cinema: kannada


Prarambha (Kannada, 2007)

Prarambha is a short film by Santosh Sivan about a kid who has lost his parents and is dismissed from school because he is HIV+. Prabhudeva plays a lorry driver who befriends Kittu and helps get him back into school. Prarambha is one of four short films that comprise AIDS Jaago, a collection to raise AIDS awareness.

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Ninna noDalento matanaDalento
Manasa kELalento Preeti heLananto
aha ondthara thara
hELaondthara thara kELaondthara thara
hELaondthara thara kELaondthara thara

Just to get a glimpse of you, just to talk to you
Just to ask for your heart, just to let you know my love
Aha I feel something just like that
I feel something just to say it, I feel something just to ask for it.

kaNNigenu kaaNade sparshavenu illade
Eno nanna kaaDide Enu arthavagade..
hagalu ratri ninnade nooru nenapu mooDide
nannaleno aagide hELalenu agade.

Its not visible to the eyes, it cant be felt by touch
Something is bothering me, without knowing what it is
Day and night I think of you, a hundred thoughts emerge
Something has happened within me, something that cannot be explained

manasu maayavento madhurabhaavavento
payaNavelligento Nayana seralento
milanavaagalento gamana ello entho
aha ondthara thara
hELaondthara thara kELaondthara thara

The mind says it’s all magic, it’s a beautiful feeling
Don’t know where is the destination, maybe in your eye
Or to unite with you, don’t know where is its attention
Aha I feel something just like that
I feel something just to say it, I feel something just to ask for it.

Mella mella melluva sanneyalli kolluva
Sadde irada utsava preetiyonde ellava
Ghallu ghallu ennuva Hrudaya gejje naadava
Preeti tanda raagava taaLalendu bhaavava

Something very soft and mild, kills me in just simple signs
A huge carnival without a noise, only love is all around
Something that rings bells in the heart like a gejje (leg chain),
Love has brought a new raga, with uncontrollable feelings

Hrudayalli ento udayavaayitento
Sanihavagalento kanasa kaanalento
Harusha eno ento sogasa hELalanto
aha ondthara thara
hELaondthara thara kELaondthara thara

Something blossomed in the heart
To get closer to you, to dream about you,
What happiness, to speak about this to everyone
Aha I feel something just like that
I feel something just to say it, I feel something just to ask for it. 

Last 2-3 Industry Hit films of various South Indian languages


1. Enthiran - Superstar Rajinikanth 
2. Sivaji : The Boss (All India Hit) - Superstar Rajinikanth
3. Chandramukhi - Superstar Rajinikanth


1. Sarathi - Darshan
2. Power - Puneeth Rajkumar
3. Maanikya - Sudeep


1. Drishyam - Mohanlal
2. Premam - Nivin Pauly
3. Bangalore Days - Dulquer & Nivin


1. Baahubali - Prabhas
2. Attarintiki Daredi - Pawan Kalyan
3. Magadheera - Ram Charan

Speaking of Siva. Translated from the Kannada by A.K. Ramanujan. Penguin Classics, 1973 (reprint edition).

“Outside the city limits
A temple.
In the temple look a hermit woman.
In the woman’s hand
A needle,
At the needle’s end
The fourteen worlds.
O Lord of the Caves,
I saw an ant
Devour whole
The woman, the needle,
The fourteen worlds.”



Sharanu Sharanayya sharanu benaka

The melody, or gita, sneaks from its resting place

in our old cassette player and up the curved staircase,

its tendrils winding around the railings -

my mother tongue is wet and familiar

as I scrub my face in the mornings.

needayya baalella belaguvaa belaka

Today, I am here, and the gita is there, but

sometimes I dream in Kannada, and

I am whisked into a fading world

where mother tongue coexists with newer tastes

and we do not remix every Indian song we hear

where the language I love comes from love

and not the crux of battle between

parents trying to raise “cultured” children

a world where there isn’t a false dichotomy

between assimilation and preservation of roots

where our histories and our backgrounds

can shine through each of us

without always having to be

projected through song and dance.

I promise you the wells in India are filled with stories

much deeper, much richer than we let on

in our scripted performances

Nannige yella beku  –

I want a world where we appreciate

our tongues, our collective past, and mostly, our mothers

Thank you, Amma, for showing me

that my skin reflects more than just

ornate temples and colored powder on Holi, more than

college bhangra leagues and bharatnatyam, more than

embroidered saris, channa masala

and bindis worn as fashion statements by pop stars


Kannada flies across time zones when we Skype on Sunday mornings,

Kannada is the bed all four of us squeeze onto when I’m home,

Kannada is the boy in my grandparents’ village

who will smile and shine your shoes for just 25 paise

Kannada squirts milk, straight from a goat

Kannada is fresh banana leaves, covered in steaming yellow rice

Kannada is the wet cloth you press into my forehead when I have the flu,

and the sound of tickles, watching my sister dissolve into laughter


Kannada sings to me at bedtime, at all the times…

Jo jo laali na haaduve
Chinna ninnaa muddaaduve
hoovanta kanasoo ta moodi barali
naguva aluva huvante neenu


This is the song I can always summon at will,

in the voice of my mother.  


If you want to know who I am, ask me about her.