Veteran Kannada film actor Vishnuvardhan, who shot to fame with his memorable portrayal of the character Ramachari in the 1972 classic Nagarahaavu,died today of cardiac arrest in Mysore.
He was 59.
Although Vishnuvardhan acted in dozens of films in a 37-year career, he was best known for his role of the embittered young man Ramachari in the late director Puttana Kanagal’s Naagarahavu.
Even his name Vishnuvardhan owes to Naagarahaavu since that was the name Puttana Kanagal anointed him with around the time the movie was made (the actor’s original name was Sampath Kumar).
Some of Vishnuvardhan’s other prominent films include Sahasa Simha, Muthina Haara, Bhootayyana Maga Ayyu, Bandhana, Naagara Hole, Hombisilu and Apthamitra.
But for us and surely for millions of others, it’s Naagarahaavu that brings to mind Vishnuvardhan angrily marching on the ruins of the old Chitradurga fort as he whips out the song Haavina Dvesha.
Here’s an excerpt from SearchIndia.com’s review of Nagarahaavu.
Not merely a beautiful tragedy, Naagarahaavu (1972) is also a Kannada Cinemada Habba (a celebration of Kannada films).
A classic on many levels, Naagarahaavu ranks among the finest Indian movies made in the 1970s.
It’s that rare regional movie from India’s hinterlands where the acting, music and story jell, and join in unison to deliver an unforgettable masterpiece.
A rara avis, folks.
…..Set amidst the rocks of Chitradurga (a small town, about 200km north of Bangalore), Naagarahaavu is the story of a young man Ramachari (Vishnuvardhan) filled with hata, rosha, dvesha and pratikaara (stubbornness, anger, hatred and vengeance).
Given his quick-to-anger and vicious temperament, the town folk have named Ramachari Naagarahaavu (meaning King Cobra).
Feared and loathed by most people in town (including his own father) because of his temperament, Ramachari’s sole defender in town is his old childless teacher Chamayya Masteru (Ashwath).
When you add love in the form of Alamelu (Aarti) and Margaret (Shuba) and Masteru’s good-hearted but deadly meddling to Ramachari’s volatile personality, the denouement can only turn out to be a fiery explosion that consumes all of the protagonists.
No other ending is possible save the one we see on the screen.
The movie is strewn with gems throughout…..
As our small, humble tribute to Vishnuvardhan, a few minutes ago we purchased two of the finest songs in Kannada films, both from Naagarahaavu – Haavina Dvesha (sung by S.P.Balasubramaniam) and the haunting melody Baare, Baare (P.B.Srinivas) from iTunes.