Reaching a milestone

Reaching a milestone

Looking back

Reaching a milestone

Noted film producer M Bhaktavatsala rued the increasing gulf between films and literature while sharing his journey in Sandalwood at the ‘Belli Hejje’ programme organised by the Information Department at Gandhi Bhavan on Saturday.

The veteran film personality said, “Films based on novels with rich literary and human values dominated the Kannada film industry between 1970 and 1980. But of late, that relationship between the film industry and literature is lost in the din of remade films.”

He also recalled the camaraderie and friendship between film producers, directors and artistes. “This bonding enabled a healthy debate among them to make good novel-based films like ‘Sandhya Raaga’ and ‘Samskara’. The film industry, however, has changed now,” he said. Recalling his days as president of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce for seven long years, Bhaktavatsala said the state’s film body was a model to others in the country.

 “I had the good fortune of unconditional support from other office-bearers. Many wondered and were curious about the unity and solidarity displayed by the KFCC. We were a model to other film bodies,’’ he recalled.

Revealing his love for acting, Bhaktavatsala said that had he not joined Deccan Herald started by his uncle Netkallappa, he would have become an actor. “While working in Deccan Herald, I was more inclined towards higher studies and went to London,’’ he said. On returning from London, he worked in various capacities in HMT before taking a plunge into the film industry.

The industry, however, was not new to him. Bhaktavatsala’s uncle Lakshmi Narayanaswami had started ‘Vahini’, a film studio in Chennai in 1930. “I had an idea about films and the industry,’’ he said. He talked about how management techniques were effectively used while he was a distributor, exhibitor and as president of the KFCC.

Saying that noted actor Anant Nag was his all-time favourite, Bhaktavatsala recollected playing a villain in a movie with him and Lakshmi. “It is very rare we find such an actor at the national level,’’ he said, terming Nag as one of the best actors.

Bhaktavatsala said that he was offered a Janata Party ticket by former chief minister late Ramakrishna Hegde, to contest the Assembly election from Chikkaballapur.

“I declined the offer as I was upset with the behaviour of the political leaders,” he said.
He, however, relished his stint as the head of ‘Karnataka Mountaineering Club’. “I love climbing mountains. When I was the president, I ensured that I climbed mountains every year,’’ he said, adding that he reached the summit of several mountains from Jammu and Kashmir to West Bengal.

Sharing his relation with ‘Jnanpith’ awardee late Shivarama Karanth, Bhaktavatsala said that he had an opportunity to closely associate with the author for two years on a survey related to Indian cinema. “Karanth wrote a full chapter on me in his novel ‘Aleda Mele’,’’ he said and added that it was unfortunate that they couldn’t meet after that association. “Once he wrote a letter asking me to meet him. That meeting never happened as the author died three days after writing the letter,’’ an emotionally charged Bhaktavatsala said.

Earlier, former additional chief secretary N Chiranjeevi Singh released ‘Gopi Circle’, a book authored by Bhaktavatsala. The Information Department organised an exhibition of rare photographs of Bhaktavatsala with prominent personalities. Chairman of Gandhi Memorial Trust Ho Sreenivasaiah, Nandini Bhaktavatsala and Information Department director Vishu Kumar were present on the occasion.  

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox