A journey in reels

Be part of the film festival organised to celebrate the 70th birthday of noted filmmaker Girish Kasaravalli

Published - December 05, 2019 04:27 pm IST

Internationally renowned Kannada filmmaker Girish Kasaravalli turned 70 on December 3. Born in Kasaravalli Village in Karnataka, Girish did his primary education at his village and later completed his B Pharmacy in Manipal. He joined Film and Television Institute, Pune. Avashesh (The Remnants) about crumbling relationships over three generations was his diploma film.

In a career spanning four decades, Girish has directed 14 feature films — all of which are based on literary works. Almost all his film have won awards. He also received the Golden Lotus Award four times and joined the league of Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Buddhadeb Dasgupta.

Auteur Adoor Gopalakrishnan calls Girish his ‘favourite director’. “There is no doubt that he is one of the brightest filmmakers of Indian cinema,” says director Shyam Benegal.

Girish evolved his own style of narration and visualisation. Though not prolific, his films made a deep impact. Girish’s debut film Ghatashraddha has the distinction of being shown in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Cinematheque de France also chose to screen this film during its Centenary celebrations of cinema. Ghatashraddha has been voted as one of the 20 best films made in the 100 years of Indian cinema by film critics and film lovers.

His films have been screened at many international film festivals — Rotterdam, Rome, Colombo, Dhaka — to name a few.

He has 25 national awards, 45 State awards and 21 international awards to his credit.

Girish is also known for making documentaries, including films on artist KK Hebbar Mrityunjaya and writer UR Ananthamurthy. He made a four-part television series on Kagodu Satyagraha, the peasant uprising in Karnataka and Grihabhanga , a 75-episode serial based on Kannada novelist S L Bhyrappa.

Banker-turned-filmmaker OP Srivastava made a documentary, Life in Metaphors, A Portrait of Girish Kasaravalli. The documentary won the National Award in the Best Biopic film category. Srivastava says, “Girish uses rain, religious practices, rituals, myths, colours as metaphors in his films, which is why I called my books and documentary Life in Metaphors .”

Manu Chakravarthy wrote a book on Girish called Culturing Realism. Critic Pradip Biswas has written books on Girish and his films including Naayi Neralu , Gulabi Talkies , Kanasembo Kudureyaneri and Kurmavataara and Shakti Sengupta has published a book The Films of Girish Kasaravalli .

Girish returns to direction, almost nine years after Koormavataara. He has just completed the shoot of his latest film Illiralaare Allige Hogalaare , based on Haalina Meese , a short story by Kannada writer Jayant Kaikini. Though the short story is set in the late 90s, Girish feels the subject is more relevant today.

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