TN Seetharam and ‘Muktha’ mesmerised us

July 28, 2006

tns
Pic Courtesy: Sanjay M, Sampada, thatskannada.com,
kannadastore.com [Collage: RK]

A woman who deserts her husband and two little daughters and goes with a man whom she loves, a man who strives to come out of his wife’s shadow and establish an identity of his own, an elderly couple who fight over trivial matters, the elder swamiji who silently protests the Math’s takeover by the foreign-educated junior swamiji, innocent people getting caught in a murder case, CET issue, Dowry Law Misuse (IPC – 498A): through these characters TN Seetharam brings out the complexities of human relations.

Trials and tribulations of a middle-class family, commercialisation and politicisation of religious institutions, a multi-national mining company that grabs land from farmers, debt-ridden farmers committing suicide, an honest woman IPS officer who takes on the politicians, a powerful minister who controls the Chief Minister, kidnapping a child and killing a mother-in-law for property, made the serial a true pot-boiler.

Everything and everyone found a place in Muktha.

Muktha was distinctly different from other Kannada serials. It took up major issues like Naxalism, capitation fees, organic farming and godmen with grace and panache. This mega-serial is all set to finish shortly, in fact today…. (When we met TNS a couple of months ago, he said it will end on July 28th, 2006. But there are a lot of loose ends to fix and doubt whether it will end today, even after the SMS drama!).

T N Seetharam has become a household name in Karnataka. He has written and directed television serials – Sphota, Maya Mruga, Manvanthara, Maley Billu and Muktha – that have catapulted him to fame and fortune. His courtroom drama, Muktha, has viewers sitting rivetted to their TV sets, and as an actor, he has become a familiar figure, battling it out in court.

Ironically, the black-coated lawyer who always fights for the underdog was something that Seetharam had wanted to be in real life. “I studied law, but I am more successful playing a lawyer on screen. Now, after every episode, most of the calls I get are from viewers who are lawyers and judges!” he exclaimed in an exclusive chat.

Was this the fulfilment of his personal ambition of wanting to become a successful lawyer? “Definitely, yes! I used to dream of this – me standing in court arguing an important case, with all those people watching.”

So, all those legal angles were accurate, everything technically correct. Every bit and everything was carefully researched by his team. And it showed in the serial, specially the court scenes. So much so that ETV Kannada channel banned anyone else except TNS to shoot court scenes in their serials.

Seetharam was jolted into looking at the harsh realities of life when his sister died tragically. He was 15 years old at that time. “I won’t say that I became a serious person, but this incident definitely made me look at life from a very serious angle,” he said with a hint of sadness in his eyes.

This incident had a deep impact on him, and this is why his TV serials have such a strong woman factor. “I haven’t specifically written about this incident at all. But I began to see the helplessness of a woman in a middle-class set-up – how the husband is not a person, but an establishment. There are a lot of such woman characters in my serials.”

Seetharam was 20 years old when he wrote his first play, prompted by another tragic incident – the passing away of his father. Only later did Seetharam begin to think that he might have played a part in his father’s early demise.

“My father was a Shanubhoga — a village accountant — and wanted me to come and look after his ten acres of land. I was then studying law, and along with people like P Lankesh, was a committed socialist opposed to owning landed property. I wrote  a letter to my father saying that I did not want to come, and that I was not interested in his land. He had acquired this piece of property through sheer hard work.

“I learnt much later from my mother that he had taken my refusal to heart. He was suffering from some ailment, and after my letter reached him, he was so upset that he stopped taking his medicine.

“This affected me deeply, and I wrote my first play, Baduka Mannisu Prabhuve. I entered the play in a competition organised by Prajavani, and got the first prize. Dr Ramachandra Sharma, the renowned playwright and poet, was one of the judges. This was how I wrote my first play.”

Prior to writing his first play, Seetharam was already an established Kannada theatre actor. One-act plays were popular then, and P Lankesh, after seeing one of his performances, told him that he had to play a role in every play that he wrote. “In most of Lankesh’s one-act plays I played the lead role.”

Seetharam’s entry into films was after his play, Asphota, written in 1977 on the Emergency, became a runaway hit. The celebrated Kannada director Puttana Kanagal watched the 100th show of the play, staged in Madras. Puttanna was so impressed that he asked Seetharam to write the screenplay and dialogue for his next film, Manasa Sarovara. This 1982 film went on to become an award-winning hit.

Anybody would think that after such a start, Seetharam had finally signalled his arrival into the world of television and films. But yet another jolt awaited him. He had signed as guarantor for a huge loan for one of his acquaintances, who had closed his factory and “run away.” A summons was served on Seetharam on the day of his marriage. On the night of his wedding, Seetharam went to Shimoga in search of his acquaintance. The man he was searching for escaped by jumping over the rear wall when Seetharam knocked at his door. “That’s why my serials always has somebody innocent who cannot pay back their loans, summons are issued, and there is a battle against such a case!” He laughed at the memory.

But it was no laughing matter then. For a period of ten years – from 1982 to 1992 – Seetharam took over the automotive battery-manufacturing unit and sought to pay back the loan. Even the sale of his property could not have covered the debt.

In 1990, Seetharam directed the TV serial Sphota, based on his theatre hit, Aasphota. This was telecast on Doordarshan. It took another two years for Seetharam to finish paying back the huge loan of Rs.11 lakhs. After his entry into the world of television serials, there was no looking back. “I think it was goodbye to all those hard days. All my serials since then have been successful.”

All of Seetharam’s television productions have been mega-serials. Where does he get the inspiration? “It began as a necessity. I needed the money. Now it has become a way of life. Sometimes I feel fatigued, but otherwise it has become my work.”

Does he not tire of this exercise and long for a serial to get over? “Oh, I’ve felt like that so many times! I have been asking ETV to allow me to conclude Muktha for the past one year. But they did not want to! Also, it’s not so easy: nearly 70 people directly depend on me for their livelihood. I would not call this creative work – it becomes creative only incidentally. ”

Seetharam has written the story and screenplay for the film Kraurya. It is about the travails of an old lady in a traditional middle class family and the complex relations between individuals, spanning generations. He has acted in Dharanimandala Madhyadolage and directed Matadaana which secured the ‘Best Regional Film’ award at the 47th Indian National Film Awards. He has written plays like Nammolagobba Naajukayya, Baduka Mannisu Prabhuve and the much aclaimed Asphota. He has directed serials like Mayamruga, Mukhamukhi, Manvanthara, Maley Billu, Muktha and Colleju Ranga. Mayamruga had the Karnataka population glued to their TV sets for 2 years. It captured the successes and struggles of three middle class girls who attempt to balance their personal and professional life.

As it is so obvious, all of Seetharam’s serials since 1992 have had titles beginning with the letter ‘M.’ Seetharam hastens to point out that it was nothing to do with luck or any such thing. “When I conceived Maya Mruga, I could identify with the title. I was chasing a mirage in the form of this bank guarantee and see what happened”, he says, adding, “Matadaana was based on Byrappa’s novel of the same name. After that the channel insisted on titles beginning with ‘M’. I can give you hundreds of such titles. It has nothing to do with my personal choice or luck.”

This brought us to his experience with the making of the film Matadaana (starring Anant Nag, Tara, Mukhyamantri Chandru and others). Byrappa’s novel dealt with the political situation in 1954, with the erosion of Gandhian moral values. Seetharam set his film in 1971, the era of Indira Gandhi and Devaraj Urs. “I wanted to portray how administration and corruption began to combine. That is not there in the novel. Also, I wanted to show what happens when an educated man wants to stand for elections.”

Seetharam is on the final lap of his mega serial, Muktha. He wants to take a break after the serial, and is planning on a feature film, Mrs. Mukhyamantri, produced by journalist friend Ravi Belagere. And Malavika has been roped in to play the lead role. But TNS told the film neither has a ‘Mrs.’ nor a ‘Mukhyamantri’. I hate suspense.

Also visit:
http://msanjay.weblogs.us/entries/88/muktha-tn-seetharam

64 Responses to “TN Seetharam and ‘Muktha’ mesmerised us”

  1. travel plaza Says:

    Great wite up RK. I loved reading it. Being so far away from home, I don’t often come across much news about Kannada movies or serials. We do have two hindi channels though. Some of our friends have Udaya TV and keep me updated on few things on that channel.

  2. rk Says:

    TP,
    Thanks. I am happy you liked it.
    A new Kannada channel has been started by Zee TV. The channel is yet to pick up. But got to see a lovely interview of Bannanje Govindacharya last Sunday.🙂
    Got to see which serial will replace Muktha’s slot on ETV-Kan.
    Do keep visiting here for further updates.

  3. hp Says:

    hey, you’ve used some copyrighted images! No bother, but I’d have appreciated if you had just put in a word.

    Cheers,

  4. rk Says:

    dear hp,

    extremely sorry for that. :( 
    mentioned your name in the photo credit for the picture used.🙂

  5. usha Says:

    Good write up.. RK

    We hope to see more informative and good quality serials like Muktha..

    Definitely these good quality programs brings in respect for the language, culture, and are models to showcase society we belong to..
    I am sure good programs attract good viewership.. Muktha is a classic example for that..

  6. Vidya Says:

    Ramki,

    Well written. Thanks for the info about Seetharam.

    I got to know so much more about T N Seetharam’s personal life. He has really struggled in his life without which he wouldnot have been able to touch so many hearts of kannadigas. For a person like me who never used to bother watching any TV serials, TNS has indeed achieved great success if he has made me hold the TV remote from 9 to 9:30pm Monday to Friday.

    I wish Seetharam contributes more to Kannada theatre/films/serials.

  7. rk Says:

    usha,
    thanks a lot. yes, good quality programs are a rarity these days, and when they are made as well as Muktha, they certainly attract viewers!

    vidya,
    you are welcome. tns has seen a lots of ups and downs, alwa? certainly, he made the youth and the intellectuals sit up and watch his serials.
    but the irony is that even his charisma wasn’t enough for him to win the elections recently!😦

  8. rk Says:

    Veena Shivanna says in Sanjay’s blog:

    Bellur avare, nimma article tumba chennagide, well written & very apt. I don’t have much adjectives to add. TNS serials gaLa collage tumba chennagide.

  9. Sanjay M Says:

    Farewell will have pause button as mutkha is going on for some more time…….🙂

  10. rk Says:

    Veena: Dhanyavadagalu. nimage khushi aadre namagu trupti.

    Sanjay: According to a recent survey, it seems ‘Muktha’ has really bored viewers so much (specially last month or so) that they are referring to it as Mutkha!

  11. Shruthi Says:

    Very nicely written, Bellur. Concice, crisp, complete.


  12. Never got a chance to watch Muktha. Mayamruga used to be my favourite in good old days. I guess it’s time for TNS to get into mainstream cinema.

    Early this year in Muscat, bowing to audience request , C. Ashwath had to sing the title song of Muktha twice during his show. The song was such a hit that my 4-yr-old daughter kept humming the tune for a few weeks.

  13. Nitya Says:

    cool website! how can u write all of this stuff during lunch? bye

  14. rk Says:

    Shruthi,
    Thanks Professor! A Concise & crisp comment indeed.

    Nitya,
    Welcome to my blog! Feels nice that you liked it…..keep visiting. It’s during lunch time I get the FOOD for THOUGHT!

  15. rk Says:

    Kishor,
    Your daughter seems to be a cute singer!
    You can read the latest interview with TNS that has appeared in today’s Vijay Times. Have put it as a post.
    https://bellurramki18.wordpress.com/2006/08/02/tn-seetharams-interview-in-vijay-times-august-2-2006/


  16. Singer enu illa RK, sumne hadtha irthaley. Interview makes a nice read.

  17. rk Says:

    Kishor,
    Thanks.
    And most singers start off like that. If she is interested in Music, suggest you send her to some singing classes.🙂


  18. […] TN Seetharam and ‘Muktha’ mesmerised us […]

  19. Chaitanya Prabhu Says:

    To,
    Mr. Seetharam of Muktha

    Sir,

    I want to suggest you that in Muktha the old couple scene is going out of control because there is limit to teease each other when ever you show about the old couple you have made more un necessary scenes between them this is first point. Seccond point is mother of Malivika she has been more sentimental then any mother in the world. third point is the waste caracter of Mithraie who was not needed in the whole serial or it was necessary you whould have gave her an major or important role in the serial.

    I want a male dominent serial because in this serial Mr. Purusothama, Nanjunda, srikanta, carecters are useless according to your serial. and you have shown that they have no guts to face the problem then women.

    accept the above comment rest all in the serial everything is good and watchable

    So i hope you will do change the mistake in this serial and do good serial in future

    i Hope will send replay for this mail, If i have said any mistake please understand that to me.

    Thanking you,
    Chaitanya Prabhu M.P.

  20. rk Says:

    gopal, sorry i don’t watch too many serials. mridula yaaru antha gottilla. but yes, thought she was good in a cameo role though.

  21. Gopal Says:

    Dear rk,
    Do you know how I got be in this blogsite?I got to know of Sanjay’s blogs from a churmuri post .Searched for sanjay’s blog-but came across your wonderful write up on Mutha/TNS.I have watched all his serials right from Mayamruga.I even remember another serial on DD where he caricatures Devraj urs-but it was discontinued due to orders.
    I forgot a movie-B/W -where Sitaram acted as unemployed man.So I have been his fan and will continue to be so.

  22. rk Says:

    Chaitanya Prabhu,
    Since you have addressed your comment to Mr.TNS, all I can say is : Welcome to my blog. Good luck.🙂 Keep visiting.

    Gopal,
    Nice to know of the blogroute you took. I have bogrolled both Sanjay and Churumuri. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. Myself,Sanjay and a few others had an exclusive Samvaada with TNS a few months back. He is really down to earth and no airs, we felt.
    Do visit again and cheers.

  23. Gopal Says:

    I think Nagatihalli chandrasekhar’s Onde Kula..Onde daiva will replce the Muktha slot after it concludes

  24. Gopal Says:

    Thank you and will check this blogsite regularly.
    I think Nagatihalli chandrasekhar’s Onde Kula..Onde daiva will replace the Muktha slot after it concludes

  25. Gopal Says:

    I forgot to ask you….I was able to identify all the characters but for the latest…MRIDULA role..Has anyone got an answer?

  26. rk Says:

    Gopal,
    Na. Chandrashekar’s serial may start at 9pm on ETV but no serial can replace Muktha, coz it was such a wholesome serial, alwa? It will be difficult for even TNS to match his own “Muktha”, whenever he will start another serial that is.

  27. Divya Says:

    Could you please provide Seetharam’s contact number and address

  28. sangeetha giridhar Says:

    respected sir

    hello i am sangeeta frm bangalore ,@present i am in usa LA,sir we love ur all of ur serials ,pls do repeat those serial in usa,we r letrally pls do help us in this.we senicerly request this.
    (my brother is kannnada filim producer,SRI,MONALISA)

    with lots of hope& waiting for u reply
    thanks for spearing to read my small little request

    sangeetha giridhar

  29. B Says:

    Hi,

    Could you please provide me Mr. Ravi Belagere’s Contact number.

    B

  30. rk Says:

    divya,
    whenever i get it, will surely post it here.

    sangeetha giridhar,
    i hope TNS reads your comment. good luck.

    B,
    whenever i get it, will surely post it here.

  31. sangeetha giridhar Says:

    respected sir
    hello sir how r u doing ,i hope doing fine.

    pls any one can tell me the ID of T N Seetharam,i am bg fan of him,i heard tht 2nd part of muktha s coming on the way so any updates on tht pls leemmme know

    wishng u all the very best in u life sir

    waiting for u muktha serial 2nd innings

    urs
    fan
    sangeetha giridhar USA

  32. sangeetha giridhar Says:

    hai rk
    how r u doing i saw ur replying to ever one,but y r u not replying to my mail.pls reply to my mail,this is my first mail.atleast i’ll b happy,happy holi one & all

    warm regards

    sangeetha giridhar
    USA

  33. rk Says:

    sangeetha giridhar,
    hello! thanks for visiting Rambling with Bellur.
    when me and my friends met TNS during the end stages of Muktha, we got to know that he was not too comfortable with computers. he told he didn’t even know how to start a PC, leave alone checking e-mails. atleast that’s what he confessed.

    when i get his mail id, will take his permission and put it up here. but not sure how often he checks his mails!
    to read more about TNS, Muktha & related articles, visit: ‘Muktha by TN Seetharam’

    anyway, nice to know you are a great fan of TNS. i am sure you, like most back home, are waiting for Muktha II to start!

    happy holi to you and your family!

    PS: please scroll up to see my reply to your first comment.🙂

  34. sangeetha giridhar Says:

    hi rk

    thanx rk ,i am glad tht u replied to my mail,ia m happy

    so can i know wt do u do like r u into any cinema kind of field or its ur hobby kind off doing all this
    because i am here in usa feeling bore no contacts and no enteratiment so can we all request TSN to telecast any of his serial in usa

    hope tht TSN will pepp my request in my small world!!!!!!!!!

    atleast reply to my msg rk ( rk means u r full name)

    i feel tht i am touch with kannadiga

    thanks
    with regards

    sangeetha giridhar
    usa

  35. rk Says:

    sangeetha giridhar,
    welcome.
    i am a Kannadiga, working as an Art Director in an ad agency.
    as a hobby, i write about anything that interests me, be it film, literature, sports, politics, science, food…
    i think you can get ETV Kannada, Udaya TV and other Kannada channels in USA.
    i have read and heard that TSN visits USA when there are cultural meets. maybe you can get in touch with some Kannadigas out there and get more info.
    read books and blogs to avoid getting bored.🙂
    RK stands for RAM(bling) KRISHNA. it also stands for “Restricted Knowledge”.
    best wishes

  36. sangeetha giridhar Says:

    hai rk

    thanx for reply

    sangeetha giridahar

  37. TSSM Says:

    Hi,
    Sangeetha Giridhar,

    You can log on to ‘AKKA’ i.e. ASSOCIATION OF KANNADA KOOTAS IN AMERICA” and find out the nearest chapter.From them you can get lots of info.
    You can also log on to Kannada Cultural Association of South California (KCA-SC) , where they are talking about the ensuing Ugadi festival celebrations.
    The contents are copied here for your info:
    “Snehithare,

    Further to our previous announcing emails, just to keep you all informed that we have been able to get Hoover Auditorium for this event and the date will be Saturday, April 7, 2007.

    Over the past several years KCA has been hosting the Sangeetha and Natakothsava, thereby providing a platform for the members to showcase their talent in all areas of music and drama.

    The song programs will be selected based on a merit and melody. The duration for each song will not exceed more than 20 minutes. All participants should be members of KCA and needless to say that the song should be in Kannada.

    The last date to receive the entry is February 28th. The entry should include the names of the singers, other accompanying artists and the duration.

    We need members in large numbers to participate. The success of the event depends on your participation. The details of the program will be announced soon. Please send your entries by e-mail to:jyotse@yahoo.com

    Any questions please call

    Somashekhar, Director, KCA and coordinator for Sangeethotsava
    @(949)7352229 or preferably by e-mail to : jyotse@yahoo.com

    with best wishes
    TSSM

  38. rk Says:

    TSSM,
    really useful info! thanks.🙂

  39. sangeetha giridhar Says:

    hai TSSM,RK

    thanx a lot

    sangeetha giridhar

  40. sangeetha giridhar Says:

    hi guys!!!!!!!!!!!!

    wts up ,any updates on MUKTA II

    Is there any website to see old serial online.
    plz keep informing me

    sangeetha giridhar

  41. praneshachar Says:

    MUKTA is completed long back
    you can see more details here NOw a days site is not opening on many occassions dont loose patience once a while it clicks
    msanjay.weblogs.us/entries/88/muktha-tn-seetharam

  42. sangeetha giridhar Says:

    hi guys

  43. sangeetha giridhar Says:

    hi guys
    wishing u happy ugadi

    sangeetha giridhar

  44. rk Says:

    sangeetha giridhar,
    nimagu saha UGADI SHUBHASHAYAGALU!
    wish you a very prosperous sarvajith samvatsara!


  45. […] HAS PREVAILED (Shiv Krishna Desai, Madhavi Patel and CSP won a thrilling legal battle in ‘Muktha‘ serial). Could see the relieved look on CSP, MP and SKD. On this joyous occasion, I thought […]

  46. vishwa Says:

    Hello sir,

    Ur serial is really appreciable the kind work u did is really heart touchable I came to know about this from one of my frd
    Snjeev Hiremath who is working under u as auditing.
    I m his frd Vishwanath Kori once I came to ur audition room also it was good to see all the work grt work………..

    Regards,
    Vishwa.

  47. Manohar Says:

    Hi everyone… I’m so happy seeing such an active forum discussing about our beloved and a renowned director TNS…. We have to appreciate the excellent work done by TNS… He has been very instrumental in delivering the right message to the society. His serials open-up to a vast abode of knowledge. I never missed any episodes of his serials Muktha and Manvantara. I’ve been a great fan of TNS. He portrays the burning issues very well. By doing so, he has become more near to our hearts. Hats-off to your exemplary work Mr.TNS… I hope Mr.TNS would come up with many more serials which do impact the minds of many citizens like me. The important point is that Mr.TNS has a solution for every problem that comes up in his serial. By this, he has influenced and inspired many people towards leading a challenging life and being responsible. I wish him all the best for all his future endeavours

  48. Venkatesh Says:

    Hi All,

    I am newly joined this community, it will be if anyone of you post TNS contact details

  49. Rashmi Says:

    Dear All,

    Am also great fan of Mr. TNS, please let me know where i can watch the shooting of Mukha Muktha, pleasure to meet everybody in that team.

    Please please mail me the details if any body knows.

    Regards,
    Rashmi

  50. savithri a v Says:

    sir thanks for giving a good serial mukta mukta. we like it v much.and one more thanks for minchu serial. for that i got one dout whether katyayani is realy dead or not. onr scean is there one of austrologer says long life is for katyani. but she has not appeaed till now if she is not alive why un necesserly that sceen created pls will u clarify sir

    savithri

  51. Ayesha Firdous Says:

    Assalamwalikum & Hi Ravi Sir,

    i searched for ur ph no & mail address from internet at last have got ur blog atleast. Basically from Bangalore now in Shimoga with husband.

    Good contribution of your’s to enrich our knowledge in various series.

    Keep going on .

    Have in touch


  52. excellent i read your 3 blogs and i loved your blogs plz let me know when you right more blogs

  53. kiran Says:

    ayya….TN sitaram..very well you are making a good serial ..but when i visit my home town, my parents once in four month…they are clubbed with TV…i want to talk to them but they are busy….watching your serial …sadly i have missed speaking to my mom….i must hate tv ..its not ur mistake…

  54. SANTOSH Says:

    call me 9980939701

    M/R SANTOSH
    FROM HUBLI
    KARNATAKA

  55. Abhishek Says:

    Hi,

    It is nice to watch your serial Mukta Mukta. Could you educate people about the “Dangers of RMP” plant at Mysore. The plant belongs to rare earths limited controlled by dept. of Atomic energy located at elivala just 10 KM from Mysore. God only knows their safety standards. Everything is hidden in the name of national security.

    with regards,

  56. mahesh Says:

    sir iam mahesh hassan plese one chance acting in your muktha serial sir please sir Mahesh M.A.,B.Ed., hassan 9980261433

  57. preethi Says:

    hey im preethi from mysore.. i wanted the real name and if available, a picture of this character called ‘manohar from the earlier serial.. that’s mukta. he had played the role of some ministers son.. i remember the actor was changed mid way through the serial .. i want the second ones name n pic.. wondering if someone could help me find it..?

  58. Varadha(ymslr) Says:

    Hello im ymslr,

    can i have a contact no or email address of seetaram sir,
    and i need all sound tracks of serials please replay to my mail if u can🙂 ymslr@rediffmail.com, ymslrr@gmail.com, ymslr@live.com🙂


  59. sir till today i’m eagerly waiting to contact you through mail or cell phone but still my dreams get stayed. . .please update your home current address then surely ll try to contact you. . . thanks

  60. SANTOSH B Says:

    Dear Sir,
    My name is Santosh B. I would like to request you to share my your Mob. contact number & mail ID. Am interested in having some personal communication with you and am facing some personal problems. wud like to get legal suggestion from you regarding my personal issues & request if you can help me out in this.My mobile no.9902958559, would explain you in detail receipt of your contact details.

  61. chandru Says:

    i have seen ur serial maya mruga upto 47 episodes it s really wonderful and marvelous i want to watch remaining episodes where can i get


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