Girish Kasaravalli

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Girish Kasaravalli
ಗಿರೀಶ್ ಕಾಸರವಳ್ಳಿ
Girish Kasaravalli 2014.JPG
Born (1950-12-03) 3 December 1950 (age 65)
Kesaluru, Thirthahalli, Shimoga, Mysuru, India
Occupation Film director, producer, screenwriter
Spouse(s) Vaishali Kasaravalli
Awards Multiple National Film Awards[1]

Girish Kasaravalli (Kannada: ಗಿರೀಶ್ ಕಾಸರವಳ್ಳಿ); (born 3 December 1950)[2] is an Indian film director, in the Kannada cinema, and one of the pioneers of the Parallel Cinema.[3] Known internationally, he has won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film four times: for Ghatashraddha (1977), Tabarana Kathe (1986), Thaayi Saheba (1997) and Dweepa (2002).[4][5] In 2011, he was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award by Government of India.[6]

A gold medalist from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, The film he made to fulfill his diploma, Avashesh, was awarded the Best Student Film and the National Film Award for Best Short Fiction Film for that year. He has received thirteen National Film Awards.[7]

Early life[edit]

Girish Kasaravalli was born in Kesalur, a village in the Tirthahalli taluk in Shimoga district on 3 December 1950[8] to Ganesh Rao and Lakshmi Devi. In one of the musical public shows, Ravi Belagere, the animatic presenter /compere has stated that Girish's full name was Girish Karanth. This needs verification as it is Ravi Belagere who gave this information. He had his primary education in Kesalur and middle school education in Kammaradi. Hailing from a family of book lovers, he was initiated to reading from a young age by his father. His father was a patron of Yakshagana, a folk system of dance native to Karnataka. All this formed a basis for a life rich with creative aspirations.

He was attracted to the touring talkies which visited his village once in a while to screen popular Kannada films. This was his first exposure to the world of cinema. Another relative who supported his love for creative arts was his maternal uncle K.V.Subbanna, a Magsaysay award winner who founded Neenasam, a critically acclaimed and popular drama company.

After completing his high school and college education in Shimoga, he enrolled for the B.Pharma course in the College of Pharmacy, Manipal. The college was a common place for many cultural activities and kept Girish Kasaravalli's creative interests alive. After completing his degree, he went to Hyderabad for training. But, due to his pre-occupations in cinema and art, he found it difficult to manage his profession and interest together. He decided to quit the career in Pharmacy and join the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune.


Girish Kasaravalli graduated from FTII Pune in 1975, with a specialisation in film direction. The world of Kurosawa, Ray, Ozu, Fellini and Antonioni inspired him, and his conviction in neo-realist cinema deepened. In an interview many years later, he recollected how he was inspired by these filmmakers, especially Ozu. While in his final year, he was chosen to be the assistant director for B. V. Karanth for the film Chomana Dudi. He passed out of the FTII with a gold medal to his credit. His student film Avasesh won the President's Silver Lotus award for the best experimental short film of the year.

His first film as an independent director was Ghatashraddha in 1977; it won him the Golden Lotus and a few international awards. This film was followed by many more masterpieces. For a short while, he served as the principal of a film institute in Bangalore.

He has worked as associate director for T. S. Nagabharana's Grahana movie during 1981[9] He won his second Golden Lotus for Tabarana Kathe in 1987. Considered as one of the best edited films in India, it deals with the futile efforts of a retired government servant to earn his pension. In 1997, he came up with another masterpiece, Thaayi Saheba which won him his third Golden Lotus award. Thaayi Saheba is considered to be the most mature work of the director, dealing with the transition in the Indian society from the pre- to the post-independence periods.

The narrative structure was unique, and it had a powerful way of depicting a social situation. He repeated his success with Dweepa in 2002 starring late actress Soundarya. It won his fourth Golden Lotus award. Dweepa was different from his earlier films: It used music extensively and was visually stunning. Apart from these four films winning Golden Lotus awards, Girish Kasaravalli directed Akramana in 1979, Mooru darigalu in 1981, Bannada Vesha in 1988, Mane in 1990, Kraurya in 1996, Hasina in 2004 and Naayi Neralu in 2006.

Naayi Neralu dealt with a very intense and bizarre concept of reincarnation, based on the novel with the same name by S.L. Bhyrappa. Girish Kasaravalli has given a different interpretation of the subject. It won the Best Film award at KARA film festival, Karachi thus making it the first ever Kannada film to win the top honour in any international festival.

In 2008 he directed Gulabi Talkies based on a short story of the same name by Vaidehi. It was shown in many international film festivals, winning awards and accolades. In 2010, he made Kanasemba Kudureyaneri (Riding the Stallion of Dreams) which, too, won him many international awards. He has finished his Koormavatara (The Tortoise, an Incarnation) which won the National film award for the best Kannada film of 2011.

The International Film Festival of Rotterdam held a retrospective of Girish Kasaravalli's films in 2003.

Personal life[edit]

He was married to actress Vaishali Kasaravalli. She died on 27 September 2010 at the age of 59. She was ill for more than five years. A chronic diabetic, she suffered liver damage and was undergoing dialysis for renal malfunction.

Awards and international honours[edit]

Notable filmography[edit]

Year Film Language Notes
1977 Ghatashraddha Kannada

[10] [11] [12]

1980 Akramana Kannada
1981 Mooru Darigalu Kannada
1987 Tabarana Kathe Kannada


1990 Mane Kannada
1991 Ek Ghar Hindi
1996 Kraurya Kannada Won the Silver Lotus Award for the Best Kannada film of the year
1997 Thaayi Saheba Kannada
2002 Dweepa Kannada
2003 Grihabhanga Kannada Tele Series
2004 Hasina Kannada
2006 Naayi Neralu Kannada
2008 Gulabi Talkies Kannada
2010 Kanasemba Kudureyaneri Kannada
2012 Koormavatara Kannada


  1. ^ Girish Kasaravalli gets 'Excellence in Cinema' award in UK
  2. ^ "Girish Kasaravalli profile". 
  3. ^ Girish Kasaravalli
  4. ^ India's Best Film – Girish Kasaravalli,
  5. ^ Girish Kasaravalli, New York Times.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Kannada Cinema Special: Filmography of Girish Kasaravalli
  8. ^ Filmography of Sixty Eminent Indian Moviakers, Along with Their Short Biographical Notes, by Rajata Raya. Published by Cine Society, Mosaboni, 1983. Page 266.
  9. ^ Kasaravalli with T.S. Nagabharana
  10. ^ imdb
  11. ^ Akramana, 1979
  12. ^ Mooru Daarigalu, 1981
  13. ^ Bannada Vesha, 1988 (TV)

External links[edit]