Naayi Neralu

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Naayi Neralu
Directed by Girish Kasaravalli
Produced by Abhishek Patil
Basanth Kumar Patil
Screenplay by Girish Kasaravalli
Story by S. L. Bhyrappa
Based on Naayi Neralu
by S. L. Bhyrappa
Starring Pavitra Lokesh
Rameshwari Varma
Sringeri Ramanna
Ashwin Bolar
Ananya Kasaravalli
Music by Isaac Thomas Kottukapally
Cinematography S. Ramachandra
Edited by S. Manohar
Distributed by Basanth Productions
Release date
  • 27 September 2006 (2006-09-27) (India)
Running time
130 minutes
Country India
Language Kannada

Naayi Neralu (Kannada: ನಾಯಿ ನೆರಳು; English: Shadow of the Dog) is a 2006 Indian Kannada language film directed by Girish Kasaravalli, based on a novel of the same name by Kannada writer S. L. Bhyrappa, and starring Pavitra Lokesh in the lead role.

The film won three Karnataka State Film Awards.[1] The film is mostly shot in Coastal of Karnataka near Udupi Nadibettu House at Shirva, Billampadavu Shooting House, house of one Rajeshwar Shashtri of Chakrakodi near Moodambail and island near Kallianpur and Kundapura.

Plot summary[edit]

Acchanniah lives with his wife Nagalakshmi and his widowed daughter-in-law Venkatalakshmi in a remote village in Karnataka. His granddaughter Rajalakshmi is in a distant city completing her studies. Acchanniah learns from a friend that a young man in a distant village claims that he was the son of Acchanniah in his previous birth. He dismisses the information as baseless. But his ailing wife believes or rather chooses to believe that her son who died twenty years ago has come back.

Acchanniah sets out to meet the young man who is about twenty years old and provides some information regarding his previous birth which tallies with or appears to tally with his previous birth. Acchanniah brings home this man whose name is Vishwa. Acchannaih's wife realises a new purpose in living and accepts this stranger as her son. But Venkatalakshmi, Acchanniah's daughter-in-law, finds it difficult to accept some stranger as her long-lost husband. After some initial resistance, Venkatalakshmi realises that this is an opportunity to attain all that she is restrained from. Her desires emerge again and she accepts Vishwa as her husband. It is here that problems start.

The society which forced her to believe it is her husband does not approve of Venkatalakshmi accepting the man as her husband and living with him. Rajalakshmi swears that this stranger who is her age is not her father. She tries to convince her mother to come out of such a delusion but to no avail. Acchanniah and Nagalakshmi are shocked to hear that Venkatalakshmi is pregnant with Vishwa's child. Matter complicate and Acchanniah is humiliated in the public by his fellow Brahmins. Venkatalakshmi sensing the intensity of the situation leaves the village and lives in a god-forsaken place with Vishwa. She has a hard life trying to manage ends meet. Vishwa is an eccentric young man and keeping him in control is not easy. To worsen things, Vishwa is attracted to Sukri, a young woman from the worker class. Nagalakshmi dies unable to digest these bizarre happenings. Rajalakshmi decides to seek the help of the court to get her mother back. They file a false complaint on Vishwa. Aware of the family's sinister motives, Vishwa refuses to return to Venkatalakshmi.

Meanwhile, a daughter is born to Venkatalakshmi. The court announces Vishwa guilty and he is sent to two years rigorous imprisonment. But Venkatalakshmi declares that she will wait for him to be released although she is certain that he will not return to her. She tells her daughter that she never believed that Vishwa was her husband reincarnate.

Principal cast[edit]

  • Pavitra Lokesh as Venkatalakshmi
  • Rameshwari Varma as Nagalakshmi
  • Sringeri Ramanna as Ajjaiah
  • Ananya Kasaravalli
  • Ashwin Bolar as Vishweshwara
  • A. R. Chandrasekhara
  • Ramesh

The 'inner' theme[edit]

Naayi Neralu has a very complex theme of great intensity. Earlier films of Girish Kasaravalli focused on social themes but were very straight in their narrative. Naayi Neralu leaves enough for the viewer to interpret and analyze. On the outside the film deals with three members of a family dealing with a very bizarre situation. But the inner theme is much more complex and can be an analyzed in many dimensions. It is a culmination of many aspects of life: human relationships, man and society, multiple perspectives on a situation, and so on. Each of the protagonists look at the situation the way they want to. Although the title suggests rebirth, the film deals with how people react to such a situation.


  • The intensity of the plot unfolds very well in the film. In the beginning, it is just a rumour. But in the end, it is a devastating truth. The transition from the former to the latter evolves successfully.[citation needed]
  • The character of Venkatalakshmi emerges as a very strong individual towards the end. She tells her father-in-law that she has lived her life doing things which others say and that she has decided to live the way she wants to. In the end, we realize what a strong character she has been.
  • Girish Kasaravalli's film needs no introduction regarding its climax. As in all his films, the climax is one of the major highlights of Naayi Neralu. The final scene shows Venkatalakshmi standing on the riverbanks with her child in hand looking at her daughter and father-in-law leave in a boat. This is the director's way of telling the audience that Venkatalakshmi has evolved into a strong individual.

Actors and performances[edit]

The role of Venkatalakshmi was played by Pavitra Lokesh, a well-established actress in Kannada cinema. She proved her worth as a very good actress in the film. Rameshwari Varma who played the role of Nagalakshmi is a theatre actress and this was her second film. Ananya Kasaravalli gives a memorable performance as Rajalakshmi. Sringeri Ramanna as Acchanniah excels as a sensitive father-in-law caught between the affection for his daughter-in-law and the laws of the society. Naayi Neralu was Ashwin Bolar's debut feature and his first venture into the Indian film industry.

Awards and screenings[edit]

V Shantaram Awards:

  • Best Director - Girish Kasaravalli

Osian's Asian Film Festival, CINEFAN, 2006:

  • Jury award in the Indian Film Category.

Karachi International Film Festival, 2006

  • Best Feature Film.

International Film Festival Of Mumbai, MAMI Awards, 2007


  • Indian International Film Festival, 2006.
  • Third Eye Film Festival, 2006.
  • Palm Springs Film Festival,2006.
  • International Film Festival Of Rotterdam in the Masteros category, 2007.
  • Singapore International Film Festival, 2007.
  • Bangkok Film Festival, 2007.

Deviations from the book[edit]

The director has taken the liberty to widely deviate from the original story. The original is an enigmatic tale of Karma and its repayment in subsequent births. In the film, there is huge chunk removed from what the book says that renders the story a single-themed narrative.

For instance, the book touches upon how Vishwa was born and why he had to be reborn upon his accidental death. Acchannaiah's role in what Vishwa goes through in his births is significant in the book. The narrative of the film fails to explain why it had to be called Naayi Neralu.


  1. ^ "Karnataka State Film Awards 2005-06". Retrieved 30 October 2010.