For the members of the Kannada television industry who were present at Kanteerava Studio on 4 June 2013, it was like a family reunion. The muhurtha of tele-serial director, actor and cultural icon, T N Seetaram’s next venture, Mahaparva, saw the presence of a large number of actors, directors, associates, litterateurs and a few politicians as well. Many actors who had been a part of Bhoomika Production’s (T N Seetharam’s production house) earlier projects felt it was a homecoming of sorts while for a few others, it was a walk down memory lane.
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Srinivas Prasad, Revenue Minister, A J Sadashiva, retired judge, Janardhana Swamy, MP from Chitradurga, BT Lalitha Nayak, ex-minister, Parameshwar Gundkal, Creative Head of ETV Kannada, Dattanna and Puttannaiah, MLAs and Ramesh Kumar, ex-speaker of Legislative Assembly were the main guests at the event.
Among those who reminisced their times working with ‘TNS Sir’ or ‘Seetaram Sir’ as he is fondly called were Malavika Avinash, Nandini Gowda and Jayashree. All three actresses have been associated with Bhoomika and its productions for over ten years and all three have portrayed the roles of strong female protagonists in his serials. It was one of those rare moments when you get to thank your mentor on a public platform and every speaker who came on-stage was full of praise for TNS.
When called upon to talk about the man and his work, Malavika Avinash, the protagonist in one of Seetaram’s initial projects, Mayamruga, expressed her happiness at having been able to come back to the place she started from. “It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if I said that ‘Mayamruga is to post-liberalisation Kannada television what turtle revolution was to the License Raj’. Although it was a mere television serial, it left an indelible mark off-screen on the minds of the viewers,” she said. The serial was pivotal in reinforcing the belief of the common man in the legislation and judiciary through the fights waged by the characters in the serial. “So on one hand while Mayamruga gave hope to the people and the viewers through its characters, on the other hand it also gave a new lease of life to the actors who were looking for a future in this industry. TNS Sir was our guide, mentor and guru. And the many stars who were born from Mayamruga are sitting with us here today,” she added.
Talking about T N Seetharam’s biggest and much loved serial Muktha, Nandini Gowda who essayed the role of ‘Arundhati’ in it said, “The actors who have come out of Bhoomika’s wings get their own parallel identity. People believe that we truly are the characters they see on-screen. His serials do not have any frills or fancy. They are very close to reality.” Explaining her journey as an actress, she attributed the success to Bhoomika Production house and thanked the ‘university’ that TNS is. “Sir once told me during the shooting of Muktha, ‘If I were to be born as a woman, then it would have been as Arundhati.’ It was one of the best compliments that anyone could ever give me. I feel blessed to know that I portrayed Sir’s female part on screen,” she told the audience.
Jayashree, another actress who played the role of ‘Nivedita,’ a strong female protagonist, in his recently concluded serial Muktha Muktha expressed herself: “I hope and wish that Mahaparva goes a long way and just like Muktha Muktha, and helps many women find solutions to their problems through the means of the characters.”
“There are very few stories in this world I believe. Any film or serial takes these few threads and builds a story on these templates. Even though the stories remain the same, what matters is how we show them on-screen and this, one has to learn from TNS. All characters have an equal importance in his stories and each one stands as a model to the other,” she said expressing her gratitude to TNS.
The association between H S Venkateshamurthy and TNS has been long and cherished. He has written lyrics for the title tracks of three of Seetharam’s serials. Speaking about their friendship, Venkateshamurthy said, “Writers find it very difficult when what they write has to appease others. Directors have their own imaginations, expectations, necessities and requirements and it is a daunting task to meet them by means of our writing. I feel worked up whenever I have to write for Seetharam. But luckily, he has always liked what I have written. Be it Muktha, Muktha Muktha and now, Mahaparva, he has been satisfied with the lyrics. I hope this song, too, gains the love and popularity that the earlier songs had enjoyed”.
Ramesh Kumar, a real-life politician who played the roles of politicians in Muktha and Muktha Mukhta, said: “I never felt that I acted. We politicians can never fully express ourselves. So when I acted, I just let all my emotions, my angst, the questions in my mind take over me and come on screen. This was a unique opportunity that was given to me by Seetharam. To people, this acting looked very natural on-screen but I have never known what true acting is at all!” Voicing out his expectation from Mahaparva, he said he wants to see a change in the theme of the serial. Till now through Seetharam’s serials people know about the corruption in administration and politics so, “Let us give it a rest. I would really appreciate it if in this serial, he could focus on the people in the judiciary and the media who indulge in corrupt practices, which go unseen and unnoticed,” he requested.
Talking about his newest project, Seetaram said: “After four successful productions, I’m taking up Mahaparva. I’m anxious because of your expectations and the promise of success from this serial. We aren’t using the actors who played important parts in Muktha Muktha. We are trying to introduce new faces through this venture.” Revealing the mystery that surrounds the theme and storyline of the serial, he said, “Mahaparva is the great transition. In this age, our hearts and minds are changing in a way even we can’t notice. What we are against in our thoughts, we are for it in our actions. We keep working for the same thing which we are struggling against. Thus we are living in constant dichotomy. We have reached a stage where both, our dreams and our desires have reached a point of union. This tie/bond though is not positive, but negative. It is our attempt to portray all these concepts and themes in the serial. We hope we succeed in being able to reach and connect to each of you”.
Mahaparva is T N Seetharam’s fifth directorial tele-serial venture after Mayamruga, Manvantara, Muktha and Muktha Muktha. The muhurtha saw the rendition of title track along with the unveiling of the official name of the serial. The serial will air on ETV Kannada. The title track has been sung by Sangeeta Katti and Hemanth and the music has been composed by Praveen Godkindi.⊕