Kannada cinema

Kannada cinema, also known as Sandalwood is the segment of Indian cinema [2] dedicated to the production of motion pictures in the Kannada language widely spoken in the state of Karnataka.[3][4][5] The 1934 film Sati Sulochana directed by Y. V. Rao was the first talkie film in the Kannada language.[6][7][8] It is also the first film starring Subbaiah Naidu, and was the first motion picture screened in the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom.[9] The film was produced by Chamanlal Doongaji who in 1932 founded South India Movietone in Bengaluru.[10][11]

Kannada cinema
No. of screens650 Single-screens in Karnataka
Main distributors
Produced feature films (2018)[1]

Major Literary works have been adapted to the Kannada screen such as B. V. Karanth's Chomana Dudi (1975), Girish Karnad's Kaadu (1973), Pattabhirama Reddy's Samskara (1970) (based on a novel by U. R. Ananthamurthy), which won Bronze Leopard at Locarno International Film Festival,[12] and T. S. Nagabharana's Mysuru Mallige (based on the works of acclaimed poet K. S. Narasimhaswamy).[13]

Kannada cinema is known for producing experimental works which received global and critical acclaim such as Girish Kasaravalli's Ghatashraddha (1977) which won the Ducats Award at the Manneham Film Festival Germany,[14] and Dweepa (2002), which won Best Film at Moscow International Film Festival,[15][16] Singeetam Srinivasa Rao's silent film Pushpaka Vimana (1987), screened at the Cannes Film Festival, Ram Gopal Varma's docudrama Killing Veerappan (2016), and Prashanth Neel's Historical period drama, K.G.F: Chapter 1 (2018),[17][18] which became the first Kannada language film to have grossed ₹250 crores worldwide at the box office.[19]

Early history

In 1934, the first Kannada talkie, Sati Sulochana,[20] appeared in theatres, followed by Bhakta Dhruva (aka Dhruva Kumar). Sati Sulochana was shot in Kolhapur at the Chatrapathi studio; most filming, sound recording, and post-production was done in Chennai.[21]

In 1949, Honnappa Bhagavathar, who had earlier acted in Gubbi Veeranna's films, produced Bhakta Kumbara and starred in the lead role along with Pandaribai. In 1955, Bhagavathar again produced a Kannada film, Mahakavi Kalidasa, in which he introduced actress B. Saroja Devi.[21] B. S. Ranga was an Indian photographer, actor, producer and director made many landmark movies in Kannada, under Vikram Studios.[22]


Matinee idol, Rajkumar entered Kannada cinema after his long stint as a dramatist with Gubbi Veeranna's Gubbi Drama Company, which he joined at the age of eight, before he got his first break as a lead in the 1954 film Bedara Kannappa.[23]

He went on to essay a variety of roles and excelling in portraying mythological and historical characters in films such as Bhakta Kanakadasa (1960), Ranadheera Kanteerava (1960), Satya Harishchandra (1965), Immadi Pulikeshi (1967), Sri Krishnadevaraya (1970), Bhakta Kumbara (1974), Mayura (1975), Babruvahana (1977) and Bhakta Prahlada (1983). His wife Parvathamma Rajkumar founded Film production and distribution company, Vajreshwari Combines.[23]

Method actor Shankar Nag received the inaugural IFFI Best Actor Award (Male): Silver Peacock Award" at the 7th International Film Festival of India for his work in the film Ondanondu Kaladalli.[24] He is the younger brother of actor Anant Nag.[25][26] M. V. Vasudeva Rao was starred in over 200 films in his career; however, post Chomana Dudi, he only played minor roles.[27]

Vishnuvardhan entered Kannada cinema 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 has played a variety of roles in more than 200 films.[28]

With his debut in Puttanna Kanagal's National Award-winning Kannada film Naagarahaavu (1972), Ambareesh's acting career commenced with a brief phase of portraying antagonistic and supporting characters. After establishing himself as a lead actor portraying rebellious characters on screen in a number of commercially successful films, he earned the moniker "rebel star".[29] He also earned the nickname Mandyada Gandu (English: Man of Mandya)[30]

B. Saroja Devi is One of the most successful female leads in the history of Indian cinema, she acted in around 200 films in over six decades.[31][32] She is known by the epithets "Abinaya Saraswathi" (Saraswathi of acting) in Kannada and "Kannadathu Paingili" (Kannada's Parrot) in Tamil.[32]

Parallel Cinema

Kannada Cinema also majorly contributed to the Parallel cinema movement of India.[33] Directors like Girish Kasaravalli,[33] Girish Karnad,[34] G. V. Iyer[34] were the early names to join the movement. T. S. Nagabharana[35] and BV Karanth were also popular names in the movement. Puttanna Kanagal's films were however considered as a bridge between the Mainstream and the Parallel Cinema.

Modern Era

Prakash Raj began his acting career with Doordarshan serials such as Bisilu Kudure (Kannada) and Guddada Bhootha (Tulu and Kannada).[36] He later took up supporting roles in Kannada films such as Ramachari, Ranadheera, Nishkarsha and Lockup Death. He was noticed for his dialogue delivery and histrionics. His breakthrough role came in Harakeya Kuri, directed by K. S. L. Swamy starring Vishnuvardhan, with whom he had acted in other films such as Mithileya Seetheyaru, Muthina Haara and Nishkarsha. Prakash re-entered Kannada films through Nagamandala in 1997, directed by T. S. Nagabharana.[37] Veteran Kannada actor Shakti Prasad's son Arjun Sarja is known for his works in South Indian cinema.[38] He was starred in works such as Prasad, the film was screened at the Berlin Film Festival, and Arjun received the Karnataka State Award for his performance.[39]

Sanchari Vijay's portrayal of a transgender won him the National Best Actor Award.[40][41][42] With the award win, Vijay became the third actor after M. V. Vasudeva Rao, and Charuhasan to win the National Award for Best Actor for performing in a Kannada film.[43]

Shiva Rajkumar is known for his work in Janumada Jodi, Anand, Ratha Sapthami, Nammoora Mandara Hoove, Om Simhada Mari, and Chigurida Kanasu. He acted in Sugreeva, which was shot in 18 hours. His Om, directed by Upendra, set a trend of gangster movies in Kannada and other film industries in India. It continues to be shown even to this day.[44]

Rockline Venkatesh founded Rockline Entertainments which has produced over twenty five films as of 2012.[45] New age actors Puneeth Rajkumar, Darshan, Sudeep, Yash, Rakshit Shetty, and Yash are one of the highest-paid actors in Sandalwood.[46][47][48] Rashmika Mandanna starrer Kirik Party opened to widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike and went on to become highest-grossing film of the year by collecting ₹50 crore[49] against production budget ₹4 crore,[50] and completed 150-days in main centers of Karnataka,[51]

Film Score

Composer Hamsalekha is usually referred to by the title Naadha Brahma (English: The Brahma of Music) who is considered to be the major cause for the change in the music composing and lyric writing style which would appeal much to the younger generation. He integrated folk and introduced western musical sensibilities into the Kannada cinema.[52][53]

Mano Murthy scored the blockbuster film Mungaru Male starring Ganesh and Pooja Gandhi. Upon the album's release, it topped the charts with the song "Anisuthide" receiving significant radio and TV air time.[54] The album emerged as a massive success topping every Kannada music chart. It was reported that by mid-May 2007, over 200,000 copies were sold in compact discs.[55]

Film Schools

The first government institute in India to start technical courses related to films was established in 1941 named as occupational institute then called the Sri Jayachamarajendra (S J) Polytechnic in Bengaluru. In September 1996, two specialized courses, Cinematography and Sound & Television were separated and the Government Film and Television Institute was started at Hesaraghatta, under the World Bank Assisted Project for Technician Development in India.[56]

State Awards

State Festivals

Other Awards

See also


  2. Link referring rechristening of sandalwod as chandanavana at world kannada summit
  3. Shampa Banerjee, Anil Srivastava (1988) [1988]. One Hundred Indian Feature Films: An Annotated Filmography. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-8240-9483-2.
  4. When it rained films. Deccanherald.com. Retrieved on 2017-07-29.
  5. "Statewise number of single screens". chitraloka.com (1913-05-03). Retrieved on 2013-07-29.
  6. Dr.Raj's impact on Kannada cinema Rediff.com
  7. "First film to talk in Kannada". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 31 December 2004.
  8. "A revolutionary filmmaker". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 22 August 2003.
  9. "First film to talk in Kannada". Online Edition of the Hindu, dated 31 December 2004. Chennai, India. 31 December 2004. Retrieved 21 April 2007.
  10. Khajane, Muralidhara (25 February 2012). "Philatelic show to mark 78th anniversary of 'Sati Sulochana'". The Hindu. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  11. "Wealth of material found on first Kannada talkie - Deccan Herald | DailyHunt". DailyHunt. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  12. "Tikkavarapu Pattabhirama Reddy – Poet, Film maker of international fame from Nellore - 1Nellore.com".
  13. "TS Nagabharana movies list". www.bharatmovies.com. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  14. "Asiatic Film Mediale". asiaticafilmmediale.it. Archived from the original on 16 November 2008.
  15. "Girish Kasaravalli to be felicitated". The Hindu. 25 April 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  16. "A genius of theatre". The Frontline. 12–25 October 2002. Retrieved 14 March 2009.
  17. "Oscar nominees among 240 films to be screened during Biffes". The Hindu. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  18. "Killing Veerappan is a Slick RGV Thriller". The New Indian Express.
  19. "KGF becomes first Kannada film to break into Rs 200 cr club; Njan Prakashan declared blockbuster", Firstpost, 9 January 2019
  20. "First film to talk in Kannada" article in The Hindu
  21. K. Moti Gokulsing; Wimal Dissanayake (17 April 2013). Routledge Handbook of Indian Cinemas. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-136-77284-9.
  22. Guy, Randor (19 July 2014). "Ratnapuri Ilavarasi (1960)". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 31 August 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  23. "Rajakumar, king of Kannada cinema". Rediff.com. 12 April 2006. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  24. RAY, BIBEKANANDA (5 April 2017). "Conscience of The Race". Publications Division Ministry of Information & Broadcasting via Google Books.
  25. "This one's for Shankar Nag - Times of India".
  26. Anand Chandrashekar (7 November 2009). "Shankar Nag Last Interview - Part 2" via YouTube.
  27. Rao, M. K. Bhaskar (14 April 2002). "A natural". Deccan Herald. Archived from the original on 25 April 2002. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  28. "Vishnuvardhan helped me to get stardom: Rajinikanth". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 7 January 2010.
  29. "When 'Rebel Star' rewinds past days in Mysore". Deccan Herald. 20 September 2014.
  30. "'Mandyada Gandu' gets rousing welcome". The Hindu. 13 April 2013.
  31. Documentary on legendary Saroja Devi - Chitramala.com Archived 11 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  32. Taniya Talukdar (5 May 2013). "B Saroja Devi in the list of greatest Indian actresses ever". The Times of India.
  33. "The parallel cinema of Girish Kasaravalli: A look at Kannada industry's stalwart filmmaker", The News Minute, 7 November 2017
  34. "Kannada's parallel cinema loses its star", The Hindu, 28 March 2019
  35. Cinema in India, Volume 3. Mangala Chandran. 2003. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  36. "If artistes become cowards, they make society a coward: Prakash Raj".
  37. "Prakash Raj exclusive: Everyone has the right to differ, but this is orchestrated trolling. And you cannot threaten me with continuous abuse".
  38. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  39. "Vijay bags National Award for Best Actor". timesofindia. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  40. "Sanchari Vijay Actor–Profile and biography". cinetrooth. 21 June 2015. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  41. "Vijay elated on winning best actor award". deccanherald. 25 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  42. http://www.rediff.com/movies/report/meet-the-first-kannada-actor-to-win-a-national-award-south/20150325.htm
  43. ಪ್ರೇಕ್ಷಕರ ಒತ್ತಾಯದ ಮೇರೆಗೆ ಮತ್ತೆ ಬಂದಿದೆ ಓಂ!, One India, 1 September 2010
  44. "63rd National Film Awards" (PDF) (Press release). Directorate of Film Festivals. 28 March 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  45. Box Office Collection: 'PK', 'Mr & Mrs Ramachari' Dominate Bengaluru Collection Centres. Ibtimes.co.in (9 January 2015). Retrieved on 11 November 2016.
  46. "Birthday gift to Yash: Ramachari to enter cr club soon!". www.sify.com.
  47. "'Mr and Mrs Ramachari' Review: Audience Live Response". ibtimes.co.in. 25 December 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  48. "Rakshit Shetty's Kirik Party dubbed by malayalam movie premam and Telugu remake rights sold; talks on for other language rights". International Business Times. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  49. "The budget of 'Kirik Party' would be around ₹4crore". The Hindu.
  50. "Kirik Party completes 150 days: Rakshit Shetty, Rashmika Mandanna celebrate with fans". India Today.
  51. "Hamsalekha 60". Chitraloka. 23 June 2011.
  52. "Dr. Hamsalekha now". Indiaglitz. 14 May 2014.
  53. "'Mungaru Male' still tops the charts". The Hindu. 17 May 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  54. "'Mungaru Male' album a mega hit". Hindustan Times. 18 May 2007. Archived from the original on 10 October 2015. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  55. "GFTI". www.filminstitutebangalore.com. Archived from the original on 21 August 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
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