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Actor, producer M.P. Shankar is dead

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Wildlife enthusiast: A file picture of actor and director M.P. Shankar with the awards he won, at his residence in Mysore.
Wildlife enthusiast: A file picture of actor and director M.P. Shankar with the awards he won, at his residence in Mysore.

Staff Correspondent

He won the hearts of people for his role as Veerabahu in ‘Satya Harischandra’

He acted in 108 films and produced 16 films

He acted with Rajkumar in many films

MYSORE: Actor, producer and director, M.P. Shankar (73), who carved out a niche for himself in the Kannada film industry by underlining the importance of protecting forest and wildlife, died at his residence here on Thursday after a prolonged illness. He is survived by wife and two children.

Shankar was known for his gentle behaviour in the film industry was an imposing personality. He acted in 108 films and produced 16 films under his production banner “Bharani Films.” He acted with thespian Rajkumar in many films. Gandhada Gudi, the film he produced with Dr. Rajkumar in the lead role, brought him laurels. He also made Gandhada Gudi Part II with Shivarajkumar, son of Dr. Rajkumar in the lead role to project the danger to wildlife and forest in the changed scenario.

The Karnataka Government honoured M.P. Shankar by awarding the Rajyotsava Award and Dr. Raj Award for his contribution to the film industry. Kallarali Hoovagi, directed by T.S. Nagaaharana, was the last film he acted.

Born in 1935, Shankar made a humble beginning as an employee of the railway workshop in Mysore and rose to become a popular film actor and producer. It was senior film producer, Hunsur Krishnamurthy, who introduced him to films through Rathnamanjari in 1962. With his role as Veerabahu in Satya Harishchandra and the song “Kuladalli Keelyavudo…”, M.P. Shankar won the hearts of people. Though he acted in over 100 films, it was his role in Bhootayyana Maga Ayyu, directed by Siddalingaiah, brought him name and fame. He excelled himself as stingy “Bhootayya.”

Shankar etched a mark in the minds of people with his roles in Mayura, Naagarahaavu, Mayor Muthanna, Bhoolokadalli Yamaraja, Doorada Betta, Devara Makkalu, Giddu Daada and Veera Sankalpa. He ventured into direction through Kallara Kalla, besides producing films. In his endeavour to produce films on wildlife, Shankar took huge financial risks and paid a heavy price for that.

Before entering the film industry, Shankar showed lot of interest in building his body he was a wrestler by training. He was a professional theatre artist and people in Mysore still remember his roles in Gadha Yuddha, Echchama Nayaka, Yalahanka Bhoopala and Raja Gopichand.

Shankar was an entrepreneur by nature. He commenced “Nehru Desheeya Vastraalaya” in Banamaiah Circle, which was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Shankar slipped in the bathroom of his house recently and was rushed to Vikram Hospital. He was operated on his upper portion of hip bone and recovered. Noted actor Vishnuvardhan called on him at the hospital.

Shankar was also treated for pancreatic cancer, according to family sources. When he was critically ill in April 2007, the Government extended financial help to him.

He was pained when a section of media described his condition as pitiable and that he was in dire need of economic support. In a rejoinder he said that he did not need pity or sympathy, what he needed was a little encouragement in that critical phase of his life.

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