Jayanthi (actress)

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Born Kamala Kumari
1944/1945 (age 69–70)
Banglore, Karnataka, India
Occupation Film actor, producer, playback singer
Years active 1961–present

Jayanthi (born around 1945) is an Indian actress.[1] She has appeared in over 500 films, including films in the Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi and Marathi languages. Kannada film industry honored her with the title Abhinaya Shaarade meaning Goddess Sharada in acting.

Early life[edit]

Jayanthi was born in Bellary. Her maiden name before she came to films was Kamala Kumari. Her father Balasubramanyam worked as English professor at the St Joseph's College in Bangalore. Her mother was Santhanalakshmi. Jayanthi was the eldest of three siblings and had two younger brothers.

Jayanthi's childhood was never smooth. Her parents separated when she was young and her mother took the children and moved to Madras. Jayanthi's mother was keen on making her daughter a classical dancer and hence she joined a dance school run by Chandrakala. Her friend in dance school was the famous Tamil actress Manorama.

As a child, Jayanthi went to the studios to see her idol N T Rama Rao. He called her and made her sit on his lap. Affectionately he had asked her whether she would agree to become his heroine and the little girl had merely blushed. The pair would go on later in life to produce successful films such as Jagadeka Veeruni Katha, Kula Gowravam, Kondaveeti Simham and Justice Chowdhury.

Jayanthi was ridiculed most of the times as she was plump and could never dance well. During her teens she had the chance to act in a few Tamil and Telugu movies in bit parts. On one such occasion (as Jayanthi remembered in one of her interviews) the great Telugu actress Savitri was upset with newcomer Jayanthi who could not convincingly narrate a few Tamil dialogues. She stormed out of the sets saying that the director had brought in people who hardly knew acting or the language. Jayanthi was shattered after the episode but promised herself that one day she would prove her worth. She enjoyed a good run in the Kannada Film industry and formed very good pair with the famous actor and doyen of Kannada Cinema Dr.Rajkumar, with whom she acted in more than 30 movies.

Jayanthi's life changed completely when noted Kannada director Y R Swamy spotted her during one of her dance rehearsals. He brought her to Kannada films such as Jenu Goodu. He also changed her name to Jayanthi.[2]

Rise to fame[edit]

Jeenu Goodu was Jayanthi's first Kannada film. She was married to Film Director Peketi Sivaram. He backed her all the way and very soon she became a famous actress in Kannada. She acted alongside veterans like Dr.KS Ashwath and Pandari Bai. Incidentally this was actress Chandrakala's first film as well. Jenu Goodu was a commercial success. Her next major film was T V Singh Thakur's Chandavalliya Thota. The film starred veteran actors Uday Kumar, Dr.Rajkumar and Jayashree. This was the first film that paired Raj and Jayanthi. Based on Ta Ra Su's novel by the same name, Chandavalliya Thota was a huge success and even won the President's Medal for best film. Jayanthi in one of her interviews fondly remembered an incident during the shooting of this film. During a particular scene Jayanthi's character dies and Uday Kumar has to fall on her to cry. Uday Kumar was so engrossed in his acting that he had forgotten that he had put his whole body weight on the young girl Jayanthi, who was yelling in pain and asking him to get up.

The next major film that Jayanthi starred in was Miss Leelavathi. This film was released in the mid-60's and directed by M R Vittal. Miss Leelavathi was a very bold film for its time and Jayanthi played the title role. The story is about the influence of bad parenting on young Leelavathi's mind. She is the darling of her father (Ashwath) who supports her in all her endeavours. Leelavathi grows up to be rebel in the house and stands up against the conventional values of life. She refuses marriage, wishes to be a career-oriented women and has a care-free attitude towards premarital sex. Unfortunately she pays for the consequences.

Miss Leelavathi had a very bold theme considering the fact that it was made at a time when the film industry was very conservative. Jayanthi was launched as the glamour-diva through the film and she was at her best. This was probably the first Kannada film to show-case a heroine's glamour. The film was a huge success and catapulted Jayanthi to fame. Jayanthi for the first time in Kannada film history wore skirts, T-shirts and even a nightie on screen. She is credited for introducing most of the modern day outfits onto the Kannada screen for the first time. She also wore a swimsuit for the film, which the producers' first choice for the role had refused to do.[2] Miss Leelavathi had some of the lovely songs like "Nodu ba nodu ba nammoora" and Kuvempu's classic "Doni Saagali". Miss Leelavathi got Jayanthi the President's award. Jayanthi fondly remembered the occasion in one of her interviews when she received the award from Smt Indira Gandhi (then IB Minister). Mrs Gandhi after giving away the award called back Jayanthi and gave her a sweet kiss and wished her good luck. She has also acted in numerous films with Kalyan kumar. In Tamil She acted with all major stars. She was director K. Balachander's most sought after actress and they went on to work in numerous films.

In 2009, she gave her voice to an HIV/AIDS education animated software tutorial created by the nonprofit organization TeachAIDS.[3]


  1. Soubhagya Devathe
  2. Shiva Kotta Sowbhagya (1985)
  3. Thayi Karulu (1988) (Co-Actors: Tara, Vajramuni, Srinivasa Murthy, Jai Jagadish)
  4. Usha[disambiguation needed] (1991) (Kannada) (Co-Actors: Suhasini, Ramakrishna; Directed By Raaghava; Music By Raajan - Nagendra)

Notable Films (Partial Kannada Filmography)[edit]

Film Cast Year
Jenugoodu Ashwath, Pandaribai 1963
Sri. Ramanjanaiah Yuddha Rajkumar, Udaykumar, Rajesh 1963
Chandavalliya Thota Udaykumar, Rajkumar 1964
Kalaavathi Udaykumar, Latha 1964
Tumbida Koda Rajkumar, Leelavathi 1964
Muriyada Mane Rajkumar, Vanishri 1964
Prathigne Rajkumar, Ashwath 1964
Patiye Daiva Nagendrarao, Sudarshan 1964
Kavaleradu Kula Ondu Udaykumar, Kalpana 1965
Beretha Jeeva Kalyankumar, B.Sarojadevi 1965
Vaatsalya Rajkumar, Leelavathi 1965
Bettada Huli Rajkumar, Udaykumar 1965
Miss. Leelavathi Udaykumar, Ramesh 1965
Mamatheya Bandhana Venkatesh, Dwarakish 1966
Endu Ninnavane Kalyankumar, Latha 1966
Mantralaya Mahatme Rajkumar, Kalpana 1966
Mahashilpi Jwalanaiah, Ashwath. 1966
Deva Manava Udaykumar, Vandana,. 1966
Kiladi Ranga Rajkumar, Udaykumar 1966
Onde Balliya Hoovgalu Chankrakala, Ranga 1967
Anuradha Pandaribai, Ashwath 1967
Nakkare Ade Swarga Narsimharaju, Nagendrarao 1967
Kallu Sakkare Kalyankumar, Revathi 1967
Miss. Bangalore Vandana, Arunkumar 1967
Lagnapatrike Rajkumar, Dwarakish 1967
Muddu Meena Kalyankumar, Ashwath 1967
Rajadurgadha Rahasya Rajkumar, Narasimharaju 1967
Devara Gedda Manava Rajkumar, M.P.Shankar 1967
Manassiddare Marga Rajkumar, Rajashankar 1967
Chakratheertha Rajkumar, Udaykumar 1967
Immadi Pulakeshi Rajkumar, Kalpana 1967
Jedara Bale Rajkumar, Narasimharaju 1968
Mateye Maha Mandira Udaykumar, Venkatesh,. 1968
Bangalore Mail Rajkumar, Radha 1968
Rowdi Ranganna Rajkumar, Chandrakala 1968
Simhaswapna Rajkumar, Udaykumar 1968
Broker Bheeshmachari Rajesh, Shailashri 1969
Bhale Basava Udaykumar, Narasimharaju 1969
Eradu Muka Rajesh, Manjula 1969
Churi Chikkanna Rajkumar, Narasimharaju 1969
Bhaagirathi Udaykumar, Balakrishna 1969
Punarjanma Rajkumar, Chandrakala 1969
Maduve! Maduve! Maduve! Purnima, 1969
Bhale Raja Rajkumar, B.V., Radha 1969
“Ade Hrudaya, Ade Mamathe” Ramesh, Rajamma 1969
Chikkamma Rajkumar, Srinath 1969
Gruhalakshmi Ashwath, Bharathi 1969
Bhale Basava Rajesh, Udaykumar 1969
Kalyani 1969
Sri Krishnadevaraya Rajkumar, Bharathi 1970
Kanneeru , 1970
Sedige Sedu Udaykumar, Narasimharaju 1970
C.I.D. Rajanna Rajkumar, Rajashri 1970
Nanna Thamma Rajkumar, Gangadhar 1970
Balu Belagithu Rajkumar, Bharathi 1970
Devara Makkalu Rajkumar, Rajesh 1970
Paropakari Rajkumar, Sampath 1970
Sidila Mari Udaykumar, Dwarakish. 1971
Kasthuri Nivasa Rajkumar, Arathi 1971
Thande Makkalu Srinath, K S Ashwath, Ramesh 1970
Sedina Kidi Kalyankumar, Sudarshan. 1971
Samshaya Pala Srinath, Udyakumar 1971
Kalyani Gangadhar, Vijayakala 1971
Malathi Madhava Gangadhar, Rajamma 1971
Vishakanye Rajesh, Ashwath,. 1972
Ondu Hennina Kathe Rajesh, Rajamma 1972
Kranti Veera Rajkumar, Rajesh 1972
Nanda Gokula Rajkumar, Ashwath 1972
Devaru Kotta Tangi Rajkumar, Srinath 1973
Bharatada Ratna Jayadevakumar, Udayakumar 1973
Jaya Vijaya Gangadhar, Balakrishna 1973
Edakallu Guddadha Mele Chandrashekar, Ranga,Aarathi 1973
Mooruvare Vajra Rajkumar, Aarathi 1973
Mannina Magalu , 1974
Kasturi Vijaya Rajesh, Shivram 1975
Devaru Kotta Vara Vishnuvardhan, Gangadhar 1976
Baduku bangaravayithu Srinath, Rajesh 1976
Bahaddur gandu Rajkumar, Aarathi 1976
Mangalya bhagya , 1976
Tulasi Kalyankumar, Srinath 1976
Devara Duddu Rajesh, Srinath 1977
Manassinanthe mangalya , 1977
Chinna ninna muddaduve Vishnuvardhan, Ambarish 1977
Srimantana magalu Vishnuvardhan, Jayalakshmi 1977
Banashankari K.R.Vijaya, Shivram 1977
Shubhashaya Srinath, Kalyankumar 1977
Ganda Hendathi Srinath, Manjula 1977
Sridevi , 1978
Balina guri Srinivasamurthy, Vajramuni 1979
Vijay-Vikram Vishnuvardhan, Deepa 1979
Janma Janmada Anubandha Ananth Nag, Shankar Nag 1980
Bhakta gnanadeva , 1982
Kallu Veene Nudiyitu. Vishnuvardhan, Aarathi 1983
Banker Margayya Lokesh, Su.kri., Urs 1983
Keralida hennu Shankarnag, Vijayashanthi 1983
Shubamhurtha Kalyankumar, Anuradha 1984
Benki-Birugali Vishnuvardhan, Shankarnag 1984
Tayi Nadu Prabhakar, Jayamala 1984
Masanada Hoovu Ambarish, Aparna, Shivakumar 1985
Shiva Kotta Sowbhagya Lokesh, Arathi 1985
Karna Vishnuvardhan, Sumalatha 1986
Thayiye nanna devaru Shankarnag, Prabhakar 1986
Lancha lancha lancha Lokesh, Jaijagadish 1986
Usha Suhasini, Kalyankumar 1986
Agni pareekshe Prabhakar, Shankarnag 1986
Mukavaada Ramakrishna, Tara 1987
Thayi kotta thali Murali, Lokesh 1987
Thayi karulu Srinivasa, murthy, Vinod, alwa 1988
Matrudevobhava Srinivasamurthy, Jaijagadish 1988
Nee nanna daiva Prabhakar, Mahalakshmi 1988
En swamy aliyandire Prabhakar, Rajashekar 1989
Sri Satyanarayana puja phala 1990
Sundara Kanda Shankarnag, Devaraj 1991

Films with Raj[edit]

  • Raj-Jayanthi pair has acted in the large number of movies. Their movies are:
  1. Chandavalliya Thota
  2. Pratigne
  3. Muriyada Mane
  4. Thumbida Koda
  5. Vatsalya
  6. Bangalore Mail
  7. Choori Chikkanna
  8. Rowdy Ranganna
  9. Bhale Raja
  10. Chakratheertha
  11. Bala Bandhana
  12. Punarjanma
  13. Kula Gowrava
  14. Chikkamma
  15. Mantralaya Mahatme
  16. Devara Makkalu
  17. Devara Gedda Manava
  18. Kiladi Ranga
  19. Kranti Veera
  20. Jedara Bale
  21. Simha Swapna
  22. Nandagokula
  23. Deavru Kotta Thangi
  24. Sri Krishnadevaraya
  25. Bettada Huli
  26. Immadi Pulikeshi
  27. Prema Mayi
  28. Manasiddare Marga
  29. Nanna Thamma
  30. Kasturi Nivasa
  31. Paropakari
  32. Bahaddur gandu


  1. ^ Ganesh, Deepa (15 April 2011). "Bold and beautiful". The Hindu. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Fernandes, Ronald Anil (23 December 2003). "Straight from the Heart:As this month’s guest at Maneyangaladalli Mathukathe, cine actress Jayanthi held her audience spellbound with her usual charm". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 2006-12-24. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Celebrated Actress Jayanthi Donates Voice to TeachAIDS Kannada animations". TeachAIDS. 30 September 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2010. [dead link]

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