Busy trains, Swami and the liveliness amongst modesty is what defined Malgudi Days, and most of our childhoods. The magic woven in these tales have enthralled us long before Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings did. These tales not only capture the beauty of the Indian way of life but have also left us with countless memories. Be it with family, friends or alone, we’ve all loved Malgudi days more than the shows on Netflix. Here we bring you a few interesting facts about the magic and the precious part of our childhood we know as Malgudi Days and the people associated with the masterpiece.
1. The Man behind Malgudi Days
R.K. Narayan was not someone who was used to giving interviews. He was also not too keen on a fan following. He turns out to be one of the first post-independence artists to bring the attention of the Western world to India.
2. The impact of Indian Literature in English
Not only did R.K. Narayan bring the attention of the Western World to Indian literature, but also earned admirers such as Graham Greene and V.S. Naipaul.
3. What’s in a name?
It is interesting to know that the name Malgudi was derived from two of the oldest locations in Bengaluru – Malleshwaram, and Basavanagudi. This happens to be because the idea of Malgudi was conceived by R.K. Narayan in Bengaluru itself. Having said that, there’s no proof to this. It is claimed to be a circulated misconception and Malgudi might be a mere fictional town from the writer.
4. Shot in Karnataka
While a major part of the series was shot in Agumbe (Shimoga District), there are prominent parts of the television series shot in Bengaluru and in Devarayanadurga (Tumakuru District).
The series was directed by Shankar Nag while Vaidyanathan composed the score. Also, R.K Narayan’s brother and an acclaimed Cartoonist, R K Laxman was the sketch artist for Malgudi Days.
5. Breaking Barriers
The kid who played Swami, Master Manjunath, was a Kannada youngster performing artist of repute who did not know an expression of Hindi. He used to memorize all his dialogues before shooting and deliver them.
The final outcome was stellar, such that viewers all over India fell in love with his character. The way that this show stays till date, loved all over, is evident of the way that language isn’t a hindrance if the story that is being told is straightforward and relatable.
6. The Man Behind Swami’s Role
Swami’s character was played by Manjunath Nayaker, who started acting at the age of 3. He has till today, acted in over 68 movies in both, Kannada and Hindi. He has also received 6 international, 1 national and one state award. Moreover, he went on to bag the role of the young Vijay Dinanath Chauhan in the 1990 film, Agneepath, who’s older counterpart was played by the angry young man – Amitabh Bachchan.
7. Karnataka to the World
The Malgudi Days had actors such as Shankar Nag, Ananth Nag, Girish Karnad, and Vishnuvardhan. All were Kannada casts but it was in the Hindi language. This showed that Shankar Nag had taken the Kannada industry to the worldwide known and still it is. It was all shot in Karnataka itself.
8. A tribute to the creator
Narayan’s House in Mysuru was opened to the public in 2016. Modeled after Shakespeare’s house in England, the museum offers the viewer a glimpse into the writer’s life. The books that R.K. Narayan wrote, the desk and chair he used, his clothes, his awards (including the Padmabhushan, the Padmavibhushan) and photographs documenting his life find space here.
Hanging on the white walls, among other things, are panels with writings from his friends such as N. Ram and Githa Hariharan, list of works and awards, and the story of the building being converted into a museum. There are stills from the TV series Malgudi Days, directed by the late Shankar Nag, that made R.K. Narayan a household name.
9. R.K. Narayan in the West
R.K. Narayan was given a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation in the United States. It was during this time that our literary wizard delivered several lectures at Michigan State University and the University of California, Berkley. He was awarded the AC Benson Medal by the (British) Royal Society of Literature in 1980. He was an honorary member of this prestigious society. In 1982, he was elected an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was also nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature several times.
10. The show today
You can relive the magic of Malgudi and pass it on, on Hotstar. If you want to watch it otherwise, you can find various episodes of this magical journey on YouTube.
There’s no reason why Malgudi Days shouldn’t be on your watch list. Whether you choose to binge watch or to enjoy it with your family or friends, Malgudi Days is simply a time-tested masterpiece.
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