Kannada film industry has lost many legendary actors. Even today, people worship them as their Gods. One such actor, who is not only worshiped by his fans, but also by entire Karnataka is Karate King, Auto Raja Shankar Nag.
This September 30th, marks 23rd death anniversary of Shankar Nag. It can also be called as a black day for Karnataka and Kannada film industry as we lost an eminent and multi talented personality. His contribution to Sandalwood is still remembered.
Shankar Nag, who started his career from Marathi theatre, shifted his base to Kannada film industry and made his on-screen debut with Girish Karnad's Ondanondu Kaaladalli. The movie was adapted from Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece, Seven Samurai, which fetched him a National Award at the Delhi International Film Festival. Thus began his filmi career, where, in a span of 12 years (1978 to 1990) he has acted nearly in 80 Kannada movies.
In 1980s, Shankar Nag was called as Mr Perfect in Kannada film industry. Apart from acting, he has also directed and produced many movies like Minchina Oota, Janma Janmada Anubandha, Geetha, Accident, Nodi Swamy Naavirode Heege and others. Though he had never undergone any martial arts training, he has earned the sobriquet as 'Karate King' Shankar Nag.
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After his formal education, Shankar Nag moved to Mumbai. Incidentally, he met his future partner Arundathi Nag in a drama rehearsal. The couple got married after six years and moved to Bangalore. They shared screen space in the movies like Nodi Swamy Naavirode Heege, Parasmeshi Premaprasanga and others.
Movie Auto Raja, which was released in the year 1982, gave him another title as 'Auto Raja' Shankar Nag. The movie deals with the story of an auto driver, who falls in love with a rich girl. Actress Gayathri played the female lead in the movie.
Shankar Nag did not limit his efforts to cinema. He was equally immersed in theatre and television. In 1987, he also directed a Hindi tele-serial Malgudi Days, which was based on the collection of short stories by RK Narayan. Well known actors like Vishnuvardhan, Ananth Nag, Arundathi Nag and Master Manjunath appeared in the serial.
Shankar Nag made his directorial debut with Minchina Oota, which had Ananth Nag in the lead cast. The movie also featured Loknath and Roopa Ganguly in the important roles. Ananth Nag and Shankar Nag were also seen together in several movies like Taayi, Nodi Swamy Naavirode Heege, Parameshi Prema Prasanga, Janma Janmada Anubandha and Nagini.
Shankar Nag And Dr Rajkumar
In 1988, Shankar Nag directed Ondu Muthina Kathe, which had Dr Rajkumar and Archana in the lead roles. They also shared screen space in Apoorva Sangama, which was released in 1984.
Shankar Nag And Vishnuvardhan
Shankar had also shared screen space with Dr Vishnuvardhan in the movies like Benki Birugaali and Karmika Kallanalla. Vishnu was also seen in Malgudi Days, which was directed by Shankar Nag.
Action And Suspense Thriller Movies
Shakar Nag was seen in action thriller movies like Sangliyana, Sangliyana II and CBI Shankar, and suspense thriller movies like Tarka, Nigooda Rahasya and Idhu Saadhya.
Shankar Nag died in a car accident near Davangere district, when he was on his way to Hubbali, on September 30, 1990. It's a belief among Kannadiga's that Shankar Nag would have changed the face of Kannada Film Industry if he was alive today.