Rooted in local culture in adopted land

Rooted in local culture in adopted land

At the same time, he also overhears a comment from an artiste: “Why to take this man who doesn’t know the language properly?” Though he was deeply hurt by the comment, it never let him down. On the contrary, he took it as a challenge. In fact, he wrote the dialogues in Malayalam and started practicing the dialogues in a closed room.

“For days together, I practiced and when it came to stage, everybody appreciated me, because my ‘character’ was speaking in Kannada with the north Karnataka accent,” recalls noted Tulu and Kannada short film and theatre person A V Jayaraj who hails from Payyannur in Kerala. The venue was the New Mangalore Port Trust Staff’s cultural forum ‘Nandakala’s rehearsal camp.

“The actor who was supposed to play the lead role had some last minute difficulty and I was waiting to get one role,” said Jayaraj unable to hide his joy. Jayaraj was the man behind the critically acclaimed Kannada short film ‘Nadamridanga’ which won State-level and national-level awards.

“I don’t know how to write and read Kannada. But my friend Sreedharanachari came to my rescue. I read him the script and he writes it in Kannada without losing the quality and core meaning of the dialogues,” he says. Jayaraj is working as an officer in New Mangalore Port Trust. Art runs in his blood as his grandfather Kunjiramanasan was a noted ‘Ottam Thullal’ artiste.

Besides being active in the field of theatre and short films since his childhood, he was the leading artiste in the Central Valloor Arts Club. He also had an opportunity to work with famous Tamil actor turned director Manivarnan in few films. He joined NMPT in 1997, from where he started working in Kannada and Tulu short films and dramas. “My father too was a staff in NMPT and I did my schooling in Mangalore before shifting to Kannur. So I am not a new person to the language and culture of this part of the world”.

In 2007, Jayaraj directed ‘Nadamridanga,’ a one hour short film which won many awards including Special Jury award by the Federation of Film Society of India. The story and screenplay was also written by Jayaraj. “Many great people in the field called me and congratulated after watching the film. It depicts the relationship between an orthodox Brahmin and his modern son”.

Jayaraj was the director for the first forty episodes of the Tulu serial ‘Pirki Bithil’ which went on for 70 episodes, a rare achievement for a Tulu serial. Now Jayaraj is working in the backstage of the first Tulu mega serial project ‘Vasupanchaka’ which is expected to cross over 100 episodes. This story is a suspense thriller mixed with taboos.  Story and direction of the serial is by Jayaraj. The serial crew consist of Mahesh Murthy (screenplay), Mahabaleswara Holla (camera) and Subrahmanya Holla (producer).

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