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Friday, January 27 2023

Girish Kasaravalli: The Magician of Parallel Cinema

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Girish Kasaravalli is the pioneer of Indian Parallel Cinema and one of the greatest filmmakers of World Cinema who is globally acknowledged for art cinemas. He predominantly worked in Kannada language.

Born in Kelasur, a small village of Thirthahalli Taluk in Shivamogga District to Ganesh Rao and Lakshmi Devi couple, Kasarvalli completed his schooling in Kelasur and Kammaradi. His interest for art grew from his household itself as his father was a Yakshagana artist and also freedom fighter. He was attracted to the touring talkies which used to visit Kelasur to screen the popular Kannada films.

Girish Kasaravalli’s works are known for its creative craftsmanship and the role of Padma Shri awardee K. V. Subbanna is very significant in his life. Girish Kasaravalli’s interest in theatre and creative arts grew as he spent time in Subbana’s Ninasam during his childhood.

After his schooling he first enrolled in Sahyadri College and later MGM College. Both institutions kept Kasaravalli’s creativity and interests alive and he spent time with some of the finest artistes and poets. He completed BPharma and worked in Hyderabad. Later, he quit the field and followed his passion to grow as a filmmaker. He enrolled in Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and later graduated in 1975 with a specialisation in film direction.

The films of Kurosawa, Ozu, Fellini, Antonioni and Ray inspired him; and he was influenced by neo-realist approach in art and he brought this approach in his films too. Girish graduated from FTII with a gold medal and his experimental film “Avasesh” during his student days won the President’s Silver Lotus Award.

His initial breakthrough in the film came as an Assistant Director for B.V. Karanth’s film Chomana Dudi. Later Girish made movies that are even today acclaimed and appreciated globally.

Kasaravalli married actress Vaishali in 1978 and they’ve a daughter Ananya and son Apoorva. His feature films and documentaries earned him many State, National and International awards. Most of his movies have been screened in the Film festivals across the globe.

Kasaravalli’s work garnered fourteen National film awards, including four Best feature films – Ghatashraddha (1977), Tabarana Kathe (1986), Thaayi Saheba (1997) and Dweepa (2002). The Government of India in 2011 awarded him with Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of the country.

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Prajath Kumar Hegde

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