tarting his career as an assistant in a textile shop, producer and distributor M N Kumar went on to launch his own cinema production house Sri Lakshmi Films at the age of 30. Today, he is known as a soft spoken industry man in Kannada cinema who has built the film industry for the last 35 years.

Kumar was participating in the Belli Hejje programme in Bengaluru on Friday held under the aegis of Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy.

Kumar has the unique distinction of producing more than 35 Kannada films and distributing more than 160 films while enjoying a good reputation with the exhibitors. It is said that he rose like a phoenix and found success even after he had drowned in film business and came back into business with renewed vigour.

In fact, his growth in the industry could be an interesting case study for business school students as he did not have a formal education to moot. Born to Mahadevamma and Nanjappa in a remote village of Mandya district, M N Kumar is known for his patience, business acumen, foresight and good knowledge of the cinema medium. Above all, Kumar is a brave heart who bites the bullet and takes risks that is of a rare kind in an unorganized trade.

Music composer M M Keeravani and directors like Madesh, Vasu, M S Ramesh and Mahesh Babu are some of them who helped Kumar grow up the ladder in the industry.

Ashok Chakra, Mojugaara Sogasugaara, Bhairava, Alimayya, Police Belt and Manikya are some of the films that Kumar has produced.

Kumar does not only have knowledge of the limitations of the Kannada film market, he is also in a position to articulate his views on the potential of Kannada cinema and how Kannada cinema could challenge other language cinemas. Kumar is a braveheart who has faced success and failures and accepted them gracefully.

A documentary on Kumar was shown and a photo exhibition was held on the occasion.

Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy president S V Rajendra Singh Babu said the academy has chosen a unique personality in M N Kumar who has contributed to the growth of the film industry. He said Kumar has toiled hard to find his footing in Kannada cinema and is a witness to the growth of Kannada industry after the 1980s.

Senior journalist Gangadhara Mudaliar moderated the proceedings. Actor Devaraj and director Indrajit Lankesh were the chief guests. Rajendra Singh Babu presided over the programme.

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