Kasturi Nivasa 1971

MANY TAKERS Shivaji Ganeshan was all praise for Rajkumar’s acting photo:

MANY TAKERS Shivaji Ganeshan was all praise for Rajkumar’s acting photo:   | Photo Credit: courtesy

Rajkumar, Aarti, Jayanti, Ashwath and Rajashankar

When the one of the greatest actors of Kannada cinema, Rajkumar, died, television channels repeatedly aired a song in tribute. The song was “Aadisidaata Besara Moodi Aata Mugisida...” from the film “Kasturi Nivasa”. The song was a contrast to another song “Aadisi Nodu Beelisi Nodu Uruli Hogadu” from the same film that was also repeated aired on telly. “Aadisidaata… depicted the helplessness of the protagonist, who realises that human will is but a puppet in the hands of destiny. “Aadisi…” featured the hero caressing his pet white dove. “Kasturi Nivasa”, provided Rajkumar with a magnanimous off-screen image.

In early 1970, the Tamil film story writer G. Balasubramanyam, had written a passionate story of love and sacrifice exclusively for Shivaji Ganeshan. He sold the rights of the story “Kasturi Nivasam” to Noor Saab for Rs. 25,000. Noor Saab engaged K. Shankar to direct. During the narration Shivaji Ganeshan seemed unsure of how the tragic theme would be accepted by the audience and Noor Saab shelved the project.

In the early part of 1971, Kannada script writer Chi. Udayashankar and Rajkumar’s younger brother S.P. Varadaraj chanced upon the project. Eventually, they coaxed B. Dorai Raj and S.K. Bhagavan, to listen to the story. Upon hearing the story, Dorai-Bhagavan, were interested in making the film with Rajkumar under their banner Anupam Movies. But they were not sure if Rajkumar would accept the role. Rajkumar, however, said, “The theme is challenging. But your understanding of Kannada audience and the market is important. I leave the choice to you.” Dorai-Bhagavan purchased the rights for Rs. 38,000.

Bangalore-based financier K. C. N. Gowda, agreed to finance Rs. 3.5 lakh for the project. Encouraged by the State Government’s subsidy scheme, which promised Rs. 50,000 for all Kannada films made under it, Dorai-Bhagavan erected the sets at Sri Kanteerava Studios and launched “Kasturi Nivasa” with Rajkumar in the lead role and Arathi, Jayanthi, Ashwath and Rajashankar in the supporting cast.

As the second day’s shooting was in progress, K. C. N. Gowda asked Bhagavan to stop shooting. He felt the film must be shot in Eastman Colour, and that he was ready to incur an additional expenditure of Rs. 5.5 lakh. But Rajkumar felt it should go on as conceived.

The shoot was completed in 21 days. On the final day of the re-recording, while scoring the background music for the climax, L. Vaidyanathan, assistant to music director G.K. Venkatesh, felt free verse would enhance the mood and add additional depth to the situation. Immediately lyricist Chi. Udayashankar was called and was made to listen to the tune on violin. That’s when he penned the famous “Aadisidaata ...”. When the film hit the screens it ran only for four weeks due to a prior agreement between producers andexhibitors. But it ran for over 100 days at many cinema halls across the State during the second and subsequent runs.

Learning of film’s success Shivaji Productions purchased the rights of the film for Rs. 2 lakh. Shivaji Ganeshan was all praise for Rajkumar’s performance. The Tamil version of “Kasturi Nivasa”, directed by K. Shankar hit the screen as “Avandan Manidan” as Shivaji Ganeshan’s hundredth film.

Remembered for: The unforgettable song “Aadisidaata” and “Aadisi Nodu Beelisi Nodu”


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