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Shankar Nag

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Years active  1977–1990
Role  Film actor
Height  5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Spouse  Arundathi Nag (m. ?–1990)
Children  1 daughter
Siblings  Anant Nag
Name  Shankar Nag

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Full Name  Shankar Nagarkatte
Born  9 November 1954 (1954-11-09) Mallapur,Honnavar, Uttara Kannada Dist, Mysore State, India
Other names  Shankar Anna, Karate King, Auto Raja
Occupation  Actor, director, producer, screenwriter, television anchor
Parent(s)  Sadananda NagarakatteAnandi
Died  September 30, 1990, Davangere
Movies  Sangliyana, Geetha, CBI Shankar, Minchina Ota, Hosa Jeevana

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Shankar Nagarakatte (9 November 1954 – 30 September 1990), popularly known as Shankar Nag, was an acclaimed Indian film actor, screenwriter, director, producer and philanthropist who worked primarily in the Kannada film industry. Besides films, he established himself as a writer and actor in Television and theater. Widely acclaimed for his visionary filmmaking , he directed and acted in the most talked-about teleserial, Malgudi Days, based on celebrated novelist R.K.Narayan's short stories. He co-wrote 22 June 1897, an Indian national award-winning Marathi film. He is the younger brother of actor Anant Nag.


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Early career

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Shankar Nagarkatte was born on 9 November 1954 in Mallapur, Honnavar. His parents were Anandi and Sadanand Nagarkatte. Born into a Konkani-speaking family, 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 Ananth Nag. After completing formal education, Shankar moved to Mumbai. In Mumbai, he was attracted to Marathi theatre and immersed himself in theatrical activities. Incidentally, he met his future wife, Arundhathi during a drama rehearsal. He was his mother's favorite son.

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Shankar Nag then shifted base to Karnataka. His elder brother Ananth Nag had already established himself as an actor and urged Shankar to act in films. He was offered a role of a mercenary by Girish Karnad in the epic movie, Ondanondu Kaladalli 1979 Gandugali is a mercenary who earns a position in a rival army after he rescues a few wounded soldiers. He wishes to get even with his rival brother, whom he considers his enemy. The film was largely based on Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece, Yojimbo. His debut film as actor fetched him a national award at the Delhi International Film Festival. Thus began his film career, where, in a span of 12 years (from 1978 to 1990) he acted in some 80 Kannada movies, as a leading man, besides co-producing (with actor-brother Anant Nag) and directing some films like Minchina Ota (a rare example of a heist movie in Kannada), Janma Janmada Anubandha and Geetha (both of which had music by South Indian maestro Ilayaraja).

Later days

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Commercial film producers took notice of Shankar Nag and he began acting in typical masala movies. Seetaramu was Shankar Nag's first commercial movie. Shankar was an unconventional hero with an unshaven face, distinct swagger, dark eyes and had a rough voice. Although he had never undergone any martial arts training, he earned the sobriquet of Karate King. His popular films include Auto Raja, Geeta, S.P. Sangliana, and Minchina Ota. He had also identified himself with the Janata Party in 1980s.

Directorial debut

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Shankar began his directorial with Minchina Ota. This won him seven state awards, including the best film. And then came a series of films directed by him. Janma Janmada Anubandha, Geetha, Accident (which won many state and national awards), Ondu Muttina Kathe (with Rajkumar in the lead – loosely based on John Steinbeck's novel The Pearl), Nodi Swamy Navirodu Hige, Lalach and Hosa Theerpu (remake of Dushman – his only directorial remake).His film Accident has treated as a landmark and revolutionary in the Indian Cinema.

Malgudi Days

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Shankar did not limit his efforts to cinema. He was equally immersed in theatre and television. Malgudi Days is the best example of Shankar's oeuvre on television. Prior to globalisation, Doordarshan was the only broadcaster in India. In addition to programme production, Doordarshan used to invite private producers to produce television serials. Shankar accepted the offer and directed Malgudi Days, based on the collection of short stories by R.K.Narayan in 1987, under the banner of Padam Rag Films. Well known actors Vishnuvardhan and Anant Nag appeared in the serial. Master Manjunath, who played the role of impish Swami, became a household name. The music, accompanied by the nasal twang "Tananaa tana na naa" on YouTube was composed by L. Vaidyanathan. The teleserial was shot in Agumbe, Shimoga district, Karnataka. Shankar went to direct another teleserial, titled 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.

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He anchored the Parichaya program on DD1-Kannada, in its starting days. Shankar retained an interest in theatre. His brother Anant Nag and he founded SANKET, an amateur theatre group, which still produces plays. His first ever directorial effort in Kannada was Anju Mallige by Girish Karnad. He continued with productions like Barrister, Sandhya Chhaya. Sometime here he was 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.


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Shankar Nag died in a car crash at Anagodu village on the outskirts of Davanagere town on 30 September 1990, during the shooting of his film Jokumaraswamy. His wife and daughter, who were in the car with him, were injured but survived the accident. His last film as an actor, Sundarakanda, was released a few days after his death.

For Sundarakanda, Shankar Nag's voice dubbing was fulfilled by Murali, critically acclaimed dubbing artist in the film industry and the second brother of popular actress Sudha Rani.

Nigooda Rahasya, one of his last films also had his brother and the one of the most successful and respected actors Anant Nag complete the voice dubbing for Shankar.


Nag is considered one of the most influential, talented, exciting, dedicated and experimental artists in Indian cinema. The quick mindedness with no-nonsense thoughts were his strongest characteristics.

Many of his stories are still talked about among his fan base which include his visions for development, eradicating poverty, working unitedly for a better society, etc.

His films Autoraja, Moogana Sedu, Muniyana Madari, Karmika Kallanalla, Nodi Swamy Navirodu Hige, Indina Bharatha, Accident, Parameshi Prema Prasanga, Lorry Driver, etc. were a reflection of his affection towards the working class of the society. Not only did he showed it through films, but also had a "big picture" which he was to bring it to the forefront at some point of time in his future life, which unfortunately ended soon.

It is also a well known fact that among the celebrity stars of the 1980s, two of the actors were famous for driving the tricky Agumbe ghats with only fingers fiercely and enjoying it. One among them was Shankar, the other actor being rebel star Ambareesh, both having terrific interest in cars.

Ranga Shankara, a brain child of Shankar is one of the leading theaters for stage plays and an important place for the people of Karnataka as this is one of Shankar's dreams that people take it with their love for plays. The committee has Arundathi Nag, Girish Karnad, among others and it is an important stage for not only national plays and event but also for hosting international plays in more than 10 languages.

It is because of his film Autoraja that his pictures are found on the auto rickshaws of Karnataka even 25 years after his death. This is a record for having the maximum number of autorickshaws having his picture in one form or the other which is a slight edge over all the other actors of Kannada film industry. He is a symbol of assurance of hope towards social improvement and a friendly gesture towards each other in the state.

There was a project initiated in the 2000s to bring him back to the big screen with an animated movie. The director planned to use his character to send out meaningful and positive messages to the society. Due to unknown reasons, the project was shelved. It was titled Pravadi.


Shankar Nag Wikipedia