Cinema as a medium of story-telling is a profound and subtle witchcraft which allows us to experience a life scripted and orchestrated. The moment we connect to the pulse of a story being narrated, it unfolds the uncharted layers which are beyond the story itself. We have been watching Cinema of a different kind but only a few have made a mark to stay with us and continue to reverberate in a sky-scraping pitch. You call them iconic, classic or an exemplary craft, some movies are simply beyond time. One such masterpiece work that graced the Kannada film industry is the movie Naagarahaavu. Created by a genius filmmaker of all times, Mr. Puttanna Kangal, Naagarahaavu revolves around the protagonist’s relationship with his teacher, Chamayya.
After 46 years of its release, Naagarahaavu had hit the screens again in its digitized version on July 20, 2018. Such an iconic movie being re-created adapting to today’s trend and wind, let’s take a re-look at Naagarahaavu and few legends attached to it, on today’s read.
The Movie is based on T.R Subba Rao’s three Novels
Naagarahaavu is a 1973 Indian Kannada language film directed by Puttanna Kanagal. The movie was based on T.R Subba Rao’s (Ta.Ra.Su) three novels; Naagarahaavu, Ondu Gandu Eradu Hennu, and Sarpa Mathsara. Ta.Ra.Su is an eminent Novelist whose most of the novels have become Cinema and eventually, all are blockbusters. The original story was based on painter Madhugiri Ramu and his teacher Shaamayya which was later adapted with necessary changes for the movie Naagarahaavu. Ramu was a gifted painter, whose paintings have admired the North Gate of Mysuru Palace.
Anger, Love and a Devastating End
The story of Naagarahaavu revolves around the characters ‘Ramachari’ played by Dr.Vishnuvardhan and Chamayya Meshtru, played by K.S Ashwath. The uncanny relationship between a master and his disciple is the highlight of the movie. Ramachari is portrayed as an angry young man, compared to Cobra, Dangerous yet respected but a misfit in the society. The two women he encounters in his life, lost and found and again lost in an agony to kill his own master (unintended) – Naagarahaavu as a story lives forever.
The Making of Tomorrow’s Stars
Puttanna Kanagal introduced Sampath Kumar and Amarnath who eventually morphed as leading actors in Kannada Cinema. The success of Naaagrahaavu paved way for the stardom of Vishnuvardhan and Ambareesh. The characters became iconic and the actors became dear to Kannada audience.
The Angry Young Man
Ramachari was a never compromising character that roared in anger and pride. The character was brilliantly built by Puttanna and the way Vishnuvardhan lived the role was a treat to watch. Ramachari and his anger pushed him to situations which were uncertain, inevitable but the pride he carried never went uncompromised.
Rajnikanth for Jaleela’s Character
A character played by Ambareesh was first offered to Rajnikanth. The iconic character which gave a turn to Ambareesh’s Cine career was not in his destiny. However, things rolled and today, when we say Ambareesh, Jaleela comes in front. Jaleela is a flirt who appears in a couple of scenes but leaves an unprecedented charm on the audience.
A Turning Point
This was a turning point movie in the Kannada film industry which gave birth to many stars. From Vishnuvardhan. Ambareesh to Loknath, Naagarahaavu gave limelight to Shivaram, Dheerendra Gopal and others. K.S Ashwath became Karnataka’s Chamayya Meshtru and it was also a comeback movie for Puttanna Kanagal in many ways.
Kalpana for Obavva’s Character
In a song picturized on Chitradurga’s lore, we see Jayanthi playing the character of Obavva. The way Jayanthi played Obavva and the fierce she carried is simply mesmerizing. However, the role was first offered to Kalpana (a popular actress).
Writer’s Brutal Critics
As mentioned before, Naagarahaavu is based on three novels written by Ta.Ra.Su Many might not know this, but this much-appreciated movie was not received well by the writer who called it Kerehaavu (Rat Snake). However, as the film was well appreciated and loved by the critics and people alike, Ta.Ra.Su had congratulated the crew.
First Indian Movie to have a Song Shot in Slow-motion
It is a matter of pride for Kannadigas to say that the first Indian song to have shot in slow-motion is Baare Baare Chendada Cheluvina Taare from the movie Naagarahaavu. This was two decades before Mansoor Khan shot Pehla Nasha for Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikander.
The First Kannada Movie to celebrate 100 Days screening at three theatres
Yes, Naagarahaavu holds the record for being the first Kannada movie to complete 100 days in three centers.
Remade to other Languages
Naagarahaavu was remade in Hindi, titled Zehreela Insaan with Rishi Kapoor in lead, directed by Puttanna himself. It was also remade in Tamil as Raaja Naagam with Sreekanth playing the lead role.
Awards and Accolades
- Filmfare Award South, 1973
- Filmfare Special Award for Excellent Performance – Dr. Vishnuvardhan
- Karnataka State Film Awards 1972-73
- Second Best Film
- Best Actor – Vishnuvardhan
- Best Actress – Aarathi
- Best Supporting Actor – K S Ashwath
- Best Supporting Actress – Shubha
- Best Story Writer – Tha Ra Su
- Best Screenplay – SR Puttanna Kanagal
- Best Dialogue Writer – Chi Udayashankar
So, this was about the Kannada classic, Naagarahaavu. We hope that you found the article interesting. Let us take your leave with this iconic dialogue from the movie – Bari Haavalla Meshtre, Naagarahaavu.
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