daatu certainly captured the imagination of more readers than Bharathipura.Bhitthi (1996), Bhyrappa's autobiography, provides an insight to the background in which so many strange characters with all the details were created in his novels. Desha Kulkarni feels its first part is the important one as it moulded the personality of the writer (an array of jobs — cowshed, hotel, tent, cinema and seller of perfume sticks; Bhyrappa has also admitted little acts of stealing and copying). Mention of some incidents might have exposed some contemporary writers also (for instance, a reference to the conduct of Kirthinatha Kurtukoti after Bhyrappa declined to give the Naayineralu script for publication to a publisher favoured by him).

Novel, best medium

After realising that novel is the best medium for communication, Dr. Bhyrappa stuck to it. Writing about literature did not interest him much. Still, Naaneke Bareyuttene (1980) contains some analytical articles; Parva Baredaddu gives a glimpse of his studious and painstaking efforts. In Vimarsheya Nele Bele he attacks fellow writers (P. Lankesh and U.R. Ananthamurthy) for getting enamoured by western literature and transplanting it in their Kannada works, without studying the original philosophy and assessing the suitability to the social milieu here. Desha Kulakarni's observation: "Bhyrappa has analysed those works with a particular yardstick, it may not be acceptable to a section of readers." The notes to this essay pose some searching questions.There are many printing errors — at least 25 at the first reading itself. Use, or rather choice, of words could have been better. There is no doubt that the author's study of various literary works is both vast and deep — he points out the difficulties encountered in most of Bhyrappa's novels effectively. While appreciating Daatu, he doesn't forget mentioning certain doubts.But at some points the analysis / imagination has been stretched too far. While Mr. Kulakarni is frank enough with some works like Niraakarana, Grahana and Jalapaata, Saartha receives brief criticism and Mandra (the latest need not be the best you know) gets a long rope, even defends the work at times!The concluding part is good — it extolling the virtues of a writer like Bhyrappa. The author has taken care to avoid repetition.Bhyrappa's novels have reached the readers in other Indian languages (Parva-Punjabi, Nayineralu - Gujarathi, Vamshavriksha - Telugu). It would have been interesting to know whether those translations contained many footnotes!Some of his novels were first serialised in a newspaper or a periodical before attaining the book form. Some were made into films — one a TV serial also. H.S. MANJUNATHA



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