Ravuri Bharadwaja — A simple man with simple narrative

K.V. Kurmanath Ch.R.S. Sarma Hyderabad/Vizag | Updated on April 18, 2013

Ravuri Bharadwaja   -  Business Line

Ravuri Bharadwaja, who has won the prestigious Jnanpith Award for 2012, is a simple man. A writer for about 70 years, he believes in simple narrative.

Like his friends from his youth, Sarada and Aluru Bhujanga Rao, Bharadwaja had led a hard life in Tenali, a culturally thriving place in the pre-Independence days. Doing odd jobs and learning from the harsh realities of life, he developed a penchant for writing like his other two friends. Sarada died in his prime of his life. Bhardwaja and Bhujanga Rao continue to write, well into their eighties.

Pakudu Rallu (slippery stones), the work that got him the coveted award, is about the dark shades of the film industry. He picked the early trends of degeneration in an industry that had just begun to get monies from the new breed of film producers in the early seventies. In fact, that was a first authoritative novel on the Telugu film industry.

Sporting his trademark silvery beard, Bhardwaja can make friends quickly with strangers.

He went to school only up to secondary education and had closely studied the intricate and complex human relationships.

His Jeevana Samaram, a column he ran in Eenadu (Telugu daily), was a huge success.

He set a new trend in human interest stories. He introduced a wide variety of commoners to the readers, giving a slice of life from the hitherto untouched lives in the print medium. He would write on a beggar or a cobbler, bringing in the underlying struggle in the lives of common people.

Joined All India Radio as a junior script writer in 1959, he worked as producer. He retired from office in 1987. He published about 130 books, including novels, short stories, plays, poetry and essays.

In a letter to The Hindu, A.S Raman, the former Editor of the erstwhile Illustrated Weekly of India, wrote once, “R.K. Narayan is a writer with no tensions, no pretensions.'' It applies equally to Ravuri Bharadwaja Earlier, Viswanadha Satyanarayana was given the award for his work - Ramayana Kalpavruksham - and then later in the eighties Dr. C. Narayana Reddy was given the award for his work Viswambhara.

Bharadwaja, a critical realist, in his celebrated novel depicted the life of a Telugu film heroine - Manjari - who goes through all the traumas and travails of the life in the field. He was at that time a journalist having close contacts with many film personalities.

A disillusioned Manjari finally ends her life in the novel, with the last words, “The greatest tragedy in life is not to be left without money, but love.” It sounds almost like a cinematic cliché, but it strikes a chord. For Bharadwaja meant it, from the bottom of his heart.

Published on April 18, 2013

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