He completed his initial education at Konagahalli and Haranahalli. To obtain Masters Degree in English, he enrolled at Maharaja College, Mysore. After completion of his studies, he began his career as a teacher in his hometown, Shimoga. He then relocated at Bangalore and started teaching at the Bangalore University. While in Bangalore, he wrote his first collection of brief stories and published them by name ‘Kereya Neeranu Kerege Chelli’ in 1963. He then started penning down playwrights, short stories, novels and film scripts. Besides that, he also translated the famous English epics such as Antigone and Oedipus Rex into the Kannada language.
As a well-known scriptwriter, some of his noted works are Anuroopa, Pallavi, Khandavide Ko Maamsavide Ko and Ellindalo Bandavaru among several others.
As a poet, his noted poetries include Akshara Hosa Kavya, Talemaaru and Paapada Hoogalu.
His noted plays include Nanna Thangigondu Gandu Kodi, Siddhate and Gunamukha among others.
His autobiographical work named Hulimavina Mara was published in the year 1997.
He left teaching in 1977 and started his new innings in life by directing films. He made his directorial debut with the film Pallavi in 1976. This film was an adaptation of his novel titled Biruku. This movie was well acclaimed and won him a National Award.
He also started his own tabloid named Lankesh Patrike in the year 1980. He became such an influential figure that in political circles, he was regarded as kingmaker.