Sunday, September 18, 2011


It was 1972. Rajkumar was still in his prime in Kannada film industry. Puttanna Kanagal, the genius film maker cast a relatively unknown Sampath Kumar in what would become a milestone film in Kannada. The movie was the superb "Nagara Haavu". Puttanna not only made Sampath Kumar an overnight star, but also gave him the screen name with which he is well known. Vishnuvardhan!

ಸಿಂಹದ ಗತ್ತು 
ರಾಮಾಚಾರಿ ಸ್ವತ್ತು 
ಕರುನಾಡ ಸಂಪತ್ತು 

Seventies was looking for a fresh face, someone young and brash, yet affable. Vishnu fitted that description perfectly. He formed a memorable pair with Dwarakish and acted in masala films like KaLLa KuLLa, KiTTu PuTTu, Singapooradalli Raja Kulla. His pairing with the adorable Suhasini, in movies like Bandhana, Muththina Haara is screen magic. Though he lost the later years in his career to image and fan expectations, my favorite collaboration of his came with Dinesh Babu - who made simple yet beautiful films like Suprabhata, Laali, Nishabdha.

(A famous scene from Bandhana, where a nervous Dr.Harish practises how to tell Dr.Nandini that he loves her. His monologue is witnessed by the hospital staff, resulting in a hilarious situation in an otherwise tragic tale of, what some auto driver had once termed 'love disappointu story')

(A still from Veerappanayaka, it seems)

 (A still from one of, what I call as, 'meese' series movies - perhaps 'Diggajaru'. Meese series movies include Diggajaru, Yajamaana, Simhadriya Simha etc. They are the adaptations of over-the-top rural Tamil melodramas. The idiocy of movie was directly proportional to the length and breadth of the moustache)

(A still from Mathad Mathad Mallige)

For me, one strong memory of Vishnu (perhaps an uncommon one) was the amazing voice over for the light and sound programme "Karnataka Vaibhava" during Dasara few years back.

Wish you happy bud'day!

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