Friday, September 24, 2010

Tilak, last doyen of dissent cinema, passes away

A man who was known as a firebrand and even spoken out against the underworld dons is no more. Kollipara Balagangadhar Tilak, who produced and directed 15 films passed away in Hyderabad at the KIMS Hospital after a brief period of illness, at the age of 84 years. He is survived by a son who he is said to have adopted. His wife though, left for heavenly abode a year or so ago. A filmmaker of eminence and one known for his leftist ideology, Tilak did not believe in mincing words and also took on the underworld and its efforts to control the Telugu film industry by getting a foothold first in the form of financing film production. That apart, he is best remembered for the way he carried on a struggle and eventually even sought legal help in getting industry workers their promised share of five per cent of profits for working in the epic 'Gandhi' made by Richard Attenborough.

Closer home, Tilak introduced popular singer S. Janaki through the song ‘Nee Asha Adiyasa’ in the film ‘MLA’ in 1957. Not just that, he also gave popular actress and now Member of Parliament, Jayaprada a break in the dog-eat-dog world of films, when she was barely 15 years, with ‘Bhoomikosam’.

A nephew of the legendary L V Prasad, he was concern for the downtrodden and the oppressed and fought for them throughout his life and not just through his films that carried this message. He was against social evils, customs and taboos. He was born in Dendaluru in West Godavari district in 1926 and even at the young age of 13, joined the freedom movement. He was also arrested and jailed in the year 1942 during the Quit India movement.

Tilak produced and directed 15 movies, including 10 in Telugu, two each in Hindi and Tamil and one in Marathi too. His Telugu films include ‘Muddu Bidda’, ‘Atta Oka Inti Kodale’, ‘Eedu Jodu’, ‘Uyyala Jampala’, ‘Chitti Tammudu’ and ‘Pantaalu Pattimpulu’, all in black and white and three including ‘Bhoomi Kosam’, ‘Kolleti Kaapuram’ and ‘Dharmavaddi’ in colour
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