Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Puttannanavara Chitragala Vivara

23 Movies from the great director Puttanna Kanagal

Kannada chitra rangada bangaaradha yuga (Golden age of Kannada film industry)

One of the doyens of Kannada film industry, a committed person to make Kannada films shine in the international scene, a perfected technician, a person of great social responsibilities, and above all a person who knew the ins and outs of film making. Mr. Puttanna Kanagal represented the Indian directors in a director's summit in Russia.
He is one of the greatest filmmakers who transcended the technical limitations of his time in filmmaking. His film "Maanasa Sarovara" is one of the finest on human psychology. His portrayal of "AmruthaghaLige" i.e., "The most auspicious moment" in the film "AmuthaghaLige" is his concern for Social change. His depiction of the tenderness of love in "Saakshaatkaara" shows his ability to handle an otherwise boring story in a way liking to the audiences.
Below I would like to list his works in Kannada. His works, though includes films in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam, are very few and so a list of them is given at the end. His works are only mentioned here. His works are best understood by watching them in action. My inert pen cannot convey all the action he brought on the screen. This is a small tribute to a great personality who made a considerable value addition to the world of filmmaking.

1) Bellimoda (literally means-Silver Cloud)
A film with close association with the literary personalities of Kannada. The film is based on Ms. Triveni's Novel "bekkina kaNNu". It has a few wonderful songs which are hummed even today. Dr. Da. Ra. Bendre's "mUDaNa maneyA muttina nIrina erakaava hoydaa" brings on the scene the "minugutaare" (shining star) .
Kalpana, who later worked with the director in another similar film called "sharapaMjara". She played tragic roles in both the films, which displayed her as a complete actress. Mr. Puttanna was restless to see the morning Sunrise in black and white, which he could see in colour through his camera but not on the silver screen. This film started a generation of good movies which led the golden age of Kannada film industry. Mr. Puttanna wandered one full week to search a tree from where the sunrise would be grand to match the lines of Dr. Bendre's lines, and he finally could locate one near Chickmagalur (The coffee district of Karnataka), and this tree has additional significance in the film.
Cast: Kalyan Kumar, Kalpana, Pandari Bai, Ashwath
Songs: Dr. Da.Ra. Bendre, Vijayanarasimha
Music: Vijayabhaskar

2) Mallammana Pavaada (1969)
A village leader's son is drugged and made dumb by his own step mother who wants her "own" son to get the property of her husband. To culminate the dumb fellow's fate she gets him married with a village lass (Mallamma), who educates him-besides getting herself educated. Thus she makes him capable of understanding what is happening around. Sounds the storyline is familiar? Yes you are right, the Hindi movie "beTa" is a poor copy of this Puttanna's original movie. Unfortunately Ravichandran made this very movie in Kannada as a remake (Annayya). An astoundingly good social story line wonderfully narrated by Puttanna made ripples in the filmdom and paved the way for some really good movies. As a typical characteristic of Puttanna Kanagal's movies, this film also has good music, wonderful display of characters. Listen to "Ever Lively" L.R. Eshwari's song "aashaa vilaasi".
Cast: Dr. Rajkumar and others
Songs: Kanagal Prabhakar Shastry
Music: Vijaya Bhaskar

3) Kappu Bilupu (1969)
A movie with the highlight of Puttanna's movies, i.e., fine music. Listen to P. Susheela's Golden hour, the song "ee chendada maneyalli" and "amma ninna tOLinalli kaMda naanu"
Cast: Rajesh, Kalpana and others
Songs: R.N. Jayagopal
Music: R. Ratna

4) Gejje Puje (1969)
A film to bring social awareness about a rampant problem of all times. This story is about a woman who is branded a "whore", and about how her child is innocently wants to know what it really means. A brilliant acting by Ashwath, Lokanath and Leelavathi. The film also has the portrayal of the innocence of childhood which is a common feature in Steven Spielberg's films.
The usual highlights of Puttanna's films like, carrying the audience without boring, good songs, sensible story handling and with a social touch are well witnessed in the movie. Songs like "gagnavu ellO.. bhUmiyu ellO..", "paMchamavEda prEmada naada" are from this movie.
Cast: Ashwath, Leelavathi, Lokanath and others
Songs: Vijayanarasimha
Music: M. Ranga Rao

5) KaruLina Kare (1970)
Dr. Raj and Puttanna together make this a fine movie. Listen to the song "maisUru dasara, eshToMdu suMdara" by P.B. Srinivas
Cast: Dr. Rajkumar, Renuka, Kalpana and others
Lyrics: R.N. Jayagopal
Music: M. Ranga Rao

6) Sharapanjara (1971)
Probably actress Kalpana's best performance. The storyline deals with human psychology. Has best music with songs like "biLigiri raMgayya", "uttara dhRuvadiM dakshiNa dhruvakU", "koDagina kaavEri", "saMdEsha mEgha saMdEsha".
One more interesting thing is Puttanna could make heroine centric films like this one and make them commercially successful. So, it was the director's movie rather than a hero's movie.
Cast: Kalpana, Gangadhar
Songs: Dr. Da.Ra. Bendre, Vijayanarasimha
Music: Vijayabhaskar

7) Sakshathkara (1971)
One of the finest movies I have ever seen. The tenderness of love is depicted at its best. Has the best music. Has Dr. Raj with Puttanna for the third time (after Mallammana Pavada and Karulina Kare). Never to miss the song "olave jeevana saakShtkaara". Also has Narasimharaju with some real good humour. Mr. Prithviraj Kapoor has given one of his greatest performances as father of Dr. Raj in the movie.
Cast: Dr. Raj, Vajramuni, Jamuna, Narasimharaju, Prithviraj Kapoor, Balakrishna
Songs: Kanagal Prabhakara Shastry
Music: M. Ranga Rao

8) Nagara Haavu (1972)
This movie gave two actors to Kannada film industry, who later went on to get millions of fans. This movie introduced Vishnuvardhan (Puttanna renamed "Kumar" as Vishnuvardhan and told he should become as famous as the king by the name) and Ambarish. This is the only movie which had Vishnuvardhan in all of Puttanna's movies. After this movie, Chitradurga and its surroundings became tourist places. The movie has finest music and a song introduces 'Abhinaya Sharade' Jayanthi as 'Obavva'- the wife of a watch guard who became immortal after the war that followed.. Jayanti still remembers this role of her as her career's best performance. One more important thing is the versatility Puttanna brought in each of his films. Jayanthi though had a historical role, in her next project with Puttanna, she was given a role of 'fallen lady' in the film 'Edakallu guddada mele'. This movie is based on the novel by another famous writer of Kannada Mr. Ta. Ra. Subbarao.
Cast: Vishnuvardhan, Ambarish, Shivaram, Ashwath, Leelaavathi
Songs: Vijayanarasimha, R.N. Jayagopal
Music: Vijayabhaskar

9) Edakallu Ghuddadha mele (1973)
The movie has a social storyline. Jayanthi and Arathi have given their finest performances. Chandrashekhar (the hero of the movie) is caught between morals and pleasure. Has some of the finest songs of all times. The song "viraha nUru nUru taraha" personified Vijayanarasimha as "Virahanarasimha". Other humming tunes from the movie are "saMOsha Elu svaragaLa", "nillu nille pataMga", "saMnyaasi arjuna saMnyaasi", "guMDina mattE gammattu" still have their top position among good musical hits.
Cast: Chandrashekhar, Jayanthi, Arathi and others
Songs: Vijayanarasimha,
Music: M. Ranga Rao

10) Upaasane (1974)
A musical extravaganza. The film has a spiritual storyline. The music is the highlight of the movie. The movie is undeclared tribute to the trinities of Carnatic music (Shyama Shastry, Thyagaraja and Muttuswami Dikshitar). The lyricists have rendered their best creative works for the movie. I cannot point out a single song as movie's highlight. The songs "bhaaratha bhooshira", "bhaavaveMba hoovu arali", "aachaaravillada naalige" are fantastically adopted in the film.
Cast: Arathi, Leelavathi, Laxmidevi, K.S. Ashwath, S. Seetharam, Vajramuni, Musuri Krishnamurthy
Songs: Purandhara Dasaru, Vijayanarasimha, Chi. Udayashankar
Music: Vijayabhaskar

11) Shubha MaMgaLa (1975)
Puttanna's portrayal of Shubha Mangala (meaning the reunion) is the uniting of the lovers. Film has a fine story, fine songs. Srinath appeared for the first time in Puttanna's film. Srinath's image as "Pranaya Raja" is depicted through the song "Hoovondu baLibaMdu".
Cast: Srinath, Arathi, Shivaram and others
Songs: Vijayanarasimha, M.N. Vyasa Rao
Music: Vijayabhaskar

12) Kathaa Sangama (1975)

As the name says, it is made with three stories of three different writers.
Puttanna's prolific capability of writing the story script is well exhibited through this movie. Obviously the story was fantastic and the technical work.
Cast: Rajnikanth,Arathi and others
Songs: Vijayanarasimha
Music: Vijayabhaskar

13) Bilee Hendti (1975)
This film brought Kasthuri Shankar who sang the song "raMgEna haLLiyaage" with Vani Jayaram. The film has a tragic storyline. The tragic story is very well handled by Puttanna. The song "raMgEna haLLiyaage" is taken from a popular folk story which I had heard in our homes. The songs popularity inpired the making of another film with the name "raMgEna haLLiyaage raMgaada raMgEgouDa".
Dont' miss to listen to the song "yaava taayiyu paDeda maganaadarEnu"
Cast: Arathi,Anil Kumar,Margaret Thompson,Leelavathi
Songs: Vijayanarasimha
Music: Vijayabhaskar

14) Phalitamsha (1976)
The film brought "Mogambo" Amarish Puri into Kannada films. A fine movie with good music and a very good story. Listen to Vani Jayaram in the song "Love eMdare..."
Cast: Amarish Puri and others
Songs: Vijayanarasimha, Shyamasundar Kulkarni, R.N.Jayagopal
Music: Vijayabhaskar

15) Kaaleju RaMga (1976)
Some spirited music and "metallica" like songs. A film made in a different dimension then Puttanna's usual way. The songs like "Colleju raMgadalli". The story unfolds in a college campus.
Cast: Ambarish and others
Songs: Vijayanarasimha, Chi. Udayashankar
Music: Upendrakumar

16) Paduvaarahalli Paandavaru (1978)
One of the finest movies comparable to anytime anywhere movies.
Five people fight against the misdeeds of the so called "head" of a village and his followers. Has some of the finest songs like "janma neeDida bhUtaayiya", "tUkadisi tUkaDisi bILadiro tamma". Puttanna's careful observation has not left to expose how Hindi can be a language of deceit through two characters who claim not to know Kannada but only Hindi and collect money through the "head" of the Village and try to flee the village. But through dramatic events they get caught. Not to miss the song "kaNNa muchchi kuLitare", "Esu varsha aithe niMge"
Cast: Ambarish, Ramakrishna, Jai Jagadish, Ashok, Dhirendra Gopal, Arathi and others
Songs: Vijayanarasimha, R.N. Jayagopal
Music: Vijayabhaskar

17) Dharmasere (1979)
Remember the songs "kaMdaa, O muddu kaMdaa.." and "mUka hakkiyu haaDutide", "ee saMbhaaShaNe namma I prEma saMbhaaShaNe"? These superb songs are from this movie. The movie has a very touching storyline.
Cast: Arathi, Srinath, Musuri Krishnamurthy and others
Songs: Vijayanarasimha
Music: Upendrakumar

18) Ranganaayaki (1981)
Another gem of a movie which won the national award for Puttanna and for Kannada. The story has a daring subject in which one falls in love his own mother not knowing she is his mother. The tragic ending ends the life of "raMganaayaki". Ambarish, Ashok, Ramakrishna, Arathi have given their finest performances in this movie. Fine songs like "jai jagadaMbe", "maMdaara pushpavu neenu", "kannaDa naaDina rasikara manavaa", "jai hRudaya jhEMkaara" and some of
the adoptations of "raMgabhUmi" (theatrical music) are the highlights of the movie.
Cast: Ambarish, Arathi, Ashok, Ramakrishna, Musuri Krishnamurthy and others
Songs: Vijayanarasimha, R.N. Jayagopal
Music: M. Ranga Rao

19) Maanasa Sarovara (1982)
Probaly the finest movie with a subject exhibiting the human psychology. This movie redefined the image of two actors (Srinath and Ramakrishna).
While Srinath proved that he is an actor of content, Ramakrishna got the image of a playboy through this movie. This movie also introduced another fine actress Padmavasanthi. The movie is concpicuously important as this was made after a similar tragic incident in the life of Puttanna. Some never to miss songs like "vEdaaMti hELidanu", "maanasa sarOvara", "cheMda cheMda", and Poet G.S. Shivarudrappa's poem "haaDu haLeyadaadarEnu" are simply superb and their picturization. The dialogues are awe inspiringly simple and good.
The movie won Puttanna awards and accollades. Vijayanarasimha penned a song which was a tribute to Puttanna "O guNavaMtha, O guNavaMtha" (in the movie masaNada hUvu).
The movie is filmed in Sandur and nearby places. The location, the songs, the picturization are all wonderfully crafted to bring the poetic moments Puttanna wants to bring in the minds of audiences.
Cast: Srinath, Ramakrishna, Padmavasanthi, Mysore Lokesh, Vaishali Kasaravalli
Songs: Vijayanarasimha, R.N. Jayagopal, Dr. G.S. Shivarudrappa and others
Music: Vijayabhaskar

20) Dharani Mandala Madhyadolage (1983)
Listen to the song "geLati O geLati", fantastic picturisation

21) RuNamuktaLu (1984)
Puttanna was a producer for this movie. Even with his money he made films of social awareness like this one. The film has fine songs and a very touching storyline.
Cast: Padmavaasanthi, Bhaarathi

22) Amtutha Galige (1984)
"A widow getting a new life" is how Puttanna depicts "amRutha ghaLige" (auspicious moment). The hero is a book worm and well mannered who marries his friend knowing that she was in love with another (Santhosh) friend of him. He lives with her and brings up "her" child. But conveys to Santhosh that he did a mistake and there is not point in continuing it any further. The film climaxes when Santhosh convinces the "window" to marry him. The moment when this happens Puttanna puts it the auspicious moment. The film has scenes from some of very good locations. Never to miss the songs like "hiMdUstaanavu eMdU mareyada", "paarvathi parashivara praNaya prasaMga" are from this movie.
Cast: Ramakrishna, Sridhar, Padma Vasanthi and others
Songs: Vijayanarasimha
Music: Vijayabhaskar

23) Masanada Hoovu (1984)
Has fine music, songs, storyline. The tragic moment happened in Puttanna's life during the making of this movie. Puttanna did not live to finish the movie.
Vijayanarasimha rendered a song to commemmorate the memory of Puttanna "O guNavaMtha". The songs like, "masaNada hUveMdu nInEke koraguve" are still popular.
Cast: Ambarish,Aparna
Songs: Vijayanarasimha, R.N. Jayagopal
Music: Vijayabhaskar


Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is vinay, good to see the details, but one mistake, you have attached photo Ranganayaki movie under sharapanjara details and photo of sharapanjara under ranganayaki, if possible please change it.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Mohan K.V said...


I was googling for a few songs from Manasa Sarovara, and came across your blog.

Your article on Puttanna Kanagal's work is *absolutely _FANTASTIC_* ! I can't express my amazement at such a thorough and comprehensive listing of his best films. I have a list of 'must-see' films, and because of your descriptions, all of these films go right in :-)

Thanks a ton!


6:06 AM  
Blogger kpbolumbu said...

"Vijayanarasimha penned a song which was a tribute to Puttanna "O guNavaMtha, O guNavaMtha" (in the movie masaNada hUvu)."

why is this under 'manasa sarovara'?
it should have been under 'masanada hoovu'. please correct this.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Suksy said...

Good post dude.. Stumbled across ur blog when i was surfing the net for puttanna kanagal...

Pls continue blogging.. You have a knack of blogging and narration.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Jagadish said...

Wonderfull. Good description Kiran.

By the way, do you have Dharmasere songs by any chance and can you share it with me.


10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The site is good but the photos are interchanged for Sharapanjara and Ranganayaki.
This is for your info.

2:41 PM  

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