Remembering Shankar Nag on his 65th birthday

Shankar Nag (L) and Anant Nag. Credit: DH Archives

"Taanaana tana na naana!"

The simple tune sends us back to the days of Doordarshan, watching a feel-good episode about the postmaster of a small town called Malgudi as the saviour of the day.

It is the 65th birth anniversary of Shankar Nag, a Kannada actor and director of the soap Malgudi Days.

Born and raised in Uttara Kannada in Karnataka, Shankar was the younger brother of veteran actor Anant Nag.

Shankar's interest in theatre was kindled when he shifted to Mumbai. His brother then asked him to consider a career in acting. 

He made his debut in Girish Karnad's film Ondanondu Kaladalli (1978) and played the role of Gandugali, a mercenary who joins an enemy clan to defeat his brother.

Bagging the national award for best feature film, the movie was a great success. Shankar won the Silver Peacock Award at the 7th International Film Festival of India.

Shankar met Arundhati, the woman who would become his wife, in 1973 and they were married six years later. Arundhati was also a theatre artist at the time. Arundhati has done work within the movie industry, playing supporting characters in movies like PaaDil Se and The Man Who Knew Infinity.

Shankar co-wrote the 1979 Marathi film 22 June 1897 with noted director Nachiket Patwardhan.

Malgudi Days was a special directorial opportunity for young Shankar. The show aired its first episode in 1987 and was an instant nationwide hit. Based on RK Narayan's book, it became one of the country's finest television entertainment series.

Minchina Ota (1981) was Shankar's masterpiece, in which he was the writer, director, producer and actor. It won seven state awards and a Filmfare Award for best director.

Shankar died at the age of 35 in a car crash at Anagodu village on the outskirts of Davanagere town on Sept. 30, 1990.

Shankar's work has left us with eternal memories on both the small and silver screens.

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