Honnappa Bhagavathar

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Chowdasandra Honnappa Bhagavathar
Honnappa Bhagavathar 1948.jpg
Honnappa Bhagvathar in 1948
Born(1915-01-14)14 January 1915
Died2 October 1992(1992-10-02) (aged 77)
Karnataka, India
OccupationActor, singer, producer, musician, stage artist
Years active1935–1992

Honappa Bhagavatar, also known as C. Honnappa Bhagavathar (born Honappa, 14 January 1915 – 2 October 1992, Kannada: ಹೊನ್ನಪ್ಪ ಭಾಗವತರು, was an Indian theatre artist, film actor, producer, musician and singer.[1] He was best known as a singer and as one of the pioneers of Kannada cinema. He was also active in Tamil cinema. His son Bharath Bhagavathar was also an actor who worked in Kannada films and serials.

Early life[edit]

He was born in 1915 at Chowdasandra, Nelamangala to Chikkalingappa and Kallamma. He weaved for a living. At age 5 he lost his father and grew up listening to his mother's Bhajans and music. He moved to Bangalore for work, learn classical music, accidentally he met his guru Sambandha Murthy Bhagavathar (Hari katha vidwan in three south Indian languages & also classical musician) in a relative's marriage function and became his disciple for learning classical music. He first became a pupil of his relative Murthy, then a pupil of harmonium player Arunachalappa.

Honappa staged a play in Salem and at the same time M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar, who was a rising star in Tamil cinema, recommended Honnappa to director Ellis R. Duncan for a supporting role in his film Ambikapathi. Honnappa's play was a success and he was honoured with the title "Bhagavathar" and was from then on credited as Honnappa Bhagavathar.[2]


Honnappa Bhagvathar in Mahakavi Kalidasa (1955)

Honnappa Bhagavathar acted in many Tamil films. Based now in Bangalore, Honnappa Bhagavathar replaced M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar in the 1946 movie Sri Murugan, acting alongside MGR. Both Honnappa and Jeevaratnam sang in the movie, with music scored by S. M. Subbaiah Naidu.[1] Honnappa founded a production company named Lalithakaala Films. It produced films in Kannada and Tamil. In 1955, his film Mahakavi Kaalidasa was the first in the Kannada language. He produced Uzhavukkum Thozhilukkum Vandhanai Seivom, a Tamil-language film that was released in 1959.

He made his Kannada acting debut in the movie Subadra.[3] Honnappa is known for bringing actresses like B. Saroja Devi into the industry.[4]

In the film Valmiki, Honnappa replaced M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar as Valmiki, the sinner-turned-sage. Honnappa became a star after M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar's temporary exit, playing the lead role in many Tamil movies and later in Kannada. He played the bandit-turned-sage.[5]

In 1960, Bhagavathar started the music school "Nadabrahma Sangeetha Vidyalaya". He became a member of the Kannada Film Advisory Board and worked as a member of Karnataka Sangeeta Nruthya Academy.[2]

DVD Cover of: Jagajyothi Basaveshwara. Honnappa Bhagavathar acted as Basavanna, while Rajkumar acted as a supporting cast in the film.

Partial filmography[6][7][edit]

No Film Year Director Language Co-star Notes
1 Krishnakumar 1941 S. D. S. Yogi Tamil T. S. Rajalakshmi Lead Actor
2 Subhadra 1941 P. Pullaiah Kannada Gubbi Veeranna, J. Jayamma
3 Sathi Suganya 1942 T. R. Sundaram & P. V. Chari Tamil T. R. Rajakumari Lead Actor
4 Arundhathi 1943 M. L. Tandan & T. R. Sundaram Tamil U. R. Jeevarathinam Lead Actor
5 Devakanya 1943 R. Padmanaban Tamil U. R. Jeevarathinam Lead Actor
6 Prabhavathi 1944 T. R. Raghunath Tamil T. R. Rajakumari Lead Actor
7 Rajarajeshwari 1944 M. L. Tandon & T. R. Sundaram Tamil K. L. V. Vasantha Lead Actor
8 Burma Rani 1945 T. R. Sundaram Tamil K. L. V. Vasantha
9 Hemareddy Mallamma 1945 G. R. Rao & S. Soundararajan Kannada Gubbi Veeranna, B. Jayamma
10 Bhakta Kalathi 1945 R. Padmanaban Tamil K. Thavamani Devi Lead Actor
11 Subhathra 1946 T. R. Sundaram Tamil K. L. V. Vasantha
12 Sri Murugan 1946 M. Soma Sundaram & V. S. Narayanan Tamil MGR as support,[8] U. R. Jeevarathinam, K. Malathi Lead Actor
13 Valmiki 1946 Sundarao Nadkarni Tamil U. R. Jeevarathinam, N. C. Vasanthakokilam, T. R. Rajakumari Lead Actor
14 Subathra 1946 T. R. Sundaram Tamil K. L. V. Vasantha Lead Actor
15 Kundalakesi 1947 Boman D. Irani Tamil N. C. Vasanthakokilam Lead Actor
16 Bhaktha Jana 1948 P. Pullaiah Tamil Chittor V. Nagaiah, P. Santha Kumari
17 Gokuladasi 1948 K. Subramaniam Tamil M. V. Rajamma
18 Bhakta Kumbara 1948 Boman D. Irani Kannada Pandaribai Lead Actor & Producer
19 Deva Manohari 1949 A. T. Krishnaswamy Tamil P. Bhanumathi Lead Actor
20 Sathya Sodhanai 1953 H. L. N. Simha Tamil Pandaribai Lead Actor
21 Gunasagari 1953 H. L. N. Simha Kannada Pandaribai Lead Actor
22 Mahakavi Kalidasa 1955 K. R. Seetharama Sastry Kannada B. Saroja Devi (Introduced) Actor, Producer & Music Director
23 Aashadaboothi 1955 D. Shankar Singh Kannada B. Saroja Devi
24 Pancharathna 1956 K. Vembu Kannada Udaya Kumar, T. N. Balakrishna Actor & Music Director
25 Jagajyothi Basveshwara 1959 T. V. Singh Thagore Kannada Rajkumar, B. Saroja Devi
26 Uzhavukkum Thozhilukkum Vandhanai Seivom 1959 M. A. Thirumugam Tamil Prem Nazir, E. V. Saroja Producer, With M. Karunanidhi in a Role
27 Katari Veera 1966 Y. R. Swamy Kannada Udaya Kumar
28 Sadananda 1979 Ananth Hiregowder Kannada Actor & Producer


  • Mahakavi Kalidasa and Jagajyothi Basveshwara received National Awards in 1955 and 1959 respectively.
  • In 1956, the Madras Sina Pyans Associations awarded him 'Best Actor'.
  • In 1976, he was conferred the title "Gana Kalabhushana".
  • In 1978, Scholars of Mysore state conferred the title 'Gaanakalaa Gandharva' on him.
  • In 1986, he was awarded the 'Rajyothsava Award'.[2]
  • In 1990, he was awarded the 'Sangeet Natak Academy Award' by the President of India.
  • In 1991, the Center for Music Drama Academy awarded him for his contribution to music. Also awarded for his stage music in this year.


  1. ^ a b "Sri Murugan Movie 1944". The Hindu. 1 May 2009. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Honnappa Bhagavathar Kannada
  3. ^ Fascinating Facts of Kannada Film Industry Archived 29 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Saroja Devi Talks". Archived from the original on 13 November 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  5. ^ "Valmiki 1946". Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  6. ^ "Honnappa Bhagavatar Filmography". Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  7. ^ "Honnappa Bhagavathar Filmography in Tamil". Archived from the original on 2 March 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Sri Murugan IMdB". Archived from the original on 10 February 2017. Retrieved 21 July 2018.

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