City News


Goldsmith to photography to films: The long journey of Shringar Nagaraj
Date of Publishing: 2011-03-24 00:00:00.0

Gangolli Ramashet Nagaraj entry into the world of films was quite dramatic. Born into a family of goldsmiths, he wouldn't have initially imagined that one day he would be a known face in the Kannada film industry. But destiny had its own plans and eventually he came to be known as Shringar Nagaraj.
The gold control bill during Morarji Desai's period badly affected the goldsmiths business in India. During this stage I thought of taking up a different business," he recalls.
Photography being my interest, he took up still photography during the 1960s that became his profession. "I was the cameraman during the wedding of Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, the scion of the erstwhile Mysore Royal family, Kannada film actors Bharathi-Vishnuvardhan, Ravichandran and Shivaraj Kumar among others," Nagaraj, an award winning film producer and an artiste, said.
Born on July 16, 1939 in Bangalore, Nagaraj was brought up in Malleshwaram 2nd Cross home since 1947. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Commerce from MES College in Malleshwaram and Law from the Government Law College.

First break in the film industry

Nagaraj, who had good looks, got his first break in the Kannada film industry in Sipayi Ramu film during 1972. "Paul, the producer of the film, complimented me that I am handsome and why I am behind the camera. He asked me to come in front of the camera and offered me a supporting hero role opposite Kannada matinee idol Dr Rajkumar in the film. That was my first break in the film industry and I became a film artiste," Nagaraj recollects.
Nagaraj acted in about 25 Kannada films in various supporting roles and in several movies alongside Dr Rajkumar that were box office hits like Bangaaradha Manushya, Sipayi Ramu, Chelisuva Modagalu, Haalu Jenu and Shabdavedi among others. He also acted in Ranganayaki and Katha Sangama films.
Kesarina Kamala opposite Kalpana was the only film in which Nagaraj acted as a hero. He has also acted in Kannada TV serials like Mayamruga.
Nagaraj produced the hit Pushpaka Vimana in 1987, a silent film starring Kamal Haasan and Amala in the lead role, which was the first and the last film to be produced by him. The film won him the President's Gold Medal for the best popular film providing wholesome entertainment in India.

While producing the film Pushpaka Vimana, Nagaraj had to face financial crunch in the mid-way of production. "Padmashri Dr D Veerendra Heggade of Dharmasthala helped me financially to produce the film. The movie became a great success and the film ran for about 25 weeks in Bangalore and 100 days in Mumbai."

Nagaraj was bestowed with Karnataka Rajyotsava Award in 1999, Filmfare Award in 1989, Screen Award, Star and Style Award and International Houston Film Festival Award among others.

Memorable events

Acting opposite Kalpana in Kesarina Kamala film as a hero and the President's Gold Medal are the most cherished moments in my life, shares Nagaraj.

Nagaraj is an adventurous man and has widely travelled across the globe. "Travelling is my favourite past time and I've travelled across the world. I've even gone round the world alone once in 1989," he said.

Surrendered to age
Nagaraj is associated with various religious organisations, associations like Kannada Film Artistes Association, Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce and Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy. "Being 72 years old, I'm not able to be actively involved in the day-today activities. I've surrendered to my age," says Nagaraj.
"Kannada film industry is progressing with many good and young artistes. We have good technicians and directors in the industry. I wish that Kannada film gets an Oscar Award by working hard and producing good films. By winning Oscar Award, we can put the Kannada film industry on the global map," Nagaraj wished.
—Raghavendra R


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