Darshan filming Saarathi in 2011
16 February 1977
Ponnampet, Kodagu, Karnataka, India
|Residence||Bangalore, Karnataka, India|
|Occupation||Actor, film producer, distributor|
Vijaya Lakshmi (m. 2003)
|Relatives||Dinakar Thoogudeepa (brother)|
Darshan (born 16 February 1977), also known as Darshan Thoogudeepa, is an Indian film actor, producer and distributor who works predominantly in the Kannada film industry. The son of actor Thoogudeepa Srinivas, Darshan began his acting career appearing in soap operas and in bit roles in films starting in the mid-1990s. His first film in a lead role came in the 2001 film Majestic.
Known for his portrayal of "larger-than-life" and "mass roles", Darshan starred in commercially successful films such as Kariya (2003), Namma Preethiya Ramu (2003), Kalasipalya (2005), Gaja (2008), Saarathi (2011) and Bulbul (2013). His performances in Anatharu (2007), Saarathi and Sangolli Rayanna (2012) won him praise from critics; his performance in the latter as the 19th-century warrior Sangolli Rayanna won him the Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actor. In 2017, he was honoured for his "contribution to Karnataka's art and culture" in the British Parliament, and was the fourth Indian and first South Indian actor to receive the honour.
One of the leading contemporary actors of Kannada cinema, Darshan has forayed into film production and distribution. He established the production house Thoogudeepa Productions, in 2006, which has since been a successful commercial venture. Its first production was Jothe Jotheyali, with Darshan in a special appearance.
Darshan was born to actor Thoogudeepa Srinivas and Meena on 16 February 1977 in Ponnampet, Kodagu district, in the Indian state of Karnataka. He was given the name Hemanth Kumar at birth. Thoogudeepa is a 1966 Kannada film in which Srinivas acted and gained fame, following which the sobriquet stuck to his name. His father often played the roles of menacing villains in Kannada Cinema. Despite so, Darshan never had it easy, since his father was reluctant towards the entry of Darshan into films. Against his wishes, Darshan got himself enrolled in Ninasam, a theatre training institute, in Shimoga, prior to his father's death in 1995.
Darshan has a sister, Divya, and a younger brother, Dinakar, a film director, screenwriter and producer, who runs the production house, Thoogudeepa Productions. As a child, Darshan received his primary and secondary education in Mysuru. Before entering into films, Darshan appeared in a few tele-serials and tele-shows.
After graduating from Ninasam, Darshan worked as a projectionist in various films, before entering the mainstream filmmaking as an assistant cameraman to veteran cinematographer B. C. Gowrishankar. His first acting role came in S. Narayan's television soap. Narayan then offered him a supporting role in his 1997 film Mahabharatha. Darshan subsequently featured in films such as Devara Maga (2000) as the son of Ambareesh's character, Ellara Mane Dosenoo (2000), Bhoothayyana Makkalu (2000) and Mr. Harishchandra (2001), mostly in insignificant and supporting, often bit roles. This period also saw him play minor roles in other television soaps as well.
Darshan's major break in films came in 2000 with Majestic, directed by P. N. Satya and released in 2001, in which he played the role of Daasa, an innocent youth-turned-underworld don, for the first time. He then appeared in films such as Kitti, Ninagoskara, Neenandre Ishta and Daasa, produced by Ramesh Yadav. He starred in Prem's directorial debut, the 2003 action film Kariya. The film was one of the major grossers of 2003. His next ventures saw him portraying diverse roles; that of a budding musician in Laali Haadu, a journalist in Lankesh Patrike and a blind poor man in Namma Preethiya Ramu.
In 2004, he starred in Kalasipalya, directed by Om Prakash Rao and in P. N. Satya's Daasa. In 2005, he acted in three more commercially successful films Annavru, Shashtri produced by his close friend Anaji Nagaraj and Ayya.
He starred again in Anaji Nagaraj's Swamy (2005). His subsequent hits include Suntaragaali (2006), Dattha (2006), Bhoopathi (2007), Snehana Preethina (2007) and Anatharu (2008), where he starred with Upendra.
In 2008, Gaja gave him a bigger break and became commercially successful. This movie helped him to establish a niche for himself as a well built, rustic yet posh young man among the masses. This movie brought him a mass following across Karnataka and Darshan became the  After Gaja, his further movies include Indra (2008), Arjun (2008), Navagraha (2008), Yodha (2009), Abhay (2009).
Darshan's next releases were Boss (2011) and Prince (2011). Next came the action drama Saarathi. His 2012 release was Chingari. Next, he played a protagonist role in the historical movie Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna and got his maiden Karnataka State Film Awards and Filmfare Award for best actor. In 2013, he had two major releases, Bulbul (film) and Brindavana.
His 2014 film Ambareesha received mixed responses, though it was commercially successful. In Mr. Airavata, he played the role of a police officer. The Hindu wrote: "He sizzles on the screen in his tailor-made avatar as Mr. Airavata". In Viraat, his first release of 2016, he played a businessman wanting to provide a solution to the issue of irregular power supply by taking up a thermal power project, and gets pitted against an opportunist Surendra Singh (played P. Ravi Shankar). The Indian Express, in its review, wrote that despite the loopholes, Darshan "cements them". The reviewer added: "He is seen in his signature style of action, dialogue delivery and mannerism. This time the actor breezes through some dance steps". Darshan's next film Jaggu Dada saw him play a gangster, and received largely negative reviews from critics.
Darshan married his relative Vijayalakshmi, who was then a student in Chemical engineering, in 2003 at Dharmasthala Temple. They have a son together, Vineesh. Darshan runs his own mini zoo privately in the far east of Mysuru, near Tirumakudal Narsipur. Darshan's other passions are cars and bikes.
Darshan was embroiled in a controversy in September 2011, when his wife complained to police, accusing him of domestic violence. He was subsequently arrested and spent 14 days in judicial custody at Parappana Agrahara. However, the marital discord was later settled out of court due to the entry of industry veterans like Ambareesh, Jaggesh and others. He later issued a public apology to his fans for the controversy. Though this whole episode was expected to dent his image, his immediate release Saarathi (2011) performed well at the box office.
In the Month of June 2018 he was appointed as Brand Ambassador Of Karnataka Forest Department.
Below are the selected filmography of Darshan:
- Majestic (2002)
- Kariya (2003)
- Kalasipalya (2004)
- Shastri (2005)
- Dattha (2006)
- Anatharu (2007)
- Snehana Preethina (2007)
- Abhay (2009)
- Saarathi (2011)
- Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna (2012)
- Bulbul (2013)
- Ambareesha (2014)
- Jaggu Dada (2016)
- Chakravarthy (2017)
- Tarak (2017)
- Kurukshetra (2018)
- Yajamana (2018)
Production and distribution
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In 2006, after much success in his career, he ventured into film production also. He established his own production house "Thoogudeepa productions" and its first film was Jothe Jotheyali, starring Prem, Ramya and had Darshan in a special appearance. The film was a commercial hit running 150 days in theatres. In 2013, his family established a distribution company called Thoogudeepa Distributors. Bulbul (film) (2013), produced under the home banner became the first movie to be distributed. Its other notable projects include distribution of Brindavana (2013), Prakash Rai's Oggarane (2014), the Sharan starrer Jai Lalitha (2014) and the V. Ravichandran starrer Paramashiva (2014).
Awards and nominations
|2010||Zee Kannada Innovative Film Awards||-||Onida Style Icon||Won|||
|2012||TV9 awards||Saarathi||Best Actor||Won|||
|Suvarna Film Awards||Favorite Hero||Won|||
|Filmfare Awards South||Best Actor||Nominated|
|SIIMA Awards||Best Actor||Nominated|||
|Bangalore Press Club Man of the Year||-||-||Won|||
|Bangalore Times Film Awards||Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna||Best Actor||Won|||
|2013||SIIMA Awards||Best Actor||Nominated|||
|Suvarna Film Awards||Best Actor||Won|||
|Filmfare Best Actor Award||Best Actor||Won|||
|Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actor||Best Actor||Won|||
|2017||Filmfare Best Actor Award||Tarak||Best Actor||Nominated|
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- TV9 awards[dead link]
- "4th Suvarna film awards Part 1.mp4". Youtube. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
- "SIIMA — South Indian International Movie Awards". Retrieved 18 June 2015.
- http://www.bharatstudent.com/ (2012-12-14). "Darshan and Superstar Rajinikanth among man of the year list — Kannada Movie News". Bharatstudent.com. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
- "Bangalore Times Film Awards 2012 goes to..." THE TIMES OF INDIA. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
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