July 11, 2020
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U.R. Ananthamurthy

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U.R. Ananthamurthy

He calls himself "a critical insider". Padma Bhushan U.R. Ananthamurthy, who came into the limelight with his first collection of stories Prashne, stands in the vanguard of the Navya writers in Kannada. Greatly influenced by Shivaram Karanth and Adiga and his doctoral work in England on political novels under Marxist critics Malcolm Bradbury and Richard Hoggarth, he wrote his first novel questioning the orthodoxies of communities in his state. Samskara was made into a film that became a landmark in the Kannada film industry and won him the President's Gold medal. Two more works of his were made into award-winning films—Ghatashraddha and Bara. A 1995 Jnanpith recipient, he's been the chairman of the NBT and the Indian Institute of Social Sciences and president of Sahitya Akademy. He's also penned a play, three collections of poems and many short stories. An English professor, he's also brought about a radical change in the field of literary criticism. In his Jnanpith acceptance speech, he said: "Art's still a good hiding place. It allowed Solzhenitsyn to remain a believer, and it has made it possible for many non-believers to retain their integrity in times of intolerance and bigotry."

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