Ganapathi Venkataramana Iyer (3 September 1917 – 21 December 2003) was a well-known Indian film director and actor. He was nicknamed "Kannada Bheeshma", and was the only person who made films in Sanskrit. His film Adi Shankaracharya (1983) won four National Film Award, including Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Audiography. His films were well known for their spiritual themes. He was born in 1917 in Nanjanagud in Mysore district of Karnataka state in South India. His most critically acclaimed films were Bhagavad Gita (1993), which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film and was nominated for Best Film at the Bogotá Film Festival and Swami Vivekananda (1998), for which Mithun Chakraborty won the national award for Best Supporting Actor.
Ganapathi Venkatramana Iyer
|Died||21 December 2003 (aged 86)|
|Other names||Kannada Bheeshma|
|Occupation||Actor, film director, screenwriter|
|Known for||Sanskrit film direction|
|Adi Shankaracharya (1983)|
Bhagavad Gita (1993)
Swami Vivekananda (1998)
He started his career at the age of eight when he joined the Gubbi Veeranna theatre group. His first role as an actor in cinema was in the film Radha Ramana. Besides this he acted in a number of other movies such as Mahakavi Kalidasa, Sodhari, Hemavati, Hari Bhaktha and Bedara Kannapa. He is credited with providing breaks to two of the greatest Kannada actors, Dr. Rajkumar and Narasimha Raju in the movie Bedara Kannappa. Though Raj Kumar had acted in a single scene in a movie previously, the movie Bedara Kannappa where Mr Iyer cast him as the hero, is where he got his break and is regarded generally as his first movie. Iyer also produced the critically acclaimed movie Vamsha Vriksha. Based on an acclaimed novel by S L Bhairappa, it was jointly directed by B V Karanth and Girish Karnad.
He soon started directing his own movies. The movie Hamsageethe (music by Dr. Balamuralikrishna, B. V. Karanth and T.G. Lingappa) was well received and made him famous. Iyer wrote scripts, lyrics and produced and directed many commercial Kannada movies. Iyer's biggest effort was Ranadheera Kanteerava. He continued to make commercial movies until 1970.
In his younger days, he was committed to Gandhi and his ideals. He stopped wearing footwear from the day Gandhi died and never wore them again. He also wore hand-spun clothes colloquially called "Khadi" as was advocated by Gandhi.
He was proficient in both Kannada and Sanskrit and was soon to make the first movie in Sanskrit, about the famous philosopher Adi Shankaracharya (1983). The movie received the National Film Awards for Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Audiography. It is believed that the movie made a great impact on Iyer.
He later made a film on Madhvacharya in Kannada and Ramanujacharya in Tamil. He also made a remarkable Sanskrit movie Bhagavad Gita (1993), which won Best Film at the National Film Awards of 1993. The film was also nominated for Best Film at the Bogotá Film Festival.
He produced Natyarani Shanthala, a historical television series on the Hoysala Jain queen Shanthala, who was married to a Vaishnava King. It was re-made in Hindi as well as in Kannada. It was based on several works by Samethanahalli Rama Rao in Kannada.
He later went on to make a movie Swami Vivekananda. It was an attempt to portray Swami Vivekananda, realistically. For this film Mithun Chakraborty won a national award for Best Supporting Actor. Mithun Chakraborty played Shri Ramkrishna Paramhansa. Though it had many famous actors such as Mithun Chakraborty, Hema Malini and Sarvadaman Banerjee, the movie failed commercially.
He was planning a film based on the Hindu epic Ramayana, with Sanjay Dutt playing the role of Ravana, before his sudden death on 21 December 2003 at the age of 87. His last rites took place at his Bharadhwaja Ashrama, near Dodda Aladamara, on the outskirts of Bangalore, near Kengeri.
Director, Writer and ProducerEdit
|1962||Gaali Gopura||Kannada||Lyrics only|
|1963||Saaku Magalu||Kannada||Dialogues only|
|1967||Gange Gowri||Kannada||Dialogues only|
|1983||Adi Shankaracharya||Sanskrit||Madhu Ambat won national award for Best Cinematography.|
|1993||Bhagvad Gita: Song of the Lord||Sanskrit|
|1998||Swami Vivekananda||Hindi||Mithun Chakraborty won national award for Best Supporting Actor.|
|2001||Sri Krishna Leela||Kannada||Unreleased|
- 1983: National Film Award
- 1993: National Film Award
- 1993: Bhagavad Gita – nominated for Best Film at the Bogotá Film Festival in Golden Precolumbian Circle.
- "G.V. Iyer". Egkhindi.[permanent dead link]
- "31st National Film Awards". India International Film Festival. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013.
- "31st National Film Awards (PDF)" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 April 2012.
- "GV Iyer Movies Collectors Set". Archived from the original on 29 March 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
- "National Film Awards, India". IMDb. Archived from the original on 2 June 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
- "Manju Bhargavi returns to work in Kannada". Archived from the original on 14 September 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
- "G.V.Iyer Is No More". Archived from the original on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
- "40th National Film Awards". India International Film Festival. Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- "40th National Film Awards (PDF)" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2012.