wiki: Ganapathy Venkatramana Iyer

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Ganapathy Venkatramana Iyer (b. 1917)

Kannada director born in Nanjangud, Karnataka. Also major lyricist, scenarist, producer and actor, nicknamed ‘ the barefoot director’. Belongs to family of temple priests in old Mysore. Started in theatre in 1928. Career in two phases: actor-playwright for Gubbi Veeranna, scenarist for several key historicals starring Rajkumar, film-maker (usually with co-director T.V. Singh Thakore) and soughtafter lyricist-scenarist for c.65 Kannada films; then, after Reddy’s Samskara (1970), promoter of art-house cinema. Produced Karnad and Karanth’s Vamsha Vriksha (1971); directed Hamsa Geethe and first Sanskrit feature, Adi Shankaracharya. Later made another, Bhagavad Geeta. Culturally the two periods are closely linked: his recent Saint films argue for a revival of brahminical orthodoxy and Advaita philosophy to recover ‘ ancient truths’, thus returning to themes inherent in mythologicals derived from feudalbrahminical literature, music and theatre under royal patronage around the turn of the century. Early scripts for Rajkumar (e.g. Ranadheera Kanteerava, 1960) were part of a populist effort to reposition South India’s feudalism in terms of Karnataka’s regional-chauvinist movements from mid-40s onwards. His wordy prose socials, e.g. Bhoodana, and the use of classical Carnatic music in Hamsa Geethe are part of an effort to update old Mysore’s brahminical art forms seen as the pinnacle of achievement in conservative views of Karnataka’s cultural history. Also acted in e.g. Radha Ramana (1943), Bedara Kannappa (1954), Bhakta Mallikarjuna, Mahakavi Kalidasa, Sodari (all 1955), Sadarame/ Sadarama (1956), Kantheredu Nodu (1961), and Hemavathi (1977). Published Mooru Chitra Mooru Daari (1984).

FILMOGRAPHY: 1962: Bhoodana; Thayi Karulu/Thayin? Karunai; 1963: Lawyara Magalu; Bangari; 1964: Post Master; 1966: Kiladi Ranga; 1967: Rajashekhara; 1968: Mysore Tonga; Nane Bhagyavati; 1969: Chowkada Deepa; 1975: Hamsa Geethe/ Aakhri Geet; 1976: Nalegalannu Maduvavaru; 1977: Kudre Motte; 1983: Adi Shankaracharya; 1986: Madhvacharya; 1989: Shri Ramanujacharya; Wall Poster; 1992: Bhagavad Geeta.

Director