K. V. Subbanna

In the year 1932, a star was born into a family of areca planters. HK V SUBBANNAe was known as K V Subbanna. He was politically, intellectually and culturally active within his community. He became the first secretary of the Lal Bahadur College in Sagar in 1963. He was already a member of the Rare Taste Club, watching Satyajit Ray films among other great works from around the world. It was from such experience that he went on to build this amazing institution known as NINASAM. As per K V Subbanna Ninasam “is a civilisation, a struggle of a community to find a new way… a cultural alternative and democratic decentralisation.”
Founded in 1949 as a tiny dramatics arts society in
Heggodu village at Sagar taluk, Ninasam is an amazing phenomenon. Amazing, because it has endured. For a population of 500 to maintain its own infrastructure (which includes its own theatres) and sustain annual workshops in the appreciation of world cinema, publication of critical works in Kannada addressing global issues, a regular theatre training school with an year long diploma course, an annual theatre repertory that tours over 8500 kilometres giving more than a 100 performances, an annual cultural seminar, training programmes with colleges and institutions, a quarterly journal, experimental plays and literary exercises… it calls for amazement. His repertory group Tirugata set high standards for Kannada theatre and took theatre from its urban confines to the rural corners of the state. The Samskriti Shibira at Ninasam brought together the finest minds in the country. Ashish Nandy, Bhaskar Chandavarkar, Shiva Vishwanathan, Sadananda Menon are among the leading intellectuals who brought the most significant work done in their fields to the little hamlet for discussion.


  • 1949: Founded NEENASAM (Neelakanteshwara Natya Sangh in Heggodu

  • 1958: Starts Akshara Publications

  • 1963: Starts the tri-monthly journal - Sakshi- under poet Gopalakrishna Adiga's leadership

  • 1963: Takes a lead in the establishment of a government college in Sagar.

  • 1974: The first ever rural film society in India - Neenasam Chitra Samaj  -established.

  • 1979: Film appreciation camps take off in Heggodu.

  • 1980: Ninasam Rangashikshana Kendra begins functioning.

  • 1983: Special programme Janaspandana to educate rural people about theatre and film culture started.

  • 1985: Tirugata takes off.

  • 1990- 91: Shalaranga programme started.

  • 1992: Literary study camps to be organized throughout the State is started.


  • The 1991 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts.

Subbanna passed away in the year 2005.

Source : Internet