18 September 1950
|Died||30 December 2009 (aged 59)|
|Other names||Phoenix of India Cinema|
|Occupation||Actor and singer|
|Relatives||Aniruddha Jatkar (son in law)|
Vishnuvardhan (18 September 1950 – 30 December 2009), born Sampath Kumar, was an Indian film actor predominantly in Kannada cinema. He appeared in more than 220 films all together in Kannada, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu. He was called The Phoenix of Indian Cinema. He made his debut in the 1972 film, Vamsha Vriksha, in a supporting role. The same year he played the lead role in Puttanna Kanagal's Naagarahaavu, and was recognized as 'The Angry Young Man of Kannada Cinema'. He has played a variety of roles in different genres.
In 2008, a poll conducted by CNN-IBN listed Vishnuvardhan as the most popular star in the Kannada Film Industry. A road stretching 14.5 km from Banashankari Temple to Kengeri in Bengaluru was named after him. It is the longest road in Asia to be named after a celebrity. He was a martial artist, In an interview with The Hindu, he had said that it was the era of Bruce Lee and it was only Kamal Haasan and himself who had learnt martial arts in his generation. He was also the story writer of the 1997 movie Ganesha I Love You directed by Phani Ramachandra.
- Early life
Vishnuvardhan was born in Mysore to H. L. Narayana Rao and Kamakshamma. His ancestors are from Hallegere, Mandya district of Karnataka. His father was an artist, music composer and a screenwriter who was known for his collection of musical instruments. He had six siblings. His sister Rama was a Kathak dancer at the Mysore Palace, and brother Ravi was a child actor who appeared in the 1955 Tamil language and Kannada bilingual film Modala Thedi. Vishnuvardhan was educated first in Mysore's Gopalswamy School and then at Bangalore's Kannada Model High School. He attended high school and obtained a degree from National College, Basavanagudi, Bangalore.
- Married life
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Early career and debut (1972 - 1980)
Vishnuvardhan started his career with the National Award-winning movie Vamshavruksha (1972) directed by Girish Karnad based on the novel written by S. L. Bhyrappa. His first lead role was in Naagarahaavu, directed by Puttanna Kanagal and based on a novel by T. R. Subba Rao. It was the first in Kannada film history to complete 100 days in three main theatres of Bangalore. In his 37-year career, he played a variety of roles in more than 200 films. Then he appeared along with Rajkumar in Gandhada Gudi. Released in 1973, it was the highest-grossing Kannada movie of the year. In 1974 he appeared in Bhootayyana Maga Ayyu. In 1977 he appeared in many movies but three of it were with Rajinikanth. Those movies where Sahodarara Savaal, Kiladi Kittu and Galate Samsara. They went on to appear in more movies together. In 1978 he appeared in Hombisilu
Later career and success (1981 - 1999)
In 1982 his movie Sahasa Simha became another Blockbuster and he also get the title Sahasa Simha. In 1984 he debuted in the Bollywood movie Ek Naya Iittihas which was critically acclaimed. And in the same year he appeared in Bandhana. It became a turning point in his career. In 1985 he appeared again with Rajinikanth in the Tamil film Sri Raghavendrar. The same year he appeared in Jeevana Chakra which was successful. Next year he appeared in multi-starrer cult film Viduthalai (1986 film) co-starring with Sivaji Ganesan, Rajinikanth, Madhavi, Vijayakumar, R. N. Sudarshan, K. Balaji and Y. G. Mahendran. It was a remake of Bollywood Hindi language film Qurbani (film) released in 1980. Starring Feroz Khan (actor), Vinod Khanna, Amjad Khan (actor), Zeenat Aman, Shakti Kapoor and Aruna Irani. However Qurbani (film) became the highest grosser of the year while Viduthalai (1986 film) was average at the box office. In 1989 his two movies Hrudaya Geethe and Deva were successful. In 1990 his movie Muthina Haara costar with Suhasini Maniratnam (who earlier appeared with Vishnuvardhan in Bandhana) become Vishnuvardhan's one of the best movie. Next year in 1991 he appeared in Lion Jagapathi Rao by which he received an award. In 1992 his Malayalam movie Kauravar with Mammootty was critically acclaimed. In 1993 he appeared in Hindi Kannada bilingual movie Vishnu Vijaya (In Hindi Ashant). Co-star with Akshay Kumar. It was a failure in Hindi but a success in Kannada. In 1994 his movie Halunda Tavaru was a blockbuster then same year he appeared in the hit film Zaalim again with Akshay Kumar through out the 1990s he appeared in successful movies such as Habba and Jeevanadhi.
Career in 2000s (2000 - 2009)
In 2000 his movie Yajamana was a huge box office success and eventually became the highest grossing Kannada movie of the year. And in same year his another movies such as Soorappa, Simhadriya Simha and Surya Vamsha and also Jamindaru became Blockbusters. In 2001 his movie Diggajaru with Ambareesh become a Blockbuster. In 2003 - 2004 his movies Varsha, Sahukara, Kadamba and Apthamithra became blockbusters. His two movies in 2007 Ee Bandhana and Maathaad Maathaadu Mallige were critically acclaimed. And his another Neenello Naanalle became a box office and his movie Bellary Naga was an average hit.
Aptharakshaka (2010) was his last movie to be released which was a Blockbuster. And became highest grossing Kannada movie of the year. In 2016 he appeared through computer graphics in Nagarahavu (2016) and Rajasimha (2018).
He appeared on television for the first time in the 1980s. Shankar Nag directed Malgudi Days and introduced Vishnuvardhan as the main character Venkat Rao, in an episode called "Rupees Forty-five a Month". Here, his co-star was Gayatri Nag.
Vishnuvardhan started an organisation called Sneha Loka to promote harmony and to help during calamities like floods. He conducted a 'padayatra' to collect funds for the flood-affected people in the northern part of the state. Vishnuvardhan and his wife Bharathi had adopted the Melukote town in Mandya district where he had dug borewells in the water-starved temple town. Many of his other charitable donations were revealed only when the beneficiaries came forward and spoke about it. In January 2005, Vishnuvardhan, cricketer Syed Kirmani and Shivram participated in a Cancer Awareness Walkathon organised by Bangalore Institute of Oncology (BIO) to commemorate its 15 years of public service in Bangalore.
- S. P. Balasubramanyam
S. P. Balasubrahmanyam's voice suited Vishnuvardhan, and people felt it was a perfect combination. He started singing for Vishnuvardhan in the 1972 film Naagarahaavu. Balasubrahmanyam as music director, composed all the songs for Vishnuvardhan's Sowbhagyalakshmi. Vishnuvardhan never missed any of the birthdays of S. P. Balasubrahmanyam. In every film of the actor, he had to sing couple of songs and Vishnu would insist. Balasubrahmanyam has sung all the five songs in his last Kannada film Aptharakshaka and was awarded the Best Playback Singer Filmfare Award for the song Gharane Ghara Gharane. He dedicated his award to Vishnuvardhan. After Vishnuvardhan's death, Balasubrahmanyam paid tribute to him in musical nights and one such show happened in Bengaluru and Mysuru.
- H. R. Bhargava
Vishnuvardhan's pairing with director H.R. Bhargava is considered as one of the best pairings of Kannada film industry. His first film with H.R. Bhargava was Asaadhya Aliya which was a successful one. He has a total of 23 films with H.R. Bhargava. The rate of success of this combination was very high. To name a few are Guru Sishyaru, Jeevana Chakra, Karunamayi, Jana Naayaka, Hrudaya Geethe, Karna, Mathe Haditu Kogile, Onde Guri, and Krishna Nee Begane Baaro.
Vishnuvardan's pair with actress Suhasini Maniratnam was one of the most lovable pairs in Karnataka.
Rajinikanth has also acted with Vishnuvardhan in movies such as Sahodarara Savaal, Kiladi Kittu and Galate Samsara. Akshay Kumar worked with Vishnuvardhan in two movies Vishnu Vijaya and Zaalim. Both of them were successful at box office. Ambareesh also acted with him in movies. Actor Ramesh Bhat acted in more than 75 films with Vishnuvardhan
Vishnuvardhan considered as "The Phoenix of Indian Cinema". He was fondly called as Sahasa Simha, Abhinava Bhargava and Vishnu Dada by his fans in Karnataka.
He started singing in movies occasionally and later went on to sing devotional songs for albums. The first song he sang was in the movie Nagarahole and he has recorded some duet songs with the notable legendary singers S. Janaki, Bangalore Latha, Vani Jairam and P. Susheela. The first devotional album sung by him was on Lord Ayappa and the title of the album was Jyothiroopa Ayappa. His other albums were "Thayi Bhanashankari" (on goddess Banashankari) and Vishwapremi Ayappa. He also sang devotional songs on Dharmastala's Lord Manjunathaswamy, Malemadeshwara and Ranachandi Chamundi.
Some of his renderings are:
Later years and death
On 30 December 2009, Vishnuvardhan died of a massive cardiac arrest at King's Court Hotel in Mysore. He was survived by his wife, Bharathi Vishnuvardhan, and two daughters, Keerthi and Chandana. He was cremated with full state honours at Abhiman studio in Bangalore.
Akshay Kumar after the death of Vishnuvardhan said that "We did a Hindi and a Kannada version of Ashaant. The Kannada version was a super hit. The Hindi version was a flop. I realised Vishnuji was a much bigger star than I could ever be".
Books about Vishnuvardhan include:
|Vishnu – Noorondu Nenapu||Sadashiva Shenoy|
|Sahasa Simhayana||S. Jagannath Rao Bahule|
|Hrudayavantha Vishnu: Avadootharu||B. Vinod Kumar|
|Kala Jnani Dr. Vishnuvardhan||H. Krishnappa|
|Sneha Sampatthu||H. Narasimha Murthy|
|Kannadada Sampatthu||Manjunath Alde|
|Dr. Vishnuvardhana – Nanna Haadu Nannadu||Nandakumar|
|Mareyada Maanikya – Yajamanru Dr. Vishnuvardhan||Janardhan Rao Salanke|
|Karna maadida sampathu – Dr.Vishnuvardana||Hemanth G Nag|
|Simha Gharjane||Janardhan Rao Salanke|
|Karunamayee Dr. Vishnuvardhan||Janardhan Rao Salanke|
|Anna – Nammanna||Babu Dinakar|
|Naagarahaavu: Nenapu – Meluku||Babu Dinakar|
|Naagarahaavu||Janardhan Rao Salanke|
|Bhava Shilpi Dr. Vishnuvardhan||B. Vinod Kumar|
|Nenapina Mutthina Haara||S. V. Rajendra Singh Babu|
Legacy, awards and honors
|1990-91||Best Actor||Lion Jagapathi Rao|
|1998-99||Best Actor||Veerappa Nayaka|
|2007-08||Dr. Rajkumar Lifetime Achievement Award||For his Lifetime Contribution|
|2009-10||Best Actor||Aaptha Rakshaka|
- As an acknowledgment to his service to Indian cinema, the state government named its annual lifetime achievement award to long-serving film personalities after Vishnuvardhan, renaming it as the Karnataka State Dr. Vishnuvardhan Award.
- He has appeared on postage stamps issued by the Government of India posthumously.
- Vishnuvardhan was given the Filmfare South Lifetime achievement award in 2002 for his contribution to the Kannada film industry.
- The State Government has named roads and parks in the capital city Bangalore after him. A park in Jayanagar, Bengaluru has also been named as Dr. Vishnuvardhan Park.
- The government of Karnataka decided to build a film city in the name of Dr. Vishnuvardhan. It will be similar to the model of Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad.
- The Karnataka Assembly showed respect to the star by praying for a minute for his soul to rest in peace. After that, the election of the Speaker was held under chaotic circumstances as the Opposition parties wanted the elections to be postponed due to this shocking and unexpected incident.
- There are statues erected in his honour, especially in Bangalore. A 7-foot-high (2.1 m) statue in Gowri Palya on 1 March 2012, Laggere on 4 March 2012, Kengeri on 9 October 2011, KP Agrahara in Vijayanagar on 11 March 2012 and in other places of Bengaluru and Karnataka were unveiled.
- Vishnuvardhan was cremated at the Abhimaan Studios, in the outskirts of Bangalore on 30 December 2009 with full state honors. Almost all the leading politicians and actors were present there.
- A 14.3 km-long stretch of road between the Banashankari Temple and Kengeri in Bangalore has been named after the superstar. It is the longest road in Asia to be named after a celebrity.
- Vishnuvardhan's fans, for whom he is a demi-god, have built a temple for him naming it Dr. Vishnuvardhan Mandir.
- "Vishnuvardhan's son-in-law recreating 'Shasa Simha' in 'Raja Simha'". lehren.com.
- "Vishnuvardhan – Indian Film Actor from Mysore". Mysorehub.com. 30 December 2009. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- "Vishnuvardhan comes alive as a comic character". The Times Of India.
- sandalwood: Vishnuvardhan comes alive as a comic character | Kannada Movie News – Times of India. M.timesofindia.com (26 December 2013). Retrieved on 2018-11-08.
- A final tribute to the Phoenix of Indian Cinema: ‘Nagarahavu’ – Movie Mint. Moviemint.com (31 May 2016). Retrieved on 2018-11-08.
- OUR KARNATAKA: Dr. Vishnuvardhan. Our-karnataka.blogspot.in (25 February 2012). Retrieved on 2018-11-08.
- "'Angry young man' of Sandalwood bids adieu". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "Girish Kasarvalli pays tribute to Vishnuvardhan". Rediff. 30 December 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- " Naagarahaavu 1972". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 18 October 2008.
- "Vishnuvardhan : Kannada Actor| Singer Movies, Biography, Pictures". Chiloka.com. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- "Vishnuvardhan News | Bollywood Actors on Newsaajtak | Newsaajtak | News Aajtak". Newsaajtak.in. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- 24 June 2008, 15:47 [IST] (24 June 2008). "Dr.Vishnu the most popular star". Filmibeat. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- "Dr Vishnuvardhan Road is the longest road to have an actor's name? – The Times of India". The Times Of India.
- "14-km long road to be named after Vishnu". Bangaloremirror. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "An actor by accident". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 11 May 2007.
- "History 31 – 1955 : The Year Of Star Debuts". chitraloka.com. 29 August 2013. Archived from the original on 9 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
- "Suhasini to direct Kannada movie". Teluguboxoffice.com.
- SHARADHA SRINIDHI, TNN (9 July 2010). "Suhasini not directing with Ash!". The Times of India.
- "Vishunuvardhan's life in pics". NDTV.com. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
- "Vishnuvardhan helped me to get stardom: Rajinikanth". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 7 January 2010.
- "Suhasini on her last movie with the late Kannada actor". Rediff.com. 20 January 2010.
- "About Vishnu Vardhan - Thoughts from Sumalatha". Videogirmit. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- "Ambareesh's top five films". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "Dr Vishnu was more than a movie icon". Rediff. 30 December 2009.
- "Many turn up for 'Cancer walkathon'". The Hindu. 10 January 2005. Retrieved 24 August 2005.
- Sandesh (17 September 2013). "Remembering Sahasasimha Vishnuvardhan On His Birthday". Greynium Information Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
- "Vishnu still tells me what to do". Bangalore Mirror. Archived from the original on 7 November 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- "Welcome to". Sify.com. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- "Movies List". Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "Suhasini to direct Kannada film! – Telugu Movie News". Indiaglitz.com. 30 May 2009.
- "Dr Vishnuvardhan to be cremated with state honours". Rediff.com. 30 December 2009.
- "Dr Vishnuvardhan to be cremated with state honours". Megamedianews.in. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- "Karnataka govt moots film city named after Rajkumar, Vishnuvardhan". Indiantelevision.com. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
- "dr vishnuvardhan – Latest news on dr vishnuvardhan – dr vishnuvardhan photos – Rediff Realtime News Search". Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "A stamp for Dr Vishnuvardha". The Times of India. 12 May 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- "Driving directions from Vidya Peetha Circle to Dr Vishnuvardhan Road, hyderabad". Latlong.in. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- "Road and park to be named after Dr.Vishnuvardhan". Deccan Chronicle. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- Hooli, Shekhar H. (2 January 2010). "Karnataka Govt to build Dr Vishnuvardhan film city". Oneindia Entertainment. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- "Fans mourn Vishnuvardhan's death". Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- Karnataka mourns Vishnuvardhan’s death. Indian Express (31 December 2009). Retrieved on 2018-11-08.
- Rajendra (3 March 2012). "ಲಾಠಿ ಚಾರ್ಚ್ ನಡುವೆ ಡಾ.ವಿಷ್ಣು ಪುತ್ಥಳಿ ಅನಾವರಣ- 03 dr vishnuvardhan statue gowri palya". Oneindia Entertainment. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- Hooli, Shekhar (7 April 2011). "Dr. Vishnuvardhan's statue unveiled by Dwarakish". Oneindia Entertainment. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- "Dr Vishnuvardhan to be cremated with state honours". Rediff.com. 30 December 2009.
- "'Apthamithra' Dr Vishnu cremated! – Kannada Movie News". Indiaglitz.com. 31 December 2009.
- "Dr.Vishnuvardhan(Sahasasimha)'s Photos – Dr.Vishnuvardhan(Sahasasimha) – Facebook". Retrieved 1 April 2015.
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