Marquez touched Kannada sensibility

U.R Ananthamurthy (right) releasing the CD of A.N. Prasanna's (left) Nooru Varshada Ekantha in Bangalore. Former Bangalore University Vice-Chancellor M.S. Thimmappa (second right) and critic C.N. Ramachandran are seen.— File photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.  

Colombia may be thousands of miles away from Karnataka, but its best-known writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who passed away Thursday night, has left an indelible impression on the minds of Kannada readers.

The 87-year old Latin American novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist was widely admired here and many of his works have been translated into Kannada. His novels have also been adapted to theatre.

Noted writer and translator S. Diwakar was among the first to translate Marquez’s works into Kannada. He translated the short story, There are no thieves in this town, into Kannada as Ee Urinalli Kallare Illa in the 80s.

Mr. Diwakar is now engrossed in bringing Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold , a work of allegorical fiction, into Kannada, as Ondu Saavina Munsuchana Vruttanta.

“It is not easy to translate Marquez into Kannada. To bring the tone of original work, one should have the ability to translate the longish sentences in his works without breaking them,” he told The Hindu . After Leo Tolstoy, it was Marquez who mesmerised every section of society and reached out to them, he added.

Among other writers, Narahalli Balasubrahmanya translated select short stories of Marquez as Marquez Kathegalu in 1994.

Journalist and writer Ravi Belegere adapted his Love in the Time of Cholera , which examines romantic love in myriad forms as Mandovi . Writer S. Gangadharaiah translated The Fragrance of Guava: Conversation with Gabriel Garcia Marquez into Kannada. Writer Bidarahalli Narasimhamurthy has prepared a Marquez Reader for the Karnataka Book Authority.

Writer and cine critique A.N. Prasanna translated One Hundred Years of Solitude , the widely acclaimed work and considered by many as the author’s masterpiece, into Kannada as Nooru Varshada Ekanta .

L.S. Sheshagiri Rao translated Chronicle of a Death Foretold into Kannada as Ondu Savina Vruttanta . Writer Srinivasa Vaidya recently translated No One Writes to the Colonel into Kannada .

A few enthusiastic writers have translated short stories of Marquez and published in Sunday supplements of Kannada newspapers. Rangavalli, a theatre group from Mysore, has been staging the adapted version of There are no thieves in this town in Rangashankara.

Describing Marquez as the “writers’ writer”, noted critique H.S. Raghavendra Rao said Kannada readers were attracted towards magical realism as they were disillusioned with realism and modernism.

The other reason was Indian writing tradition’s closeness to the aspect of magical realism. Pablo Neruda and Marquez influenced Indian poetry and fiction more than any other Latin American writers, he said. Artist Chandranath, who did illustrations for some of Marquez’s works in Kannada, said he cannot be called an outsider.