Friday, November 21, 2014 - 19:46

The News Minute | November 9, 2014 | 4.50 pm IST

Today would have been Shankar Nag’s 60th birthday, had he not died in a car accident on September 30, 1990. 

But despite the passage of so many years, the man and the actor remains popular among many of Bangalore’s auto drivers, because his portrayal of Raja, an auto driver in Auto Raja struck a chord in a way that no other film did. Even today, auto drivers who were not even born when Nag died, carry images of the actor on their vehicles. The phenomenon was so widely prevalent, that a filmmaker named Sushma Veerappa made a documentary on it. 

Shankar Nag

Kannada cinema too, has not gotten over his portrayal of an auto driver. Many other actors have at one time or another in their careers played the man who takes people across the city. The list includes Malashree, who plays the role of Ganga. Of course, they aren't exactly tributes, but nonetheless. Auto drivers have gone from the protagonists of mainstream Hindi films, which are generally (and arguably inaccurately) considered to represent Indian cinema.

Ganga Malashree

Actor Malashree in Ganga

Ganesh Auto

Actor Ganesh in a re-make of Shankar's original

Auto Shankar

Actor Upendra in Auto Shankar

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