Shringar Nagaraj may have now surrendered himself to age, but on looking back, one thing that he is proud of is being a part of Pushpaka Vimana, India’s first silent movie, and the achievement it has received. “I still remember, Singeetham (Srinivas Rao) and I had a project which had no dialogues. Not knowing how people would react, we decided to give it a shot. When we approached Kamal Hassan, he readily agreed but my only condition was that the movie must be registered as a Kannada film, that was done, the rest is history,” says Shringar.
It was the imposition of the Gold (control) Act (1968) that pushed this traditional gold jeweller to take up photography. “To keep the family going at that time, I started covering and photographing major high-profile celebrity weddings. Gradually, I was elevated to a cameraman, with friends in the film industry,” he says while adding that it was this passion that got him into films as well. Even today, one can see him surrounded with shooting equipment like the 35-mm projector used for movies. Original reels of many Kannada films and trophies won for Pushpaka Vimana’ are also preserved by him. He also has many memorable and rare photographs of celebrities, one of them being, Dr Rajkumar putting his arm around his wife Parvathamma. Even at 70, he still talks with immense enthusiasm about his unfulfilled dreams on making a film on Buddha. “Though there have been many plays on Buddha’s life, I want to make a film on him using the grandeur of the Mysore Palace,” he adds.
Almost 60 years into the industry, Shringar says he doesn’t have any regrets in life, “I have achieved what I wanted to achieve and presented my son (Ramkumar) to the industry and now it’s his turn to make something of himself,” he says.
Currently, Shringar is working on setting up an art gallery in Malleswaram through which he wants to promote many talented young artists. “Long ago, I had opened up Pranav Art Gallery but the only problem I faced was that Malleswaram was not the place for artists. And hardly anyone came forward,” he says while adding, “Now many people are coming forward and my second son has taken it up on himself to revive it,” he says.