By PV PHANI SRIVATSA
a PHOENIX OF INDIAN CINEMA
The late 20th and the early 21st century teenagers hardly know about the most versatile actor who was well known for his astonishing acting skills, Dr. Vishnuvardhan.
He was called ‘SAHASA SIMHA’, as he performed all the stunts on his own in amazing action movies . Not only in Kannada film industry, He has also been a part of Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, and became the second most famous actor in Karnataka. He started his acting career in 1972, with the National award winning film ‘Vamsha vriksha’.
Some of the present youths who want to know about Vishnuvardhan are because of the story which involved rivalry between Dr. Rajkumar and him. It was when the two legends acted in just one film together i.e, Gandhadagudi. Apparently in a scene where both of them appear, someone replaced a fake gun with a real one! When Vishnuvardhan shot Rajkumar, he actually had no idea that the bullets were real. Vishnuvardhan himself was shocked and apologized sincerely to Rajkumar. Rajkumar was a great man & brushed off the whole incident saying it was an accident. Whatever rivalry existed between them was because of their fans.
Even the late 90s born people remember the famous song from the movie Diggajaru,- ‘kuchiku kuchiku’. The song reminds us of our best friends without whom we cannot survive. This also reminds us how was the everlasting friendship between Ambrish & Vishnuvardhan. Their friendship started off with the movie NAGARAHAVU & it continued forever without any frictions & egos even after both of them turned out to be big stars of kannada film industry. They really did set a friendship goal for us now.
The Bellary Naga actor’s sudden death had devastated millions of kannadigas around the world. It was like an end of an era for the Kannada film industry. The angry man, his various characters from the various movies had us all captured in our hearts forever. All the kannadigas unite to celebrate his birthday every year in his memory.
We as kannadigas were lucky to have him with us & gave us wonderful films which were inspiring & entertaining.
Have you heard about the life history of Mr. Sampath Kumar? If not, let me take you to his wonderful journey.
Sampath Kumar was born into a Brahmin family in Mysore, Karnataka on the 18 th of September, 1950. In 1972, he entered the Karnataka Film Industry with the name Vishnuvardhan. Yes, he is our Sahasa Simha Vishnuvardhan.
He made his acting debut in a supporting role with the movie “ Vamsha Vriksha, directed by B. V. Karanth and Girish Karnad, which also won the national award.
‘The Angry Young Man of Kannada Cinema’, this title was given to him for his lead role in the film Nagarahavu and it was the first ever Kannada movie to run 100 days at the cinema. He also received filmfare for best actor for the movie. In the 1980s, he also appeared as ‘Venkat Rao’ in one of the episodes of ‘Malgudi Days’.
He was married to Bharathi Vishnuvardhan in 1975 and they adopted two beautiful daughters, Chandana and Keerthi. His son-in-law is Anirudh Jatkar who is also an actor. Vishnuvardhan’s strong suit was in action movies.
Himself being a martial artist, he would do the difficult stunts in his movies with ease. His paradigmatic move was to lift his leg and place it on the opponent’s shoulder.
His fans gave him the names like Abhinaya Bhargava, Sahasa Simha.
He has appeared in over 220 films in different languages, viz., Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi and also played a variety of roles in many genres.
Major hits in the box office were Kadamba, Simhadriya Simha, Kottigobba, Yajamana, Vishnu Sena.
He was not only a great actor but also a melodious singer. He started singing in movies and also few devotional songs. His first devotional song album was ‘Jyothiroopa Ayappa’ based on Lord Ayappa. There are more than 16 books which are his biographies.
The sudden death of Kannada movie icon Vishnuvardhan has devastated millions of Kannadigas around the world. ‘Abhiman Studio’ in Bengaluru is where he was cremated with full state honours.
Written by Sharanya MP and Bhavani Hemanth
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