enowned Kannada film-maker and lyricist Geethapriya died in Bengaluru on Sunday following a prolonged illness. He was 84 and is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.

He was suffering from throat cancer for some time and he breathed his last at a hospital in Bengaluru.

Born as Lakshman Rao Mohite, he directed about 50 films and wrote lyrics for hundreds of songs. He has also directed a Hindi film and two Tulu films. He wrote lyrics for the first time in 1954 for Sri Rama Pooje and came to be known as Geethapriya.

According to senior journalist Ganesh Kasaragod, Geethapriya was inspired by the talkie movies and was involved in plays such as Janma Bhoomi and Maduve Market. He was also part of the dubbing brigade when he wrote for dubbed movies in the 1960s.

Geethapriya directed his first film Mannina Maga in 1968 with Dr Rajkumar in the lead that won the state and national award.

He directed Kaadina Rahasya, Kannada's first Tarzan movie and went on to become famous for his women-oriented films. His major films include Yaava Janmada Maithri, Beluvalada Madilalli, Besuge, Hombisilu, Putani Agent 123, Preethisi Nodu, Premayana, Manasa Veene and Mouna Geethe among others. Shravana Sambhrama was his last movie.

In the recent past, Geethapriya stayed away from the industry and the limelight and it is believed that there was some amount of disillusionment with the working of the Kannada film industry.

Last year, firing star Venkat from Huchcha Venkat team honoured Geethapriya by disbursing financial assistance.

Geethapriya was the recipient of Puttanna Kanagal award and Rajyothsava award from the government of Karnataka. Geethapriya was the principal of Vijaya Film Institute for five years.


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