Tayee Saheb,far removed from book
By M N CHAKRAVARTHY
The last person to walk out of the Badami theatre where Girish Kasaravalli’s ‘Tayee Saheb’ was screened last week was Rum Sha Lokapura, the author of the novel on which the film was based. The author sure had reasons to drag his feet the film has almost nothing to do with the novel; characters, who did not exist in the novel have made an appearance on the screen, as have events. Some may say that this is not deriding Rum Sha’s novel, but only- evidence of the maturity Girish has gained over the years, using his artistic freedom to add to the original work. Girish himself said while speaking to ‘The Indian Express’, that he had not taken seriously when Jayamala made a statement at ‘Veekshaka’ film festival in 1933 that he should make a film for her. Many people come up with such requests impulsively and totally forget about it moments later— —but not Jayamala.
At another function at Suchitra Hall, the ‘meet- in place’ for most of the and film lovers of Bangalore South, she said Girish has not taken her Girish Kasarvalli request seriously. “I was scared about persons like Jayamala, who was then thriving in commercial films. I was scared that she could be expecting a film with commercial ingredients like dance and fights”, he said. But he was proved wrong. Jayamala said that she was ready to produce his just then released film. ‘Krourya’. Jayamala’s remark surprised Girish and he blurted out stories he had on his mind.
Some of them were Naa. D’souza’s ‘Dweepa’ and German writer Katherine Bleum’s stories. It was Jayamala’s turn to assume that Girish was not serious. Two years later she reminded him that he was yet to show her a story and a script.
Girsh’s stories were rejected. She, naturally as a producer and an artiste, wanted to select a story that suited her and it should be a major role. At the suggestion of mutual friend and writer Rekharaani, ‘Thayee Saheba’, which won an award as the best novel and serialised in Kannada weekly Sudha’.
Girish said he agreed with Tayee.. as it was full of incidents. It was okay even if the novel started with the rites of Appa Saheba, one of the main characters of film. The political background of the novel also helped Girish to infuse his thinking, and enabled him to depict the different impact of Gandhi’s movement and Nehru’s death on his characters. He is shy of saying that the period also suited his pace and style of filming- a trait, perhaps the only trait of his, which drew criticism.
It was assumed that this had made him chose Krourya’ the pace of which was slightly faster than his earlier six films, barring of course, the brilliant Bannada Vesha, which he produced for the Doordarshan.
Girish does not agree that he has gone back to old style with ‘Tayee..’. “I do not decide the pace, the story the pace it deserves,” he says. He also does not agree that all the characters in the film are positive. Barring some in Ghatashradhha, his maiden film which won 18 national and international awards and over hundred smaller awards, all his films had only characters had been positive.
But, he agrees that this is a technically well accomplished film. It was also an out and out Jayamala film, figuring practically in every scene. “It was clear from the beginning that it was a woman-oriented film and she surprised me with her range of acting. This was a surprise because I had not seen any of her earlier films, including the ones that brought her awards”.
It must be happy times for her that she also fell in love with the cameraman Ramachandra and married him after the completion of the film. Girish also has accomplished in etching the scene like a painting, like some of the European films, that it is difficult to believe that it is a maiden effort for Ramachandra in film shooting.
The latest talk that goes around in the film circles is that if one wants a good role, one should produce a film. And if one has to look good on the screen, one should marry the cameraman. Girish has, of course, nothing to say to this and dismisses it off with a smile.