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Mr. M. K. Seetharam Kulal – Mangalorean Star

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Mr. M. K. Seetharam Kulal – Mangalorean Star

“Mokeda Singaari….unthude vayaari….” The Tulu song from the film ‘Pagetha Puge’ on the Radio and Gramaphone used to enthrall us in the seventies! Those days, we had the least idea about the writer of that famous song.

There were other songs too, like “Pakkilu mooji onje goodudu…” and “Pagetha Pugenaa….”

One man, who is in his mid Sixties still looking very young, sits in his office in the Mangalore City Corporation Complex and silently writes something in Tulu. I step into the office and ask him – “May I come in Sir?”

He lifts his head, looks at me and greets me with a broad and friendly smile.

“Please do come inside and have a seat!” he politely offers me a seat.

He is none other than M.K. Seetharam Kulal, The President of Karnataka Tulu Sahithya Academy whom we feel proud to present as Mangalorean Star for the month of October 2007.

Mr Kulal has earned a good name in the undivided South Kanara district over the years in the field of Kannada and Tulu dramas and also in Tulu film world.

He was born to M. Kanthappa and Devaki Kanthappa in the year 1940 in a small village called Kolnadu in Bantwal Taluk. His father was popularly known as Kanthappa master, a school teacher first, but then he joined the Revenue Department as Rural Welfare Officer. Later, he became accountant in the District Co-Operative Department and retired there. He had written the Math text books for 4th and 5th standards when he was school teacher. During the Second World War, he was rewarded with Rs.100/- by the then Madras Government for writing a poem related to the War. Kanthappa master was also a good Tabla player and amateur drama artist.

Sitharam Kulal studied till S.S.L.C. from Madras Government and served for United India Insurance Company for many years, before retiring as Senior Branch Manager in the year 2000. Later he became the Enquiry Officer in the same Company for a few years, before he took charge as The President of Karnataka Tulu Academy in the year 2005.He married Shubha in the year 1985, who has been inspirational for him in his work.

He married Shubha in the year 1985, who has been inspirational for him in his work.

With wife Shubha

Mr. Kulal wrote about 44 dramas in Kannada including Social, Historical and Mythological subjects and has also written Radio plays and has translated dramas from other languages to Kannada. He has written over 375 lyrics for dramas including those which are exclusively Musicals and Ballets.

Among the dramas ‘Daasi Puthra’, ‘Maatheya Madilalli’, ‘Mannina Magalu Abbakka’, ‘Shree Sharavu Kshetra Mahathme’, ‘Thyaagajyothi Karna’, ‘Bhakthi’ (Radio Play), ‘Guru Dakshine’, ‘Shaakunthala’ (Musical) and ‘Sathyam Shivam’ (Ballet) are to name a few in Kannada.

Mr.Kulal has written over 12 Tulu dramas and has written screenplay and diologue for one Film. He has also written 4 song lyrics for that film namely ‘Udalda Thudar’, which was in fact a translation of his Kannada drama ‘Hrudaya Jyothi’. This film won the hearts of many Tulu cinema buffs in the Seventies. It was released in the year 1973 and won the ‘Navabharatha Tulu Koota Award’ for Best Screenplay and Dialogue! Most of the songs in this film reflect social problems or merriment, and even today; these songs are popular enough, being played in Wedding Ceremonies and public functions.

Of the Tulu dramas he has written, ‘Udalda Thudar (Sathyene Dever)’, ‘Thangenaa Thangadiyaa’ and ‘Karlda Url’ are popular, apart from many others.

He has also acted in one Tulu film in a small role. He has written about 23 song lyrics for over 10 films.

The songs from the film ‘Pagetha Puge’ such as ‘Mokeda Singaari’, ‘Pakkilu Mooji’, ‘Pagetha Pugenaa’ and the songs from ‘Udalda Thudar’ ‘Udalda Thudarugu’, ‘Krishnaa..Yamunaa Thude’, ‘Saara Varshola’ and the songs from ‘Bayya Mallige’ such as ‘Brahmana baravu’, ‘Dingri Mama’, ‘Appe Mans Bangaara’, ‘Irlda Piravu Pagelulaa’ and also the songs fronm the film ‘Bolli Dota’ – ‘Parashuramana Kudarig’ and ‘Puttina Thulunaad’ are still ringing in the ears of the Tulu movie fans of yester year!

He has brought about a revolution in Tulu cinema with his poetic abilities!

Seetharam Kulal was a Cricket and Volley Ball player during his younger days. He also has fascination for Chess and Carrom.

He has directed many Kannada and Tulu dramas for which, he has won many awards.

When asked about his post as The President of Tulu Sahithya Academy, he says it was a coincidence and he has not chased any horse to win that post! Once he got that post, there was no looking back, and he studied quite a few books and acquainted himself with many stalwarts in Tulu Literature. He has worked restlessly for the recognition of Tulu culture and literature, having organized and participated in many events, honoring able persons in the fields and promoting genuine talents in Tulu literature, often trying to recommend the right persons for the right award!

How he could achieve all this within a short span of Two years? Let’s find out from him!

At the Karnataka Kodava Academy Samskrutika Sangama

Mr.Kulal: It is better, if I say I have strived to achieve my goal in this field, rather than actually achieving that! Challenges are many, and I am still putting in my efforts to bring Tulu to the frontline as a language of Regional importance in the State of Karnataka.

My way of working could be differentiated as follows:

1. To recognize the stalwarts in the field of Tulu language and Culture, who have done in depth analysis and research and to honor their work.

2. We have a proposal to build Tulu Cultural Centre from the Academy for which, we have got the grant of 0.5 Acres land already. Here, we propose to build a big hall and a small hall with a museum to exhibit traditional Tulu implements and also a library with books and CDs on Tulu literature.

3. We are persuading the State Government to implement Tulu as an optional language from standard six onwards in public schools. For this, we have already prepared the text books which are going to be printed soon, after we get the approval from The State Government.

4. There has been an honest attempt to restore the manuscripts of noted writers and scholars which we could procure on paper or palm leaves, which shall be Tran scripted into CD format.

5. We have acquired a huge volume of Tulu scriptures from the 6th Century A.D. called as ‘Ananthana Vrutta’ which we propose to print and publish.

6. A team of scholars have been deployed to study the history of 13 shrines related to Tuluvas.

7. To recognise the right script for Tulu language.

8. To record popular traditions in Tulu such as ‘Bhoota Kola’, ‘Bayalaata’, ‘Daivaaraadhane’ and ‘Kambala’ on CD.

9. We also propose to sponsor Tulu religious festivities from The Academy wherever need arises.

10. An honest attempt will be made to erect the statue of the famous Tuluva queen Rani Abbakka in the city of Mangalore.

11. A proposal has been made to hold periodic camps for stories, dramas and poetry in Tulu.

12. An attempt to re-publish the books and dramas of stalwarts in Tulu literature, wherever the copies of the original work are not available today.

13. To conduct Tulu drama competition at school and college levels.

14. To teach Tulu language to those who are unable to speak in Tulu. This is being continuously held for the third time from the Academy.

15. To hold seminars outside the State to discuss on Tulu language, tradition and performing arts.

16. Apart from all our attempts to highlight the importance of Tulu language and tradition, we also work in the areas to bring four traditions among the linguistic minorities such as Tulu, Konkani, Kodava and Byaari (Urdu included) by way of common programs time to time known as ‘Saamskrutika Sangama’.

17. We have proposed to release many popular Tulu Film songs in MP3 CD on a no profit basis subject to permission from the original copyright holders.

With Dr.Vivek Rai and Dr.Vaman Nandavar, Ex-Presidents of The Academy

Mr. Kulal is a simple living, high thinking person, always wearing white shirt with an embroidered rose on the left bosom. His un-imitable lock of hair resembling the peak of a Himalayan mountain distinguishes him from ordinary people!

He feels contented when he says “This recognition by way of The President post of one of the most prestigious Institutions has made me humble and contented to my heart’s content! I thank Lord Ganesha for giving me an opportunity to serve my beloved mother tongue Tulu to the best of my abilities!”

It is not exaggeration! Mr.Kulal lives every word that he utters. He has always seen young artistes and writers and has guided them with genuine affection and encouragement. He has not charged single paisa for the work he has done in the field of drama or cinema. He always considers his work as an amateur artist! His simplicity could be best seen when one meets him in person, whether in his office or at his home!

His wife Shubha is also a happy go lucky lady, who greets any stranger with equal compassion! It is like they are both ‘Made for each other!’

Before concluding, here is a message from Mr. Kulal to the lovers of Tulu Arts and Culture in mangalorean.com:

“We all should worship our culture and tradition. There should not be any scope for hatred or jealousy amongst us. Tulu Academy has been working in many areas to uplift the language, tradition, art and culture over the years. All the programs sponsored by us have free entry to public. If at all you have any grievance or difference of opinion regarding the working of The Academy, please don’t hesitate to participate openly in our programs, or visit my office to discuss about your grievances. If you have the least doubt about of Tulu language, art, culture or tradition being misused by anyone, please come to me and clear your doubts. This is your Academy, and I welcome you all whole heartedly to come to me and discuss all about it!”

It is truly a rare instance, where we find people like Mr.Kulal rendering selfless service to Tulu language in general, and for Tulu art tradition and culture in particular!

Mangalorean.com wishes Mr Kulal all the best in his endeavour!

By: Rajanikanth Shenoy, Kudpi



Vardaraj V K, India:
supperb History of Kulal……….Excellent

shantharam shetty, India:
In my childhood days we used to hear his name severaltimes in Mangalore Akashavaani and were thrilled by his lirics such as Pakkilu Mooji and Parashramana Kudarid putdina tulunaadu

Hats off to Mr. Seetharam Kulal. I want to hear more such kind of Nativity songs from him again.

Shivram mulya, Saudi Arabia:
I am proud of you Seetharam Kulal.
i was really thrilled to see kulal personality in mangalorean star,and with our honourable minister it is really a extra golden feather to kulal crown.
Keep it up
Thanks for all such handfull informations mr Rajanikanth shenoy, kudpi.

I am overwhelmed by the achievement by Shi Seetharam Kulal. Let me admit very honestly that I am proud of our own Seetharam Kulal.

I will not miss an opportunity to meet you during my next visit to Mangalore.
I need to learn a lot from Seetharam Kulal about Tulu culture and all about Tulu language, Tulu people, presently available Tulu literatures, books about Tulu history etc.

Megraj Kulal, Netherlands:
Bauji we all are proud of you ….you have always lead from the front and your an IDOL for all of us…I really thank god as he gave me an opportunity to be associated with your name.

Harish J kulal, India:
I heard about Mr.Seetaram kulal, but not these much information. Thanks to Mangalorean.com. I am proud of Mr Seetaram Kulal.

dr.m.annayya kulal ulthur, India:
I was really thrilled to see one senior kulal personality in mangalorean star, it is really a extra golden feather to kulal crown, thanks for all such handfull informations about mr seetharam kulal

Vaishali Kulal, India:
I wish my bhauji…all the best….I m so proud to have such a intelluctual person…in the family…and I m proud to be associated with his name….

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