Superstars of the Kannada Film Industry
Kannada Film Industry is finally making its mark in the world of cinema, all thanks to its new breed of talent. Here’s a look at the superstars of Kannada film industry today.
The kannada industry has produced some great actors like Raj Kumar, Ambarish and Vishnuvardhan and is known for making realistic movies. The industry was in its peak during the 70s and 80s. With the coming in of satellite television and video piracy Kannada Film Industry was majorly affected. But however Kannada Film Industry is finally looking up and the movies are now being appreciated by global audience. Here’s a look at the superstars of Kannada film industry today.
Hattrick Hero – Shivraj Kumar
Shivaraj Kumar is the son of legendary Kannada matinée Dr.Rajkumar. Shivaraj Kumar made his screen appearance in Singeetham Srinivas Rao’s 'Anand'. Shivanna's first three movies ‘Anand’, ‘Rathasapthami’ and ‘Mana Mechchida Hudugi’ all completed silver jubilee and earned him the title "Hatrick Hero - Shivraj Kumar".Till date this record is an exceptional one and not broken yet by any new comer Kannada actor. His movie Jogi was the biggest hit of all time in Kannada films until overtaken in 2006 by Mungaru Male.
In his career spanning over 22 years, he acted in a variety of roles. A number of his movies completed silver jubilee. The most notable movies of his career are Janumada Jodi, Jogi, Anand, Rathasapthami, Nammoora Mandara Hoove, Om, and Chigurida Kanasu. Today with 100 Kannada films to his credit, Shivraj Kumar maintains the standards set by his father to some extent. Shivanna has won year 2005 Best Actor award for his film Chigurida.
Power Star – Puneet Rajkumar
Puneet Rajkumar is the youngest son of late Kannada superstar Dr Rajkumar and the younger brother of Shivaraj Kumar. As a child artist, he appeared in 12 films. He won the National Film Award for Best Child Artist for the film Bettada Hoovu in 1986. After having appeared in films as a child actor in the 1980s, Puneet rajkumar made his film debut in a leading role in Appu. The film was a huge hit. He has been noted for his performances in films like Aakash (2005), Arasu (2007), Milana (2007) and Vamshi (2008) which are his biggest commercial successes so far.
Currently he is the highest paid actor in the Kannada Film Industry. He has the most commercially successful movie hit rate, and has had 14 movies in a row to have stayed in theatres for at least 100 days. Before entering the film industry, he was actively involved in a Home Banner Vajreshwari Combines' film distribution job in Karnataka, this still continues. He produced some of the movies made for their brothers Shivaraj Kumar as well as Raghavendra Rajkumar. Two TV serials were also produced by him. Puneet involves himself in philanthropic works with his mother Parvathamma Rajkumar and carries this out in an Ashram called Shakti Dhama in Mysooru.
Golden Star - Ganesh
Actor Ganesh shot to popularity with the 2007 blockbuster film Mungaru Male, which became one of the biggest hits in Kannada cinema, earning Rs. 75 crores. The movie was the first in India for any language to be screened for continuously one year in a multiplex. Before entering the film industry he acted in several TV serials, including Yadva Tadva, Vataara and Pa Pa Pandu. As a TV artist he popularised the television program Comedy Time. Following the success of this TV show, fans started to call him "Comedy Time" Ganesh.
Ganesh's first feature wide-release film, Chellata, was a moderate success and ran up to 125 days in some theatres. Chitra Rekha, who had already acted in quite a few films, acted opposite Ganesh in this film. Then came the 2006 film Mungaru Male, which was a roaring success. His third film as hero, Hudugaata, was released on 8 June 2007. His subsequent films have included Cheluvina Chithara (2007), Gaalipata (2008), Krishna (2008), Aramane (2008), Bombaat (2008), Sangama (2008), Circus (2009), Ullasa Utsaha, and MaLeyali Jotheyali (2009) which have all done extremely well at the Box Office.
Sudeep is known for his roles in My Autograph, Huccha, Mussanje Maatu, Sparsha, and Just Math Mathalli. He has won the Filmfare Award in the best actor category for three consecutive years and also won Karnataka State Award. His first movie was Thayavva (his first two films O Kusuma Bale and Brahma were abandoned mid-filming); he then played a supporting role in the Sunil Kumar Desai-directed movie Prathyartha and landed leading actor role in the same director's Sparsha.
In 2003, Sudeep acted in the hit film Huccha, which gave him his first big following. Recently he made his debut in Bollywood with the movie Phoonk. He has also starred in Ram Gopal Varma's movies Rann, Phoonk 2 and Rakta Charitra. He has also produced and directed kannada movies under his company "Kicha Creations". His directorial debut My Autograph was a huge success in Kannada industry. He directed few more movies like #73 Shanti Nivas and Veera Madakari which were not so successful. His recent directorial Kannada film Just Math Mathalli was released in Feb 2010 and received positive reviews but it was an average grosser.
Ramya made her acting debut in the 2003 Kannada-language film Abhi, alongside Puneet Rajkumar, following which, she acted in many Kannada films. She was originally supposed to make debut in Rajkumar's first film Appu, for which she, however, was not selected eventually, and was later offered and signed for the lead female role in Abhi, which became a commercial success. The same year, she had another release in Kannada with Excuse Me, which also did well at the box office, and also stepped into Telugu filmdom with the film Abhimanyu.
Kavitha Lankesh's Tananam Tananam, an average grosser that released to mixed reviews, fetched Ramya her first Filmfare Award for Best Actress. She also appeared as a sex worker in a short film Prarambha, directed by Santhosh Sivan, which was made in order to create awareness about AIDS and was part of Mira Nair's AIDS Jaago project. Her recent release Just Math Mathalli was a huge success and it also received rave reviews. Her role in the film was also very much appreciated. She is currently shooting for Singam Puli opposite Jeeva and Kadhal 2 Kalyanam alongside a newcomer Sathya in Tamil and Sanju weds Geeta opposite Srinagar Kitty.
Pooja Gandhi made her debut in the Bengali film Tomake Salam, released in 2003. She moved to the South Indian film industry with the Tamil film Kokki,which did not show promising results at the box office. She entered the Kannada film industry with Mungaru Male, a film that became a big hit in Karnataka. The film was a success, exceeding expectations with box office earnings crossing Rs 75 Crores, 400 days after its release.
This was a national record in India, for a Regional language film. Her next most awaited movie is Ninagagi Kadiruve Opposite Vishal Hegde Directed by Jolly Sebastian. Pooja Gandhi says that she has never done a role of like this in ‘Ninagagi Kadiruve’ in two years of her career.