It is the birthday of TaRaSu, the writer based on whose books the greatest films of Kannada Nagarahavu, Akasmika, Hamsageethe, Chandanada Gombe, Benkiya Bale and many more were made. Let us have a down the memory lane with the life and works of the great writer.
The time when Kannada films were based on the great novels can be called as the golden time of the industry as many compelling movies were made during the time. The native stories made in native language were more powerful and people connected with the movies. One of the writers who can be called the inspiration for such wonderful films in Kannada through his novels is Taluku Ramaswamy Subba Rao popularly known as TaRaSu.
TaRaSu has even written screenplay and lyrics for the songs in a number of movies. Though he was a writer and is much loved by his readers, he has a great fan following in the film field too. Films based on his novels proved to be the turning point in many actors and technicians life.
Starting with Chandavalliya Thota made in 1964, the film too retained the same title. The film was directed by TV Singh and was the 50th film of Dr Rajkumar. Actress Jayanti made her debut with this movie. Popular actor Uday Kumar too played a major role in the movie. TG Lingappa composed the music. Even TaRaSu himself composed two songs for the film. Chandavalliya Thota also won the best regional film award at the National Film Awards the next year.
Later TaRaSu’s Chakratheertha was made into a movie in 1967. The writer himself wrote the screenplay, and Peketi Shivaram directed the movie. This movie too paired Rajkumar against Jayanthi, and Uday Kumar was in a major role. The title song of the film won the hearts. A song by Kannada’s one of the greatest poets D R Bendre, namely ‘Kuniyonu Bara’ was used in the film, and TG Lingappa had composed the music. This film was also remade in Telugu as ‘Chuttarikaalu’.
Next was Hamsageetha novel made into a movie by GV Iyer under the same title in 1975. But interestingly, even before it was made in Kannada, this novel was made into a Hindi movie ‘Basanth Bahar’ by Raja Navathe in 1956.
In fact, milestone Kannada movie, Puttanna Kanagal’s Nagarahavu made in 1973 was based on three novels by TaRaSu. Many might not know this, but this much-appreciated movie was not received well by the writer who called it as Kerehaavu (Rat Snake). The film Nagarahavu was based on TaRaSu’s three novels Nagarahavu, Ondu Gandu Ondu Hennu and Sarpa Matsara.
However, as the film was well appreciated and loved by the critics and people alike, TaRaSu had congratulated the crew. This movie gave Dr Vishnuvardhan the angry young man image. It also proved to be the turning point for the filmy career of Arathi, KS Ashwath, Ambareesh and Lokanath. Nagarahavu even became the first Kannada film to celebrate 100 days screening at three theatres.
Later, TaRaSu’s novels were brought to the silver screen by Dorai-Bhagavan, Chandanada Gombe (1979), Benkiya Bale (1983) and Bidugadeya Bedi (1985) gave directors Dorai-Bhagavan and music composers Rajan-Nagendra the much-needed break. With these films, Ananth Nag and Lakshmi emerged as the favourite couple.
Dorai-Bhagavan’s tragedy film Gaali Maathu (1981) was also a success. TaRaSu’s other novels Masanada Hoovu became Puttanna Kanagal’s last movie. This movie dealt with the life of a prostitute. Though the movie did not win the box office, it is considered as one of the important movies in Kannada.
Akasmika movie which came in 1993 also was based on three novels of TaRaSu, namely Akasmika, Aparadhi and Parinaama. TS Nagabharana directed this movie. This movie with Hamsalekha’s music was much appreciated by people.
Producer Parvathamma Rajkumar had brought the rights for TaRaSu’s novel Nrupatunga. A movie based on this novel has not been made yet.
Another novel of TaRaSu which was not brought on the silver screen despite trying was Durgasthamana. Rajendra Singh Babu wanted to cast Vishnuvardhan as the lead in the movie based on the novel. But this project did not start.
TaRaSu died in 1984. But through his novels and films, he will always remain close to the hearts of the people of Karnataka.