Veteran Kannada actor, director Dwarakish passes away at 81

A doyen of Kannada film industry, the 81-year-old Kannada actor, director, and producer Dwarakish, whose real name was Bungle Shama Rao Dwarakanath, had acted in over 90 movies and produced and directed around 50 movies.

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Veteran Kannada actor, director Dwarakish passes away at 81
Dwarakish had acted in over 90 films and produced and directed around 50 movies


    Veteran Kannada actor, producer and director Bungle Shama Rao Dwarakanath, popularly known as Dwarakish, who is best known for his roles as a comedian in a film career spanning more than five decades, died following a cardiac arrest at his residence here on Tuesday, family sources said.

    A doyen of Kannada film industry, the 81-year-old had acted in over 90 movies and produced and directed around 50 movies. "Morning he had told his son that he was feeling tired and asked him to wake him up at 9 am. When he went to wake him up he did not respond," a family source said. 

    Born on August 19, 1942 at Hunsur in Mysuru district, the legendary actor was a household name in the state during the prime of his career. He is also credited with introducing noted Hindi playback singer Kishore Kumar to Kannada film industry with the song Aadu Aata Aadu (Play the game) for the movie Kulla Agent 000 in which Dwarakish played the lead role. 

    A diploma holder in mechanical engineering, Dwarakish made his debut in the tinsel town in 1966 by co-producing Mamatheya Bandhana under the banner of Thunga Pictures. He tasted big success as a producer with his movie Mayor Muthanna starring Kannada matinee idol Dr Rajkumar and Bharathi in the lead roles in 1969. 

    Being short would have been a drawback for many but Dwarakish turned it to his advantage; the little master of Kannada film industry was fondly called Prachanda Kulla' (fiery dwarf). Prachanda Kulla, Kulla Agent 000, Cowboy Kulla, Singaporenalli Raja Kulla, Kulla Kalli, and Hosa Kalla Hale Kulla were some of the movies he made. 

    However sombre the plot of the movie could be, Dwarakish's presence would ensure that there would be an adequate dose of humour, a film critic noted. Dwarakish's directorial-debut movie Nee Bareda Kadambari in 1985 was well received by the audience. His movie Apthamitra, a remake of Malayalam movie Manichithrathazhu, was a grand success. 

    Tributes poured in for the versatile actor who was so "synonymous" with comedy that the audience would start giggling the moment he appeared on the big screen. "Sharing the screen with great actors like Dr Rajkumar and Dr Vishnuvardhan, he made his own mark in the minds of the audience through his humorous acting. Kannada cinema has become poorer with the death of Dwarakish," Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said. 

    Tamil superstar Rajinikanth said in a post on 'X': "The demise of my long time dear friend Dwarakish is very painful to me. Starting his career as a comedian, he raised himself up to being a big producer and director. Fond memories come to my mind. My heartfelt condolences to his family and dear ones."

    Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar said Dwarakish brought life to roles as a comedian, hero and supporting actor. Former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said, "Not only as an artist, his unparalleled service to the Kannada film industry as a producer and director is unforgettable. He was an asset to Kannada cinema due to his versatile talent, who acted with great actors like Dr Rajkumar, Dr Vishnuvardhan and Ambareesh." (With inputs from PTI)

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