This is an article in the “City Idols” series. City Idols is an effort to revive the legacies of the people after whom roads and parks have been named.
Road Name: Shankar Nag Road named after Shankar Nagarkatte (9th November 1954 – 30th September 1990)
Road Location: Have you been to Shankar Nag road in Bommanahalli? Have you ever wondered who roads are named after? Or, wondered what led to the naming of roads after famous people? Most often, we wonder about why roads are named the way they are, but don’t give enough thought about it, or we don’t have the urge to dig deeper into the history of the road. This presentation has been made to help you find about one such road, Shankar Nag road in Bangalore.
The road is about 2kms away from the Electronic City flyover .The road is slightly inconspicuous and you most probably will take the road parallel to Shankar Nag road to get to the interior of Bommanahalli.
Shankar Nag was born on 9th November 1954 in Uttara Kannada. As a child, Shankar loved theatre and acting. After initial stints in Marathi drama, he turned his attention towards Kannada Films. His first role was as a mercenary in the movie ‘Onanodu Kaladi’. The national award that he won for the film catapulted him into getting major roles in movies. Shankar also directed movies with his brother, Anant, and is remembered for the T.V serial, Malgudi Days directed by him.
Shankar passed away in a car accident on 30th September 1990 aged just 35.
While doing my research, I realized that not many people even knew that there was a road called Shankar Nag Road in Bangalore!! Many people, though, knew the theatre,”Ranga Shankara” which was built to fulfill Shankar’s dream of allowing people to experience theatre alive.
Shankar’s last name, despite the road being called Shankar Nag road, is Nagarkatte. Shankar was born on 9 November 1954 in Uttara Kannada, Mysore State. His parents were Anandi and Sadanand Nagarkatte .His brother is the Kannada film actor Anant Nag.
Shankar was interested in theatre and acting even when he was young .He loved watching movies and enjoyed theatre. After his schooling he moved to Mumbai where he acted in Marathi dramas. His brother Anant Nag, urged Shankar to act in a Kannada movie ‘Onanodu Kaladalli’ directed by Girish Karnad. The epic movie was a big hit. It was just his debut movie yet it earned Shankar an award at the National film festival. His acting career spanning just 12 years saw him act in almost 80 Kannada movies.
Along with his brother Anant, Shankar began to direct movies as well. The duo produced movies like Geetha and Janma Janmada Anubanda with beautiful songs composed by Ilayaraja and wonderful screen play.
Apart from his movies, Shankar is remembered for one more thing, his television series Malgudi Days. Doordarshan, then the only major T.V channel in India approached Shankar to direct the T.V series Malgdui days, based on R.K Nayarayan’s novel of the same name. The T.V serial was appreciated widely and is still regarded as one of the best television serials produced in the country. Encouraged by the support and viewers that Malgudi Days garnered, Shankar went on to produce his next T.V serial ‘Swami’ also based on one of R.K Narayan’s books.
His movie Autoraja has gained immense popularity amongst auto drivers so much so that even today many auto drivers have a sticker of him on the back of their autos.
A fan of Shankar Nag adorning his auto:
An accident that occurred which involved Shankar’s car (and another lorry) while he was behind the wheel, while Shankar was shooting for the film Jokumaraswamy, was fatal for Shankar. The whole Kannada film industry, along with Shankar’s fans mourned the death of the legendary actor.
The accident nearly killed his wife, Arundati too. Despite the accident, she showed immense courage in going back to the film industry to act, and to turn many of Shankar’s ambitious ideas into reality.
Shankar produced, acted and directed numerous movies in his short, but illustrious career. Shankar will always be remembered for his roles in the movies, Auto Raja, Minchina Ota and of course ‘Onanodu Kaladalli’, amongst others, and for his typical ‘bad boy’ style of acting. For the citizens of Bangalore, Shankar Nag road will be a reminder of a man who brought the Kannada film industry to the forefront of Indian Cinema.