Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Karnataka Mallige in Hindi Movies

{[ Alert: Long, sectioned post with as many pics & links as I could find ]}

This thing about growing up in a place, which is culturally not what your family is from, can as expected and is well-known, cause many confusions, discomfort actually, in those growing years. Trying to fit in local, but that feeling of always lagging behind and, thanks to pre-existing labels, not being accepted where you try to fit in. This could be happen when growing up in different states in India or moving outside India. In this conflict, the only place you know you fit in, is Home. And the other is in Popular media. So seeing your representation in the most popular media is pretty thrilling. Hindi movies and Doordarshan has been more a part of me than Kannada movies and TV channels, thanks to the places I grew up in. So excited-pointing out, every time a Kannadiga  showed up onscreen, was one of the exciting points of watching experience. Here are few of the very well-known names.


In the 50s and 60s, Kananda producers were not actively making Hindi movies as much as movie producers from Madras. However a lot of director/producers did show up, while some exclusively created Hindi content.

Puttanna Kanagal - an iconic figure in Kananda movies, remade his Kannada movie Naagarahaavu to Hindi Zehreela Insaan, based on 3 Kannada novels by T. R. Subba Rao (TaRaSu). Hindi movie had the same Chitradurga location. O Hansini song was pictured same as Baare Baare song, which was shot very inventively. Max of the song was in slow motion, and in some scenes the screen was split with one in normal speed and other in slow motion. It was ahead of its time. I did not see the Hindi movie, but saw Naagarahaavu and few other of Puttanna's Kannada movies as a school-kid. Almost all of them about mis-fits and their tragic situations, put more fear in my mind than any horror movie.

Ahista Ahista (1981 film) is remake of Puttanna's famous Kannada film Gejje Pooje (1969) based on a novel by M K Indra. Emotional story, so was very involving. Lovely actors all in the movie and perfect music by Khayyam.

Likewise, produced by NFDC, Girish Kasaravalli made bilingual Ek Ghar with Deepti Naval and Naseeruddin Shah in 1990. It was fun to watch these to prime Hindi stars speaking Kannada.

I don't count Guru Dutt in my favorites, considering the darkness in his works; even though I have seen all his romantic and light-hearted stuff too. No one can discount the high level of work he had produced. When I grew up and fell in Wiki rabbit-hole, I learnt that Dutt was not his last name (it was Padukone) and he was not a Bengali as is the impression, but a Konkani. That was a shocking discovery for me.

Shyam Benegal's filmography is mind-blowing. Even for a masala-movies kids, I can bet I have seen it all. That's because they are all entertaining and engrossing. And hence why I am not naming any one of them. Ok, my movie recommendations - Trikal, Manthan, Kalyug, Junoon, Mammo, Welcome to Sajjanpur, Well done Abba. Bharat Ek Khoj was my Gen TV series and now it can be an official educational tool. Yatra is a great trip for a Railway and the 80s nostalgia. It was much later that I learnt that Benegal is a village in Kar.
Nishant cast photo
Shabana Azmi, Shyam Benegal,  & Smita Patil at Cannes for Ankur

Yet another film the impressed the masala-movies-child-me was Garam Hawa. Story-telling and absorbing actors worked here again. This milestone movie of Hindi Cinema, was made by Mysore born MS Sathyu.

In the 80s & 90s, I heard of Manmohan Shetty as almost exclusive producer of Govind Nihalani movies and shows. And later as the owner of influential AdLabs. His daughters Pooja Shetty-Deora and Aarti Shetty are taking it to bigger scale.

Malgudi Days is an ultimate example of Kar impact on national level. Made by Kannadigas, it went on to become a National favorite and even today a trigger of nostalgia for the 90s kids. Based on a book by R K Narayan, made by Shankar Nag, this show was made by all Kannadigas and shot in Agumbe, Bangalore and Tumkur. Eventually Master Manjunath , showed up in Agneepath and Vishwatma, there was lot of finger pointing - by us at the screen and repeatedly saying "Swami Swami". Kids you know.

R K Narayan and Shankar Nag

A very influential Mumbai grown personality is Director Rohit Shetty. His movies have always been  the big mainstream ones, my favorite being Chennai Express.

And then there is this entity, I cannot cannot ignore. Not a director or producer or any star. But has played a role in Hindi movies. That is the Vijaya Bank. It was a matter of pride, everytime Vijaya Bank credits played on screen of Rajshri Production movies. Anecdotes of Tarachand Barjatiya visiting VB branches are legendary among the VB alumni who served in Bombay in the 80s.

Vijaya Bank credits in Maine Pyar Kiya

Vijaya Bank credits in Hum Aapke Hai Kaun


The most iconic figure would have to be Fighter Shetty . He was a villian side-kick in hundreds of masala movies. But I liked him best in Sikandar. This was a Black and White children's movie, where 3 kids and their puppy went on a road adventure. Among all people their encounter, they do get picked by Fighter Shetty, who does his typical menacing best. And at the end of his sequence, he turns out to be the most sweetest teddy bear.
Fighter Shetty aka M B Shetty
And my current favorite Reshma Shetty. Was surprised to see her in Royal Pains on Netflix. And pleasantly surprise that she was the prime cast. Well acted in a well written role. She has a great career too.

Many superstar heroines from the 60s-70s, did act in token Hindi movies, without relocating. Bharathi worked in numerous Hindi movies, and it was thrilling to watch her in Purab Aur Paschim.
The most prominent migrant from Bangalore to Mumbai of this age, has to be Deepika Padukone. DP grew up in Bangalore, debuted in Kannada movie and then went on to rule the Hindi movie scene. She had a blockbuster debut in Hindi and followed it up with substantial work. Recently, Anushka Shetty (a Telugu movie vetren) in Hindi dubbed monolith Baahubali.

But before DP and after Bharathi there was a Shetty wave in the 90s, homegrown in Mumbai with roots from Karnataka. Shilpa Shetty and Sunil Shetty played main roles and acted in all Masala movies. Since they were in popular movies, I got asked a lot of questions by my school friends - thanks to the same last name. And Aishwarya Rai - came in via international fame and was totally a queen in every movie she worked in.

Girish Karnad was handsome and impressive in Kalyug and Manthan. And he was such a frequent appearance in lots of movies and TV shows. Among recent appearances, his most memorable is as Salman's boss Shenoy in Ek Tha Tiger. Hope he appears in sequel as well.

Anant Nag - the most endearing one in all his roles. I grew up watching his typical hero-wala Kananda movies and then remembered seeing him in number of Hindi movies previously. He was part of many Shyam Benegal movies, as it turned out that he had a base in Bombay too before moving to Bangalore.

Shabana Azmi & Anant Nag in Ankur

Prakash Belawadi is active in Kannada scene, but its always great to spot him in the recent Hindi movies. His presence had enriched these movies - Madras Cafe, Youngistaan, Talvar, Airlift and Te3n. I don't know of anyone else who can equal his portrayal of manipulative or grumpy or negative roles.

Prakash Rai/Raj menacing villian in many Hindi movies and a prolific actor in all 4 south Indian languages, not to forget National Award wining actor.

Arundathi Nag, an eminent Kannada personality appreared in a few Hindi movies & TV shows, mainly Dil Se & Paa.

Padmavati Rao has appeared in numerous Hindi movies. I remember her for a detective show on DD, name of which I have forgotten and can find a trace of it online. Unbelievable that she doesnt have a Wiki page !

And Poonam Shetty, who played the role of Shrutakirti, Shatrugun's wife in Ramanand Sagar's Ramayana. Even if her role was minor, seeing the Shetty name in the Cast credits of this iconic 90s TV show was very talk-worthy. She would be the first discovery for my gen.
Poonam Shetty in Ramanand Sagar's Ramayana


With Rohit Shetty, I was thrilled by him having the same last name on such a huge popularity scale. But I appreciate how he includes Tulu or KAR specific in his movies, given that Tulu or Karnataka may not have featured as importantly in his growing up years. He included Pili vesha dance in Kashmir Main Tu Kanyakumari song.

There was an entire sequence with prominent dialogs in Tulu and a North Kar village location included in Singham. It was controversial, some ripple in quite waters, but it was thrilling to see its inclusion in a wide release movie. I hope the controversy did not dissuade him from including more in his future movies. Chennai express tackled many points about South Indian languages and includes bits of all those languages and cultural references.

Speaking of Tulu, in the movie Welcome, Sunil Shetty (in a cameo as himself) spoke Tulu with Nana's character (Uday Shetty).

About Kannada in Hindi movies, I can't remember any. I faintly remember there was a non-mainstream movie (with MS Satyu connection, I think) in which characters in a train, spoke in many Indian languages. But I don't remember anything else about it.

Movie Characters

Sadashiv Amrapurkar as the main villan Rama Shetty in Ardh Satya (1983). Inspite of being the villain, every Shetty I know was impressed.

Nana Patekar as Uday Shetty in Welcome (2007) - Full fledged Shetty in main protagonist role. And on the whole, every scene in the movie was funny.

Inspector Vishnu Kamath in Dum Maro Dum (2011). I am counting in Goa ka Konkani as well because he was the protagonist and with no irritating South Indian-ism stereotype in his character. Abhishek entry sequence was too good to see in HD and he was the best part of the movie, all good dialoges for him. "Cuna tha. Chuna lagaya." and more.

Girish Karnad  as Salman's boss Shenoy in Ek Tha Tiger (2012). He had some chunky crucial scenes as Tiger's mentor. And the most whistle-maro moment was the scene where he asks Gopi for the number of countries in the world :D

Dr Varun Shetty in Krish 3 (2013). It was great to see Arif Zakaria after a long time, but his name was totally unexpected, so I went "Ai ?"

There are more Shetty's in different Web Series Short Films.

More Names:

Nakash Aziz (singer), Neetha Shetty (Model, Actress);

Happy Karnataka Day  ! Jai Karnataka !

This post is a result of months of typing and single person research. I have obviously covered only the prominent and very popular personalities. And also because they were who, I saw in my TV time. Today, the second and further generation Kannadigas, growing up outside Karnataka and those migrating from Karnataka, are the numerous skillful contributors in different departments making up the Hindi movies.

It is said that Kannadigas outside Kar, do not unite, do not form their groups, are shy to talk in Kannada as much as other South Indian regionalists. Yes very true observations. But it's because we are not threatened by any fear of loss of Kannada or our identity. We are living up the language and Karnataka link, as we go, wherever we go.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Minneapolis Halloween Half Marathon - 2017 - Race Recap

Ran the Minneapolis Halloween Half Marathon this year. I was sure this race is 2-3 years old but turns out it was the inaugural race ! Big surprise when I found out. This race is definitely a great alternative to Team Ortho's costumed race on the same day. MN Series have a great reputation and great races as such. I do have feedback for them at the bottom of this post.

Most costumed runners were for the shorter distances. There were some interesting ones in Half as well. Nurse costume, set of 4 guys in super-hero shirt & cape, Giraffe onesie, some with Pizza-doughnut add-on strapped to their chest. A Harry Potter lady  I met at 10th mile (complete with round specs, wand, scarf and robe). A lady in Red Riding Hood costume with a cuddly wolf in hand. Lot of folks in colorful wigs.

Weather as usual, built-up in the week till the race. The previous weekend was like a perfect summer day, even though it was Minnesota October. Then on Mon it was like dementors had descended and transformed the place into 24/7 dark & rainy. Thursday night and all of Friday was Snowfall day - which thrilled the kids as there was enough to build a Snowman. But boy, the stress it caused all registered runners. Finally on the Sat race morning, it was clean, dry, cloudy and a constant 35F throughout the race & rest of day. Thank god for no rain !

Route was entirely on Riverside. Only the start and finish was on the North of the river. Soon the course crossed the river on Central Avenue and went on the South side of river. At the Stone-arch Bridge entrance, there was a volunteer holding the 5K turn board. I was not paying attention and ran towards it when my run buddies corrected me.  There was timer-carpet at 4th mile. After the turnaround for 10K, it got lonelier, with sparse crowd going further for Half. The turnaround for Half was further up at 7.5. Surprisingly there was no timer-carpet here. So much scope here for cheating.

And around this point my watch started showing, off from the mile markers by around 0.1 mile. I would usually expect it because I often forget to start my watch and do it much after start-line. But this time, I was careful to push the start at the exact time I crossed the start line carpet. Later in the day, I got organizers email that their route measurement was off and compensated by $10 for the next race. They know how to please us runners :) (notoriously chindi-chor/cheap crowd).

But most notably, the riverside route was unbelievably hilly. Just rolling ups and downs. Thankfully it was not windy, expect for a patch in the last 4 miles, when it was exposed.

I pretty much walked the miles 11 and 12. My thighs felt like they were frozen solid. Since this real cold morning came up after a spell of great weather, I was not 100% sure what to wear or discard ? So I had laid out Plan A to Z options of gear, which I kept switching till the point I locked the car and left. Eventually I stuck to my usual fleece jacket for outer layer and also kept the gloves on (which I was unsure about). This is in-addition to 2 layers of tech shirts, compression pants & cap. And my choice turned out perfect for me. Even though it felt warm for the first few miles, it worked perfectly when it got cold in the second half and saved me from the chill caused by wind and sweaty shirts. It was also important for all the time spent outside, before and after the race. So. Leaving an extra layer for packet pickup would have helped. Helpful volunteers stuck around even till noon, so no tension of loosing your packet coz am a last finisher.

After the turn on StoneArch bridge, the last mile, I was still waddling along, when #LadyCrew, my Run club buddies came along from the opposite side. One had finished her Half and the rest had completed 5Ks. They brought the energy boost, so I could start jogging again. And then further up the bridge I saw a glimpse of the Finish line arch and was totally surprised - coz I thought it's further up half mile at the same place we started. That sight made me sprint and I could cross the line at 3:06:25 hr. Wow ! I watched my video in results later, and my sprint looked like the slowest jog in the world - but hell it felt like a high. 

Volunteers were great throughout. Helpful before the race, in sharing information. Numerous porta--potties, so very minimal wait. Very frequent water-stops. The first one did not give Gatorade, so I was stressed out there won't be any and I had brought only 1 Gu, but turns out all other stops have Gatorade as well as water. There was even a water-stop on the last mile and 3rd hour. So thankful they waited.

But some very crucial feedback.
  1. There was no sign at a crucial last turn on Stonearch bridge. My friend & a Red-Riding Hood lady who were ahead by atleast 30 minutes, but they missed this turn and went on further & added 2 miles to their run. Not to mention spoilt their finish times. Getting lost on a run is the worst feeling and that too in a race, is shocking. This turn is on the last mile. For the last batch of runners, its their 2nd hour. Brain is not going to remember every single turn, even if you prep & study the course map. Proper direction signs are needed at this point.
  2. No parking ramp info on the website. Only pointer on generic map but not by name or address. I parked at St Anothny Parking Ramp (Parking: 215 2nd St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414). Very low rate & lot of spots available. And just a short distance from the start & finish line.
  3. Facebook responses were very controlled. Not responsive enough.

Race gear was smooth full-sleeve shirt and a nice Halloweeny medal featuring scary pumpkin. I plan to wear it for the actual trick-or-treating trip.