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Respected Screenwriter Vasanth Mokashi Passes Away

Vasanth Mokashi Punekar, celebrated screenwriter of the iconic Kannada film Accident, directed by Shankar Nag, breathed his last on Sunday, July 7, after a long battle with illness. Vasanth Mokashi, a cherished figure in the realms of Kannada and Indian cinema, hailed from the town of Dharwad and has left behind his grieving spouse, Asha.

As the son of the esteemed Kannada writer Shankar Mokashi Punekar, Vasanth inherited a rich literary legacy. He notably adapted his father’s popular novel into the acclaimed film Gangavva Gangamayi, further solidifying his reverence within literary and cinematic circles. Though a native of Dharwad, Vasanth’s professional life as a writer led him to spend significant years in Bengaluru and Mumbai, where he worked on various projects and contributed greatly to Indian cinema.

Arundhati Nag, a distinguished actor and the founder of Ranga Shankara theatre, reminisced about her collaboration with Vasanth on the film Accident. “Working with him was a truly enriching experience,” she shared. “Every conversation with Vasanth was enlightening. He and his wife often visited Ranga Shankara. I deeply regret that our paths didn’t cross more frequently in professional settings.” Her words echo the sentiment shared by many who had the fortune of knowing Vasanth personally and professionally.

Accident, the crime drama which remains one of Shankar Nag’s most acclaimed films, is remembered for its striking narrative and visual brilliance. In 1985, it won the National Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues, a testament to its impact and Vasanth’s exceptional screenwriting. The film also garnered five Karnataka State Film Awards, with Vasanth receiving the Best Screenplay honor. Recollecting the film’s creation, Vasanth explained in an interview with the film portal Film Companion that the story was sparked by a real-life incident in Mumbai. This insight into his inspiration underscores the realism and depth that defined his storytelling.

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Esteemed writer and film critic N. Manu Chakravarthy paid tribute to Vasanth’s unique approach to screenwriting. “Vasanth had an extraordinary visual sense. His narratives rarely followed a conventional linear path. Instead, they delved into abstract realities and were driven by powerful imagery,” Chakravarthy remarked. He also highlighted Vasanth’s profound affection for Hindi poetry, mentioning Dhoomil as one of his favourite poets. Moreover, Vasanth held great admiration for filmmakers Kamal Swaroop and Mani Kaul, both known for their innovative contributions to Indian cinema.

In addition to his screenwriting accolades, Vasanth Mokashi played a pivotal role in promoting children’s cinema. He served as the artistic director of the Karnataka International Children’s Film Festival in 2014, where he helped foster a love for film in younger generations. This endeavor was just one of the many ways Vasanth contributed to the broader landscape of Kannada and Indian cinema, touching hearts and minds across different demographics.

Vasanth Mokashi’s life and work exemplify the rich tapestry of Indian storytelling and cinematic excellence. As the industry and his admirers mourn his passing, his contributions continue to resonate. Whether through the poignant narratives of his screenplays or his efforts in nurturing young talent, Vasanth’s legacy remains indelibly etched in the annals of Kannada cinema. His dedication to the craft and passion for visual storytelling have set a high bar for future generations of filmmakers and writers.

In conclusion, the passing of Vasanth Mokashi Punekar marks the end of an era for Kannada cinema, but his influence will undoubtedly inspire artists and audiences for years to come. His ability to transcend ordinary storytelling and envelop audiences in rich, intricate visual tales has left an enduring legacy worthy of deep respect and admiration.