Bengaluru, July 26: Veteran Kannada actress Jayanthi, popularly known as ‘Abhinaya Sharadhe’ passed away at 76. She was keeping unwell for the past few days.
Jayanthi is known for her contributions to southern film industry films from the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. She has appeared in over 500 films, including films in the Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi and Marathi languages.
Jayanthi has acted in over 500 movies across languages such as Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Marathi, having shared the screen with legendary actors such as MG Ramachandran (MGR). Jayanthi has acted in more than 45 films with Dr Raj Kumar, the doyen of Kannada cinema.
Condoling her death, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa tweeted, “I am deeply saddened by the news about the demise of renowned veteran artist, Jayanthi. Her contribution to the film industry is immense, and her demise has caused an irreparable loss to the Kannada film industry. I pray to God to bless her soul give his family members and her admirers the power to bear the loss.”
Born Kamala Kumari to an English professor Balasubramanyam and Santhanalakshmi on January 1945 in Ballari, Jayanthi made her debut with ‘Jenu Goodu’, which was a commercial success.
In 1965, Jayanthi acted in Miss Leelavathi, in which she played the title role. Considered a film with a “bold theme” in what was seen as the conservative cinema at the time, the film dealt about the influence of parental differences and of a lead heroine who grows up to be a rebel and stands up against convention, refusing marriage, opting to be career-oriented women and with a carefree attitude towards premarital sex.
Jayanthi was launched as the glamour-diva in the film, a first for a Kannada film, wearing skirts, T-shirts and nighties. The film was a huge success and catapulted Jayanthi to fame. She is credited for the first Kannada actress to wear a swimsuit on screen, which the producers’ first choice for the role had refused to do.
Her role depicting a legend Onake Obavva always remains fresh in everyone’s memory and takes us back to childhood days.
The Kannada film industry has honoured her with the title “Abhinaya Sharadhe”, meaning Goddess Sharada in acting.
She has received two Karnataka State Film Awards for Best Actress, the President’s Medal for Best Actress and two Filmfare Awards for Best Actress throughout her career. She has been cited as Kannada cinema’s “most bold and beautiful” actress by various media outlets, a title for which she has received substantial publicity.
During her stint in Tamil movies, she had acted with legendary actors Gemini Ganeshan, M G Ramachandran, Muthuraman and Jaishankar and gave many hits such as ‘Padagoti’, ‘Mugaraasi’, ‘Kanna Nalama’, ‘Punnagai’, ‘Velli Vizha’ and ‘Iru Kodugal’. In Hindi, she had acted in films including ‘Lal Lal Bangla’ (1966), ‘Teen Bahuraniyan’ (1968), Gunda (1970) and ‘Tumse Achha Kaun Hai’ (1969).