Girish Kasaravalli

A gold medallist from the FTII, Pune, Girish Kasaravalli emerged on the national and international film scene in 1977 with his film "Ghatashradha". He won the Golden Lotus for it, along with many other international awards. During the centenary celebrations of cinema, Ghatashradha was the only Indian film to feature in list when the National Film Archive of Paris made a world selection of 100 films.

Over the years, Girish Kasaravalli has made eight other feature films, all of which have won awards at both national and international levels. He won the Golden Lotus again for his Tabarana Kathe in 1987, Thayi Saheba in 1998 and for his latest film Dweepa in 2002.


Ghatashradha - 1977
(The Ritual)

Ghatashradha is a cruel way of excommunication. The death rites are performed for a living person to mark his excommunication from Brahmin society. This ritual is far more vicious than the crimes it is meant to punish.

Yamuna, a child widow, grows up in a system that denies her the right to live a normal life. She lives with her father Udupa who runs a traditional scripture school for young Brahmins. She protects a student, Nani from being bullied by his colleagues and Nani becomes the only consoling factor for Yamuna. She has an affair with the village schoolteacher and gets pregnant. Her lover arranges an abortion for her and disappears from the village. Nani becomes a horrified witness to her attempts to induce an abortion and then to commit suicide.

The elders discover Yamuna's secret. Retribution is swift. Her father performs the ghatashradha. Yet a social system that condemns a young widow with such cruelty, accepts the remarriage of her old and widowed father with a girl young enough to be his daughter.

Direction & Screenplay: Girish Kasaravalli
Cast: Meena Kuttappa, Ajit Kumar, Narayana Bhat, Ramakrishna, Shanta
Cinematography: S Ramachandra
Music: B V Karanth

Mooru Darigalu - 1981
(The Three Paths)

Nirmala is an innocent but strong willed girl. Her father, Viswanath Shanbag, a God-fearing man runs a shop. Vasudev, the young school master, is an idealist, but immature.

Nirmala becomes a victim of baseless slander. She has to suffer for no fault of hers. The marriage proposal with the school master breaks down. Her father is also helpless. In a fit of uncontrollable rage she ends her life.

Totally despondent, Vasudev leaves the village.

Direction & Screenplay: Girish Kasaravalli
Cast: Sriranga Krishnaswamy, C Viswanatha Rao, Bhargavi Narayan, Jerry Anantharam, Goda Ramkumar
Cinematography: S R Bhat
Music: B V Karanth

Tabarana Kathe - 1987
(Tabara's Tale)

This film is about the cruelty and indifference of the bureaucratic system. Tabara Setty, a peon in a municipality, feels proud when he is appointed a revenue collector in post-independence India.

Tabara's efforts to collect tax run into difficulties. His honesty only earns the wrath of the rich coffee planters. He becomes a victim of his own principles. He is asked to remit the money which he has not collected. This minor error comes in the way of sanctioning his pension after retirement.

His wife falls ill and he has no money for the treatment. He literally runs from pillar to post, falling at everybody's feet to get his pension. Bureaucracy only complicates the issue and Tabara is totally disillusioned. He becomes ever cynical when he is not able to save his wife. He announces his entire pension money to the Silver Jubilee Celebration Fund.

Direction & Screenplay: Girish Kasaravalli
Cast: Charu Hasan, Nalina Murthy, Krishna Murthy, Jayaram, Master Santosh
Cinematography: Madhu Ambat
Music: L Vaidyanathan

Bannada Vesha - 1988
(The Masked Role)

Shambhu, an ambitious Yakshagana player, quits Chowdeswari company and joins a Yakshagana troupe to try his luck. He agrees to play the Bannada Vesha (The masked role) of Junjutti, the devil which others are reluctant to do. In his anxiety to excel, he drives himself to exhaustion and collapses on the stage. Seeing him trembling and heaving the priest interprets that spirit has come on Shambhu.

Now Shambhu is a revered player. He has achieved public recognition and adoration. He begins to enjoy his newly found role. He begins to realise also the inevitable alienation from normal human relationships. Shambhu continues his search for the role.

Direction & Screenplay: Girish Kasaravalli
Cast: Sridhar, Smitha Kasaravalli, A B Jayaram, Narayana Bhat, Shanthamma, Lokanath
Cinematography: G S Bhaskar
Music: B V Karanth

Mane - 1990
(The House)

Rajanna and Geetha set up their home in a crowded lane of the city. Soon, however something disturbs the smooth flow of their lives. Though the shed next door lies vacant during the day, at night a group of people comes and works there, keeping the neighbourhood awake with the noise. When all efforts to get the shed vacated fail, the couple seek the help of Geetha's aunt, who knows a senior police officer. When the noise finally ceases and the band of ragged families is evicted, Rajanna discovers that his wife had achieved the impossible. A confrontation between Geetha and Rajanna makes them realise that the only choice left to them is to search for a new home and start their lives all over again.

Direction & Screenplay: Girish Kasaravalli
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Deepti Naval, Mico Chandru, Rohini Hattangadi
Cinematography: S Ramachandra
Music: L Vidyanathan

Kraurya - 1989
(The Story of a Storyteller)

Rangajji's life takes a drastic turn when her son dies under mysterious circumstances. With the death of her son, Rangajji's life is not the same any more. The task of giving shelter to her falls on a rather reluctant distant relative.

Rangajji, who lived all her life practising madi (rituals of purity), now has to live among the silkworms, the rearing of which she had always opposed (one of the reasons for her conflict with the family providing her shelter). The only person close to her in the family now is Murthy, the youngest son in the household.

With the arrival of Subbanna, the elder son of the family from Bangalore, several events take place. Subbanna, who can't earn enough to send home, wants to start a soap agency and needs Rs.10,000. Rangajji hates to stay on in this house as she has no freedom. Her only hope is Padmanabhaiah, a close friend of her late husband who lives in Bangalore. Her only desire is to find him with help from Subbanna. She therefore gives Subbanna the money he needs. When Subbanna stops sending home money, his parents send Rangajji, accompanied by Murthy to Bangalore. Subbanna is not at all happy to see Rangajji. Her last ray of hope is also dashed when she learns that Padmanabhaiah is no more. She has nowhere to go, and is unwanted and abandoned.

Direction & Screenplay: Girish Kasaravalli
Cast: Renukamma Murugod, Master Vishwas, H G Dattatreya, Vijaya, Swathi
Cinematography: S Ramachandra
Music: L Vaidyanthan

Thayi Saheba - 1997

Appa Sahib is an Indian freedom fighter, arrested by British soldiers and put in jail. His wife, Thayi Saheba, is childless. Quite unexpected, Appa Sahib is temporarily released and his mistress Chandra has meanwhile given birth to a girl. Thayi Saheba is all set to receive her husband, but he goes straight from jail to Chandra's house to spend the night with her. When he comes home next morning, Thayi Saheba hides her disappointment and lovingly massages his body. There is one more woman of great importance in the life of Appa Sahib, his first wife who lives in a temple. She informs Thayi Saheba that Sahib decided to adopt her brother's son, securing the future of the Sahib's property. Although angry and disappointed, Thayi Saheba takes the news cheerfully. Appa Sahib is jailed again and will be released only when the British decide to leave India. Family matters increasingly complicate things. The son of Sahib's first wife's brother gets involved with the daughter of Sahib's mistress.

Direction & Screenplay: Girish Kasaravalli
Cast: Jayamala, Suresh Heblikar, Shivaram, Sudha Belvadi, Harish Raju
Cinematographer: H M Ramachandra
Editor: M N Swamy
Music: Issac Thomas Kottukapally

Dweepa - 2002
(The Island)

A village situated in the catchment area of a dam site is under the threat of being submerged. One by one, the villagers start moving out to nearby towns until just one family remains, the family of Duggajja with his son Ganappa and daughter-in-law Nagi. Even while the dam authorities keep warning them about the consequence of staying back, they ignore the warning and decide to stay back at the village. But as it starts raining, the water level of the dam starts rising, submerging more and more land every moment. The hill they stay turns out to be an island isolated from the mainland with just three inmates. In the end, Nagi and her husband is saved when their house does not get drowned while the dam overflows.

Direction & Screenplay: Girish Kasaravalli
Cast: Soundarya, Vasudeva Rao, Avinash, Harish Raj
Cinematography: S Ramachandra
Music: Issac Thomas Kottukapalli

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