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Shankar Nag

Born on 09 Nov 1954 (Age 64) Mallapur village in Honnavar, Uttara Kannada.

Shankar Nag Biography

Shankar Nagarkatte popularly known as Shankar Nag was a popular actor and director of Kannada cinema. He also directed and acted in the teleserial, Malgudi days, based on celebrated novelist R.K.Narayan's short stories. Besides these, he was actively involved in Kannada theater activities. He co-wrote "22 June 1897", an Indian National award winning Marathi film.

Early career

Shankar Nagarkatte was born on 9 November 1954 in Mallapur village near Honnavar, Karnataka to a Konkani-speaking Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin family . His elder brother is the popular Kannada actor Anant Nag. Apart from his mother-tongue Konkani, Shankar was also fluent in Marathi and of course Kannada.  After completing formal education, Shankar moved to Mumbai. In Mumbai, he was attracted to Marathi theater and immersed himself in theatrical activities. Incidentally, he met his future wife, Arundhathi during a drama rehearsal.

Shankar Nag then shifted base to Karnataka. His elder brother Anant Nag had already established himself as an actor and urged Shankar to act in films. He was offered a role of a mercenary by Girish Karnad in the epic movie, Ondanondu Kaladalli, which was loosely based on Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece, Seven Samurai. His debut film as actor fetched him a national award at the Delhi International Film Festival. Thus began his film career, where, in a span of 12 years (from 1978 to 1990) he acted in some 90 Kannada movies, as a leading man, besides co-producing (with actor-brother Anant Nag ) and directing some films like 'Minchina Ota' (a rare example of a heist movie in Kannada), "Janma Janmada Anubandha" and "Geetha" (both of which had music by South Indian maestro Ilayaraja)

Later Days

Commercial film producers took notice of Shankar Nag and he began acting in typical masala movies. Shankar was an unconventional hero with an unshaven face, distinict swagger, dark eyes and a rough voice. Although he had never undergone any martial arts training, he earned the sobriquet of Karate King. His popular films include Auto Raja, Geeta, S.P.Sangliana, and Minchina Ota.

He had also identified himself with the Janata Party in 1980s.

Directorial Debut

Shankar began his directorial with Minchina Ota. This won him seven state awards, including the best film. And then came a series of films directed by him. Janma Janmada Anubandha, Geetha, Accident (1985 film) (which won many state and national awards), Ondu Muttina Kathe (with Dr. Rajkumar in the lead).

Malgudi days

Shankar did not limit his creativity to cinema. He was equally immersed in theater and television. Malgudi days is the best example of Shankar's oeuvre on television. Prior to globalization, Doordarshan was the only broadcaster in India. In addition to programme production, Doordarshan used to invite private producers to produce television serials. Shankar accepted the offer and directed Malgudi days, based on the collection of short stories by R.K.Narayan in 1987, under the banner of Padam Rag Films. Well known actors Vishnuvardhan, and Anant Nag appeared in the serial. Master Manjunath, who essayed the role of impish Swami became a household name.

The music, accompanied by the nasal twang "Tananaa tana na naa" was composed by L. Vaidyanathan. The teleserial was shot in Agumbe, Shimoga district, Karnataka. Shankar went to direct another teleserial, titled Swami in the same year. Malgudi days has been rated as one of the finest serials ever to be made in the history of Indian Television.

It is noteworthy that he was anchoring the Parichaya program on DD1-Kannada, in its starting days.

Though a busy star in his own rights, Shankar always had time for theatre. That was almost his second nature. In fact he brought a kind of commercial viability to the Kannada Amateur Theatre. He and his wife founded SANKET, an amateur theatre group, which still produces plays. His first ever directorial effort in Kannada was Anju Mallige by Girish Karnad. He continued with productions like Barrister, Sandhya Chhaya. Sometime here he was joined by T N Narasimhan who wrote and co-directed Nodi Swami Navirodhu Heege. which had, apart from himself, his wife Arundhati Nag and Ramesh Bhat in the cast. The two directed Aata Bombat. Shankar's last production was Naaga Mandala, a play by Girish Karnad. He co-directed with Surendra Nath.


Shankar Nag died in a car crash at Anagodu village on the outskirts of Davanagere town on the morning of 30 September 1990, while proceeding to Dharwad with his wife Arundhati Nag and daughter Kavya, for the shooting of his film Jokumaraswamy. After his death, the Kannada movie industry really slid into an abyss of mediocrity.

Shankar Nag left many unfinished projects like the Country Club at his farm near Bangalore, a ropeway to Nandi Hills and a low cost prefab housing scheme. An admirer of Ramakrishna Hegde, he was not much into active politics. However he had a great vision for Bangalore. Way back in 1990, before his untimely death, he proposed a Metro for Bangalore city, based on what he had seen in London. He started the first ever electronic recording studio, in Karnataka, Sanket Electronics.
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