In the year 1970 January month two Kannada films got released – first one was on January 2, 1970 ‘Gejje Pooje’ one of the super hit films and at the end of January 1970 historical film of Dr Rajakumar in BR Panthulu direction and production ‘Sri Krishnadevaraya’ got released. We have already discussed on ‘Sri Krishnadevaraya’.
Now coming to this glorious film ‘Gejje Pooje’ the memories of Shivaramanna and ace cameraman of yesteryears BS Basavaraj feeds lot of information on the 50 years – golden jubilee of the film ‘Gejje Pooje’. It was a black and white film.
Prior to this discussion the granddaughter of highly acclaimed novelist MK Indira – Smt Vasanthi in a chat stated ‘Gejje Pooje’ was written by her grandmother in 1965 and it was published in a series of issues of ‘Prajavani’ newspaper. Later in 1966 the novel was published by SR Prakashana. Smt Vasanthi is brimming with happiness of her grandmother novel ‘Gejje Pooje’ of the same title film completing 50 years of release.
We bring you some of the highlights of this film ‘Gejje Pooje’ released on 2nd January 1970.
· Rashi Brothers – Ramanath and Shivaram (popular as Shivaramanna today) are producers of this film. It was Chitra Jyothi banner film.
· MK Indira when contacted for a subject handed over 3 novels of her for the film. But ‘Gejje Pooje’ was picked. It was the fifth novel of MK Indra.
· When the novel was read by Minugu Thare Kalpana she was very firm on making this as a film.
· Three were in the queue to direct this film but finally it landed in the hands of doyen director SR Puttanna Kanagal.
· The film shooting was held in 40 days. The total budget of the movie was Rs.5 lakhs. Puttanna Kanagal got the highest remuneration among all.
· The entire shoot was held at Premiere Studio Mysuru. There were 3 sets – A, B and D. In A set it was actress Leelavathi house, in B set song shooting was done, in D set it was a street set.
· In the technology also the film was very forward. From Madras ‘Tenor’ lights were utilized for this film.
· According to Basavaraj BS, Puttanna is known for utilizing the best of technology. In Nagarahavu Puttannaji used ‘High Speech Camera’ for ‘Masanada Hoovu’ for two shots ‘Steady’ camera was utilized he says.
· The film introduced lot of new talent like BSNarayana, CH Lokanath, cameraman Srikanth etc.
· Lokanath, (Uppinakayi Uncle he later became from Boothayyana Maga Ayyu) a mechanical engineer at that time travelled from Tumakuru to Mysuru from his Yezdi motorbike to the shooting spot.
· Navarathna Ram was introduced as dialogue writer from this film, Srikanth a friend of Ramanath in St Joseph’s was brought in as cameraman. Sundarakrishna Urs ace actor was assistant director of this film with Puttanna Kanagal.
· For the budget of Rs.5 lakhs the film got released in 9 centers and made six times more.
· In Bengaluru States (now Bhumika) the first week share was Rs.22000. In Nanda, Anjan theatres in Bengaluru, in Hassan Picture Palace theatre, Mysuru Woodlands the film had very successful screening.
· The film ran for 100 days, at old Glass House of Lalbagh it was celebration time. Puttannaji was presented with a Fiat Car by Rashi Brothers.
· HN Maruthi was the distributor of this film.
· The star cast was huge – Kalpana, Leelavathi, Arathi, Pandari Bai, Annapurnamma, Swarnamma, MN Lakshmi Devi, Indrani, Anupama, Shakuntala, Baby Padmasri, Baby Saraswathi, Baby Shobha, Baby Sheela, guest artist of the film was BV Radha.
· Amon male actors Gangadhar, KS Ashwath, TNBalakrishna, Vajramuni, BS Narayan, Lokanath, Krishna Bharadwaj, Sampath, Sathyanarayana had good share of screen space.
· The lovely songs composed by Vijayabhasker were penned by Vijayanarasimha, Chi Udayashanker and RN Jayagopal.
· The richly popular was Panchamaveda Premada Naada…. At the 100 days MK Indira lauded this song is as popular as Rashtra Geethe.
· The half shirt of Gangadhar hero of the film was also talked about.
· The songs sung by S Janaki – Maguve Ninna Hoonage…Panchamaveda Premada Naada…. Hejje Hejjegu Honne Suriyali…Gaganavu Ello Bhumiyu Ello….are still fresh to hear. PB Srinivos sung the Panchamaveda Premada Nada….song also, BK Sumithra got the chance to sing Ondu Dina Rathriyalli…. The song of BK Sumithra was not used in the film.
· Srikanth behind camera, VP Krishna did the editing for this film.
· GEJJE POOJE got the best screenplay award at the national level. It was received by SR Puttanna Kanagal.
· At the state level the film got the best supporting actress award for Leelavathi, best screenplay for Puttanna Kanagal, for dialogues to Navarathna Ram, SV Srikanth for best cinematography.
· Such a wonderful film ‘Gejje Pooje’ was remade in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu languages.