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Suresh Heblikar: A man of many faces
- Sreesha Belakvaadi

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Film Maker, Actor, Environmentalist and Crusader Suresh Heblikar, is one of the few well known personalities, maintaining a low-profile and simple life whilst achieving huge milestones.

Suresh HeblikarA Piscean by birth, Heblikar is of a very composed, nonchalant and romantic character, unperturbed by the contemporary commercialization and the needs to westernize. With a post-graduate degree, Heblikar enrolled for a Diploma in Marketing & Advertising from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Mumbai; he then decided to move to Bangalore where he made more than two dozen movies and acted in more than thirty.

Films were an accidental move in the life of this genius, whose first aspiration was interestingly to become a teacher in life. It was Mr. K. G. Mahalay, his French Professor who ignited Heblikar’s foray into filmmaking. Heblikar believes that Mahalay played a monumental role in molding his perceptions; recalls the artist – he once said “Suresh, why don’t you make a movie?” and I replied “Sir, a film? I don’t even know the basics of filmmaking. Eventually, inspired by Mahalay, Heblikar did set his hands on the camera and script and today he has his unique undisputed seat among the feathers of the Karnataka Film Crown. Winner of the State Award for his movie Aaghaatha, National and State Awards for his Kaadina Benki and the prestigious International Osiris Award for his Shepherds on the move are some of the bright pearls of the long necklace Heblikar wears. Recalling, Heblikar’s movies were simple completely adhered to a common-man’s life and perspectives and reflected lot of individuality coupled with maturity; besides a large section of his movies like Usha Kirana, Aaghaatha etc were attributed to psychosis and scientific temperaments – which Heblikar humbly attributes to his association with Producer and Psycho Analyst Dr. Ashok Pai whose work in the field of Neurosis and Psychosis is incredible. Furthermore, it was quite evident to note that Heblikar’s movies also portrayed “passionate romance” that that was presented a way different from the conventional movies; as an codicil to this statement, in one of the articles the artist recalls his childhood to be very “romantic”.

When asked about his favorite and the movies that really inspired him, Heblikar points to Satyagit Ray’s Mahanagar, The legendary period film Casablanca and a French film Wages Of War – that indicates the strong maturity of “taste” the artist possesses.

Suresh Heblikar is not just a brilliant moviemaker; his passion as an Environmentalist has shown deep-rooted results in many ways fostering a positive development both “ecologically” as well as “socially”. He humbly admits, “Prof. Vishweshwariah and Prof. Saldanha were my teachers, the ones who taught me the basics of ecology and environment”. Perhaps this was the seed of germination for Heblikar to spend a major part of his lifetime in conceptualizing the need for an Eco-Friendly environment.

Besides his personal escalation into environmental studies and development, Heblikar’s association started with an organization called “Indian Society Of Environmental Stability” which is more than a decade old and today, he is leading as the Vice Chairman of this organization. His strong zeal and genuine involvement showed magical results. His famous quote “Environment must not be a fashion; it must rather be a passion” ran through the ears of the public. Heblikar went forward to make as many as two dozen short films and documentaries on Solar Energy, Wild Life, Lakes, Western Ghats, Conservation Of Greenery etc. Having moved up the ladder, in 1994 – to follow his dreams of caring for the fast disappearing forests and water resources – Heblikar with the collaboration of a few other like-minded post graduate eco-enthusiasts founded his own organization – The “Eco Watch”, an NGO. This was a rewarding milestone to other collection of credentials Heblikar holds.

From thereon, Eco Watch has been instrumental in Urban Forest Project Development, Producing Eco-Friendly movies such as Shepherds on the move, canvassing snippets of Environmental and Conservation development, rendering educative seminars of preservation of nature’s resources and so on. Heblikar proudly acknowledges Eco Watch’s latest and largest venture – Senaranya (Land belongs to the army or sena cultivating a forest or aranya on that land). Heblikar mentions with a lot of pride that Senaranya is a massive project of developing an urban forest near the Bangalore’s Koramangala-Airport Ring road, where the army has donated Eco Watch a 200-acre land that is used in scientifically developing a forest compromising of rare species of native trees. This will be a forest in the real sense and not just a park or garden. It’s going to be the biggest lung space ever created,” says Heblikar. Heblikar’s Eco Watch has already planted about 40,000 saplings making one of Asia’s biggest bio-diversity forests and intends to improvise further to make it a landmark in the history of environmental projects.

Eco Watch has no Government funding regrets the artist; nevertheless, Suresh Heblikar’s passion to Environmental preservation is a real lamp in the darkness of this society that’s suffering from the fast disappearances of Trees, Wildlife and a bio-friendly environment. Heblikar is a rare gem India should be proud of, not just for being a unique filmmaker, but also as a true individual and citizen striving for a social cause. I personally wish that every individual is sensitized to the activities of Heblikar’s Eco Watch and contribute directly or indirectly in some form or the other – which can only be the trigger to save and promote such a spirited and positive move.

- Sreesha Belakvaadi

About the Author:
Sreesha is a 29 year old Software Engineer with a passion for Film making. He underwent a course  in
Film Making at the Millennium Films, New York when he worked in United States, where he learnt Basic Script Writing, Screenplay, Lighting, Cinematography, Editing, Sound Mixing and direction. 

SreeshaHe also made a movie called the "King and the Pawn", which was screened in one of the Film Festivals hosted my Millennium Films, New York.  It was a self made, experimental movie.  He conceived the concept, wrote the script, screenplay, dialogues, cinematographed, edited, did sound mixing and shot the movie over a period of 2 weeks.  It is a short documentary movie made on Chess pieces with no human characters.  The whole movie is a symbolic essence of "Chess" and "Human Life", both inter-woven into a meaningful relationship.

His hobbies include Still photography, Oil Painting, Sketching, Short Story Writing, Creative Advertising, Resume Writing and Meditation. And to name a few of his Social interests: Reading general books (on Physics, Psychology, Philosophy, Arts & a lot of comics), some social charities, Cricket, Chess and of course watching movies and anything related to art all the time.

Click here if you would like to Contribute or send a feedback.
Click here to read more articles from Sreesha.
Click here Kannada Movie section in English.
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