Sneha Girap (Editor)

G V Iyer

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
December 21, 2003, Mumbai

Film director

G. Iyer



3 September 1917 (
Nanjanagud, Kingdom of Mysore, British India

Other names
G. V. IyerKannada Bheeshma

Actor, film director, screenwriter

Known for
Sanskrit film direction

Notable work
National Film Award for Best Screenplay

Adi Shankaracharya, Bhagavad Gita, Hemavathi, Bedara Kannappa, Hamsageethe

Similar People
Narasimharaju, G K Venkatesh, Udaykumar, Balakrishna, Sarvadaman D Banerjee

Native name
ಗಣಪತಿ ವೆಂಕಟರಮಣ ಅಯ್ಯರ್

Madhvacharya 1987 vande vandyam dvadasha stotram film by g v iyer madhwacharya movie

Ganapathi Venkataramana Iyer (3 September 1917 – 21 December 2003), popularly known as G. V. Iyer, was a well-known Indian film director and actor. He was nicknamed "Kannada Bheeshma", and was the only person who made movies in Sanskrit. His movie Adi Shankaracharya (1983) won four National Film Award, including Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Audiography. His films were well known for their spiritual themes. He was born in 1917 in Nanjanagud in Mysore district of Karnataka state in South India. His most critically acclaimed films Bhagavad Gita (1993), which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film and was nominated for Best Film at the Bogotá Film Festival. And Swami Vivekananda (1998), Mithun Chakraborty won national award for Best Supporting Actor.


G. V. Iyer Iyer1New240515jpg

G. V. Iyer and family photos with friends and relatives


He started his career at the age of eight when he joined the Gubbi Veeranna theatre group. His first role as an actor in cinema was in the film Radha Ramana. Besides this he acted in a number of other movies such as Mahakavi Kalidasa, Sodhari, Hemavati, Hari Bhaktha and Bedara Kannapa. He is credited with providing breaks to two of the greatest Kannada actors, Dr Raj Kumar and Narasimha Raju in the movie Bedara Kannappa. Though Raj Kumar had acted in a single scene in a movie previously, the movie Bedara Kannappa where Mr Iyer cast him as the hero is where he got his break and is regarded generally as his first movie. Iyer also produced another critically acclaimed move Vamsha Vriksha. Based on an acclaimed novel by S L Bhairappa, it was jointly directed by B V Karanth and Girish Karnad.

He soon started directing his own movies. The movie Hamsageethe (music by Dr. Balamuralikrishna, B. V. Karanth and T.G. Lingappa) was extremely well received and made him famous. Iyer wrote scripts, lyrics and produced and directed many commercial Kannada movies. Iyer's biggest effort was Ranadheera Kanteerava. He continued making commercial movies until 1970.

In his younger days, he was a committed to Gandhi and his ideals. He stopped wearing footware from the day Gandhi died and never wore them again. He also wore hand-spun clothes colloquially called "Khadi" as was advocated by Gandhi.

He was proficient in both Kannada and Sanskrit and was soon to make the first movie in Sanskrit, about the famous philosopher Adi Shankaracharya (1983). The movie received the National Film Awards for Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Audiography and has been known as a master piece. It is believed that the movie made a great impact on Iyer.

He later went on to make a film on Madhvacharya in Kannada and Ramanujacharya in Tamil. He also made a remarkable Sanskrit movie Bhagavad Gita (1993), which won Best Film at the National Film Awards of 1993. The film was also nominated for Best Film at the Bogotá Film Festival.

He also produced a television series Natyarani Shanthala, a historical, on the Hoysala Jain queen Shanthala, who was married to a Vaishnava King. It was re-made in Hindi as well as in Kannada. It was based on several works by Samethanahalli Rama Rao in Kannada.

He later went on to make a movie Swami Vivekananda. It was an attempt to portray Swami Vivekananda, realistically. For this film Mithun Chakraborty won his national award for Best Supporting Actor. Mithun Chakraborty made excellent roll of Shri Ramkrishna Paramhansa. Though it had many famous actors such as Mithun Chakraborty, Hema Malini and Sarvadaman Banerjee, the movie failed to become a commercial success.

He was planning a film based on the Hindu epic Ramayana, with Sanjay Dutt playing the role of Ravana, before his sudden death on 21 December 2003 at the age of 87. His last rites took place at his Bharadhwaja Ashrama, near Dodda Aladamara, on the outskirts of Bangalore, near Kengeri.

Director, Writer and Producer

2001 Sri Krishna Leele


  • Radha Ramana (1943)
  • Bedara Kannappa (1954)
  • Sodari (1955)
  • Bhakta Mallikarjuna (1955)
  • Sadarame (1956)
  • Jagajyothi Basveshwara (1959)
  • Ranadheera Kanteerava (1960)
  • Kantheredu Nodu (1961)
  • Vamsha Vriksha (1971)
  • Hemavathi (1977)
  • Awards

  • 1983: National Film Award
  • Best Film: Adi Shankaracharya
  • Best Screenplay: Adi Shankaracharya
  • 1993: National Film Award
  • Best Film: Bhagavad Gita
  • 1993: Bhagavad Gita – nominated for Best Film at the Bogotá Film Festival in Golden Precolumbian Circle.
  • References

    G. V. Iyer Wikipedia

    Similar Topics