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Shankar Nag

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Shankar Nag
Shankar Nagarakatte

(1954-11-09)9 November 1954
Died30 September 1990(1990-09-30) (aged 35)
Anagodu, Chitradurga, Karnataka, India
  • Actor
  • director
  • screenwriter
Years active1977–1990
WorksFull list
(m. 1980)
RelativesGayatri (sister-in-law)
Padmavati Rao (sister-in-law)
FamilyAnant Nag (brother)

Shankar Nagarakatte (9 November 1954 – 30 September 1990) was an Indian actor, screenwriter, director, and producer known for his work in Kannada-language films and television. A popular cultural icon of Karnataka, Nag is often referred to as Karate King.[1][2] He directed the teleserial Malgudi Days, based on novelist R. K. Narayan's short stories and acted in some episodes as well. He won two National Film Awards, four Karnataka State Film Awards and two Filmfare Award South.

Nag received the inaugural IFFI Best Actor Award (Male): Silver Peacock Award" at the 7th International Film Festival of India for his work in the film Ondanondu Kaladalli.[3] He co-wrote 22 June 1987, a National award-winning Marathi film. He is the younger brother of actor Anant Nag.[4][5] Vincent Canby, the chief film critic of The New York Times had opined that Shankar's performance in Ondanondu Kaladalli had the force and humor of the younger Toshiro Mifune.[6]

Early career[edit]

Shankar Nagarkatte was born on 9 November 1954 in Honnavar, then a part of North Canara (now Uttara Kannada), in Bombay State (now in Karnataka).[7] His parents were Anandi and Sadanand Nagarkatte. Born into a Konkani-speaking Brahmin family,[8] his family settled in Shirali, a village near Bhatkal in Uttara Kannada of Karnataka State. He had an elder sister, Shyamala, and an elder brother, actor Anant Nag. After completing formal education, Nag moved to Bombay. There, he was attracted to Marathi theatre and immersed himself in theatrical activities. Incidentally, he met his future wife, Arundhathi during a drama rehearsal. Nag then shifted base to Bangalore where his elder brother Anant Nag had already established himself as a popular actor.

In 1978 Nag made his debut with Girish Karnad's epic film Ondanondu Kaladalli, where he played a mercenary who earns a position in a rival army to get even with his brother, whom he considers his enemy.

Acting and directing[edit]

Following the modest success[9] of Ondanondu Kaladalli and the critical accolades he garnered,[10] Nag started appearing in mainstream films. Seetharamu, Auto Raja and Preethi Madu Thamashe Nodu were amongst his early movies. He eventually became known for his action films, and while he had never undergone any martial arts training, he earned the nickname "Karate King". Some of his popular commercial movies as an actor include Nyaya Ellide, Nyaya Gedditu, Gedda Maga, Sangliyana, S. P. Sangliyana Part 2 and C.B.I. Shankar. He formed a popular pair[11] with top actress Bhavya who acted with him in 11 films.

Nag made his directorial debut with Minchina Ota, one of the earliest heist movies of Kannada cinema. This won him seven state awards,[12] including that for best film. Janma Janmada Anubandha and Geetha[13] followed. There was no looking back after that. His directorial ventures include Lalach (Hindi remake of Minchina Ota), Hosa Theerpu (remake of Dushman), Nodi Swamy Navirodu Hige, Ondu Muttina Kathe (loosely based on John Steinbeck's novel The Pearl)[14] and the critically acclaimed Accident which won many state and national awards.

Television and theatre[edit]

In 1987, Nag directed the Doordarshan series Malgudi Days, which was based on a collection of short stories by R.K. Narayan. The series featured Vishnuvardhan and Anant Nag, with music by was composed by L. Vaidyanathan.[15] The series was shot in Agumbe, Shimoga district, Karnataka. Nag went to direct another teleserial, 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.[16][17]

He anchored the Parichaya program on DD1-Kannada, in its starting days.[18] Nag retained an interest in theatre. His brother Anant Nag and he founded Sanket, an amateur theatre group, which still[as of?] produces plays. His first directorial effort in Kannada theatre was Anju Mallige by Girish Karnad. He continued with productions like Barrister, Sandhya Chhaya. He was later joined by T. N. Narasimhan, who wrote and co-directed Nodi Swamy Navirodu Hige which had, apart from himself, his wife Arundhati Nag and Ramesh Bhat in the cast.

Social work[edit]

Shankar Nag, was multi-faceted person, involved in various aspects of Karnataka's Infrastructure. He is credited with pioneering efforts in initiating

  • Rope Way/Cable Car to heighten the tourist experience at Nandi Hills[19]
  • Metro Train for Bengaluru[20]
  • Low Cost Houses that could be built in 8 days[21][22]
  • Club for Amusement[23]
  • Theater for performing Arts, including Drama[24]


Nag died in a car collision at Anagodu village on the outskirts of Davanagere town on 30 September 1990 during the pre-production work for his film Jokumaraswamy.[25][26] The last film he did as an actor, Sundarakanda, was released a few days after his death for which Nag's voice was dubbed by Murali. [citation needed] Anant Nag completed the dubbing for Nigooda Rahasya. Nag's last release was Bhargava's Prana Snehitha, which had been completed fully but was delayed.


Many of the films on which he worked went on to win National Film Awards and various state awards. His films highlighted the lifestyle and issues of working-class society. Even after 33 years of his demise, his photographs are still found in the auto rickshaws of Karnataka.[27]



National Film Awards[edit]

Karnataka State Film Awards[edit]

Filmfare Awards South[edit]

IFFI Award for Best Actor[edit]


  1. ^ "A cyber memorial for Shankar Nag". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Celebrating Shankar Nag as Auto Raja". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  3. ^ RAY, BIBEKANANDA (5 April 2017). Conscience of The Race. Publications Division Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. ISBN 9788123026619. Archived from the original on 11 October 2020. Retrieved 16 August 2019 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "This one's for Shankar Nag". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  5. ^ Anand Chandrashekar (7 November 2009). "Shankar Nag Last Interview - Part 2". Archived from the original on 28 June 2014. Retrieved 9 November 2013 – via YouTube.
  6. ^ Canby, Vincent (17 May 1982). "From India 'Once Upon a Time'". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 24 May 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  7. ^ "Shankar Nag: An intense, amazing life and career". 9 November 2019. Archived from the original on 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  8. ^ "An Actor and Visionary - Shankar Nag". Karnataka.com. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  9. ^ "Kannada actors who turned directors". The Times of India. 3 May 2021. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  10. ^ "Girish Karnad Birth Anniversary: Interesting Facts About the Actor and Jnanpith Awardee". News18. 19 May 2021. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  11. ^ "Shankar Nag and Bhavya - Best on-screen couples of Sandalwood". The Times of India. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  12. ^ Minchina Ota Awards: List of Awards won by Kannada movie Minchina Ota, retrieved 29 September 2021
  13. ^ Nag, Anant (2001). 'Nanna tamma Shankara' (My brother Shankara). Bangalore: Total Kannada. ISBN 9788192226903. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  14. ^ "Ondu Muttina Kathe". www.comneton.com. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  15. ^ "Music director L. Vaidyanathan dead". The Hindu. 20 May 2007. Archived from the original on 20 January 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  16. ^ "Shanker Nag's 'Malgudi Days' is back on television". IBN Live. 12 June 2012. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  17. ^ "Malgudi days : Reviews". IMDb. Archived from the original on 17 November 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  18. ^ "Shankar Nag". Cinemaazi. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  19. ^ "Shankar Nag Visualised Namma Metro, Nandi Hills Ropeway Years Ago". The Hans India. 11 November 2019.
  20. ^ "Nandi Hills cable car project takes off". The Times of India.
  21. ^ "Shankar Nag: An intense, amazing life and career". Deccan Herald. 9 November 2019.
  22. ^ Khajane, Muralidhara (29 September 2015). "Shankar of the masses lives on". The Hindu.
  23. ^ "12 Reasons Why Shankar Nag is still a Superstar in Karnataka". Metro Saga. 30 October 2017.
  24. ^ "10 Things to Know About Bengaluru's Rangashankara - A Theatre in Tribute to the Late Shankar Nag". Metro Saga. 2 February 2019.
  25. ^ "Shankar Nag accident: Family to get Rs 26.8 lakk". The Times of India. TNimes News Network. 30 January 2009. Archived from the original on 30 April 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  26. ^ "Ready for an encore". 28 September 2003. Archived from the original on 18 September 2018. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  27. ^ "Rare photos of Shankar Nag". The Indian Express. 9 November 2017. Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  28. ^ "35th National Film Awards (1987)". Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF).
  29. ^ "32nd National Film Festival (1985)". Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF).

External links[edit]