'I never dreamt of writing screenplay'

'I never dreamt of writing screenplay'

Though I was born in a small village called Perla in Kasargod, I had passion towards cinema in my younger days. However, I had never dreamt of writing screenplay for a cinema and winning a national award for the same.” These are the words of eminent writer Gopalakrishna Pai, who won the national award for the Best Screenplay for the year 2009.

Speaking to City Herald, he said, “I am very happy for two reasons. Firstly, my first screenplay has been adjudged as the best by the jury. Secondly, I had the opportunity to work with noted filmmaker Girish Kasaravalli.” Pai worked with Kasaravalli in the film ‘Kanasemba Kudureyanneri’ and the screenplay of the film, which was written jointly by Pai and Kasaravalli, earned a national award as the Best Screenplay.

Born on March 25, 1947, in a family known as Ballambet Pai Family, as the 6th child to Subraya Pai - Subhadra Bai couple, Gopalakrishna Pai had done his schooling at S N High School in Perla. After the completion of Pre-University at Vivekananda College in Puttur, he did BSc in Biology at Vijaya College in Mulki. Pai later joined Canara Bank as a clerk and worked at Bangalore, Hassan, Mysore, Delhi, Hubli, Mumbai, Savadatti and retired as Senior Manager at Bangalore in 2007.

Pai used to write short stories in Kannada right from college days itself and has won many prizes. Many of the short stories were published in many anthologies. The first collection of short stories ‘Thiruvu’ was published in 1985 by Kavyalaya, Mysore. The second collection “Ee Berala Gurutu” was published in 2001 by Lipi Prakashana. The third collection ‘Haaruva Hakkiya Goodina Daari’ was published in 2005.

After a short stay in China, Pai took up the project of translating Chinese modern short stories and published a collection of 18 Chinese stories under the title ‘Aadhunika Cheeni Sanna Katheglu’ in 2007. Later, he translated BBC Correspondent Mark Tully’s  ‘India: An Unending Journey’ in 2008. ‘Vicchinnaru,’ s small novel written by Pai, was published in 1978.

‘Swapna Saraswata’
His novel ‘Swapna Saraswata,’ which tells the story of seven generations of 200 years, is a milestone in the history of Kannada literature. “My novel portrays the life of seven generations without making readers perplexed. The novel, which is based on migration, starts from the 16th century when the Portuguese arrived. It lasts till the arrival of the British in 18th century,” he said adding that the novel explains the shift in society.

Pai took up a freelance research work on GSB Community in 1990. He read about 4000 books on them, travelled the West Coast for umpteen times and discussed the historical details with temple authorities and church priests extensively and prepared notes for about 2000 pages. He took about 15,000 photographs to write the huge novel Swapna Saraswata. The Original draft was about 620 pages, which was revised 6 times and braught to the present version of 475 page and published it in 2009. Pai said that the translation work of this novel into English, Marati, Malayalam, Hindi, Bengali and Tamil has already commenced.

Presently, Pai is working on two films, one in Kannada and another in Konkani, both are not yet titled. He is also busy in writing another novel, which is also yet to be titled.

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