He was a movie buff too

I had directed a film based on U R Ananthmurthy’s novel – Ghatashradha. I had immensely liked the story.

I had read it when I was in high school and was influenced by it. We both belonged to Theerthahalli. So, many details he had narrated in the novel appeared very true to me. 

Two things which became important to me were – the strong story line and looking at society in a different way. I tried to effectively capture the same. URA liked it and appreciated it. He used to encourage me by saying the adaptation was good. He used to say that a movie need not be a replica of a novel. New meanings should be explored and new dimensions should be given. 

Though I did not direct any movie based on his works later, I adopted his thinking. He nurtured a good number of writers. He did not judge anything easily, but would look at everything as a problem and then think about it. 

For some, East is wrong while West is correct. For others, it is the other way. For some, tradition is correct and scientific methods are wrong. 

But Ananthmurthy never looked at things in this fashion. He was of the view that there is truth in both and used to look for a middle path. His probing search for scientific, traditional and dharmic sides was in effect, his strength. He was open to accepting East, West and new concepts to build life. 

When I directed a documentary on Ananthmurthy - ‘Ananthmurthy, not a documentary but a hypothesis’, I understood him well. I had read all his books. I discussed the works with people who understood them better than me. It was an experience. 

He was one among very few writers who had deep knowledge and interest in Kannada films. He had recently called me and asked me to send copies of 20 movies which I liked. When asked why he wanted them, he said he would like to understand how the mind of a director functions. 

Even at the age of 82, he had such immense curiosity. I had sent him the world’s 20 best movies. Of these, he had already watched six to seven movies. 

Despite his ill health, he had the ambition to look for new things and learn new things. This really surprised me. I know many veteran writers. But after they cross a certain age, they do not bother to apply their mind to understand new things.

He used to watch plays, movies and art shows. He was equally interested in attending jathas. He was ready to join agitations. He was interested in both the environment as well as politics. He was open for all sorts of arguments and discussions. It is rare to see such people. 

Recently, I had met him as he was indisposed. He said when he was in coma he could identify the close relation between Mahatma Gandhi and China. He used to discuss with friends as to how the country should shape up and how a government should function. He was a big inspiration to me. 

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