Satya Harishchandra (1965 Kannada film)
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|Directed by||Hunsur Krishnamurthy|
|Produced by||K. V. Reddy|
M. P. Shankar
|Music by||P. N. Rao|
|Editing by||G. Kalyana Sundaram
D. G. Jayaram
|Distributed by||Vijaya Productions|
|Running time||172 minutes|
Satya Harischandra is a 1965 Indian Kannada language epic film, based on the mythological king Harishchandra who was renowned for upholding truth under any circumstance. Mahatma Gandhi's life was very much influenced by Raja Satya Harishchandra stories. This movie based on poet Raghavanka's Harishchandra Kavya, is socially and culturally relevant even today. The movie was basically a story of social justice at the hands of a righteous king.
The story of Satya Harischandra is made into movie in several languages (Urdu, Kannada, Telugu, Hindi,Gujarati, Oriya and Tamil) from year 1913 to 1984, the popularity of the story is such that it is made for more than 20 times into Silver screen and is a very popular drama to be played at villages till date. The first full-length Indian feature film was Raja Harishchandra, made in 1913 and released commercially in May that year, by Dadasaheb Phalke(written, Directed and acted). The character of Harischandra is played by renowned actors of India including Dadasaheb Phalke, Prithviraj Kapoor, NTR and Dr. Rajkumar.
Satya Harischandra is made two times in Kannada, first in 1943 acted by Subbaiah Naidu and directed by Nagendra Rao and then in 1965 under the banner of Vijaya productions produced by K V Reddy and directed by Hunsur krishnamurthy. Music was scored by P M Rao and Madhav bulbule handling the camera. The film casting was one of the finest in the industry giving their exemplary performances. The casting – King of Ayodhya Harishchandra (Dr.Rajkumar), Maharshi Vishwamitra (Uday Kumar), Nakshatrika(Narasimharaaju), Veerabaahu( MP Shankar) and Taramathi (Pandari bai) and it had other stalwarts like Ashwath, Baby Padmini, Relangi Ratnakar and Dwarakish in minor roles. One very interesting omission from the cast is the noted character artiste / villain of Kannada cinema Balakrishna. The budget of the film was little over Rupees 5.5 lakhs and Rajkumar was paid Rupees 5,000 for playing the lead role. Most of the remaining cost was for rich settings. The film was mostly shot in AVM studio in Madras(Now Chennai). It was reported that Telugu stalwart NTR was very keen to make the movie in Telugu with Rajkumar in the lead role after seeing him acting with finese one of the scenes at the studio. But was refused by later as he didn't show interest to act in any language other than Kannada. Later it was made into Telugu by K V Reddy with NTR in the lead role same year but film didn't do well at the box-office. Satya Harischandra was the first film to run over 100days in Kannada and is tout as one of the classics to hit the silver screen. Songs of the film were also very popular. Undoubtedly film’s evergreen song is – ‘Kuladalli keelyaavudo huchchappa, matadalli melyaavudo, Huttu saayuva aalu, manushya manushyana madhye melyaavudu keelyaavudo’. Such is the impact of this song that it is the last song sung in every Kannada orchestra organized in Bangalore. The song has some wonderful lyrics and upholds the spirit of humanity. Film was re-released many times and in 1992-93 it ran for more than 25weeks in 5 screens and for more than 100 days in 15 screens across the state.
The movie was re-released on 24 April 2008 (Late Dr. Rajkumar's birth anniversary) in color version with more than 50 prints all over Karnataka, KCN Enterprises owned the global rights for this classic without knowing that there is no actual prints in existence. So they had to get one of the fine prints of movie for 50 thousand and was used to make negative and teamed up with Goldstone Technologies Ltd. for a colour version of the film. Goldstone not only successfully coloured this black-and-white film but also converted the original from 35 mm to cinemascope for screening the movie in present-day theatre with effort from over 300 people spanning over 16 months. Earlier K.C.N. Gowda had tried with a Chennai firm but as the results were not satisfactory, then he sent his son KCN Chandru to the U.S to get it done. Later they came back to Hyderabad for one of the branches of U.S firm to create a colorized version like Mughal-E-Azam. The research team converted the entire film frame by frame into colour. Each frame costing over 8 thousand and entire film for 3 crore rupees. A song in the film was first colorized to check the output and is reported to be cost around 3 lakhs. The film sound was rerecorded and music was recreated by sound engineer/Kannada music director Rajesh Ramnath to make it to DTS. The playing time of the original film was of 221 mins. Now after deleting some scenes irrelevant to the main plot and adjusting the pace, the playing time has been cut down to around 170 mins. This is only the third film to be converted to color from black and white after film Mughal-E-Azam in 2004 and Naya Daur in 2007. The film is expected to do good business. Most of the people involved in the original movie have died with only M P Shankar, who had played Veerabaahu's role, alive. Ironically his will be the only character to appear in black-and-white color.
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