His persona, on stage and on screen

Kasaravalli’s documentary brings to centre stage the writer’s role as thinker and cultural critic

August 23, 2014 10:42 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:28 pm IST - BANGALORE:

The writer with director Girish Kasaravalli

The writer with director Girish Kasaravalli

Though several people attempted to adopt U.R. Ananthamurthy’s works into films and plays, Girish Kasaravalli and S.R. Ramesh were the ones who captured the intellectual persona of the writer holistically, in both mediums.

While Mr. Kasaravalli’s national award winning documentary Ananthamurthy ... not a biography ... but a hypothesis , documents his intellectual persona through a discussion of his fiction and works, Mr. Ramesh’s Endendoo Mugiyada Kathe is a collage of Ananthamurthy’s works.

It puts together the novels Avasthe, Samskara and Bharatipura , besides two short stories Clip Joint and Akasha Mattu Bekku from his later collections.

Mr. Kasaravalli’s documentary is not a biopic or a look at his works. It brings to centre stage the writer’s role as a thinker and cultural critic, his views on Gandhism and socialism.

Documentary

The documentary is a creative response of a film-maker to the writer’s huge repertoire and also to his role as a public intellectual.

“It is an attempt to depict Dr. Ananthamurthy in a new way. This documentary is not for those who want to know his biography. Its targets an audience who wants to understand intellectual facets of the writer,” he says.

Mr. Kasaravalli extracts answers through contemporary intellectuals such as Ashis Nandy, Shiv Visvanathan, Samik Bandyopadhyay and others.

An attempt to bring his works together was made by Mr. Ramesh in 2007, on stage. He directed Enendoo Mugiyada Kathe , which incidentally is the name of a collection of short stories by Dr. Ananthamurthy. Such experiments have been made only in the west with presentations on Bertolt Brecht and Oscar Wilde.

The structure of the play is unique, with the writer himself making an appearance between various episodes and filling in on controversies and debates around his writing.

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