R.I.P. Nagarahaavu Ramachari a.k.a Vishnuvardhan

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 NaagarahaavuHaavina Dvesha (sung by S.P.Balasubramaniam) and the haunting melody Baare, Baare (P.B.Srinivas) from iTunes.

10 Responses to "R.I.P. Nagarahaavu Ramachari a.k.a Vishnuvardhan"

  1. sganeshkumar1989   December 30, 2009 at 10:43 am

    He’s the last good actor and superstar of Kannada cinema, may his soul rest in peace! πŸ™

    Heard he was a non-controversial person and a good human being.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    We plan to watch his Bandhana soon (we have the DVD).

  2. What_if   December 30, 2009 at 11:14 am

    I have seen several films of late Dr.Vishnuvardhan during 70s & 80s of which Nagarahavu was the first one I saw, when it released. (I had mentioned about this film in one of my comments, much before you wrote the review of this fine movie).

    We were entertained by him in our young age, in movies such as Nagara Hole, Kalla Kulla & Kiladi Jodi etc. ItÒ€ℒs sad that he has passed away.

    He was also called as Sahasa Simha (a valorous lion) by his fans & in film posters. During the funeral, it is said that, his fans grief had turned to anger, damaging of vehicles, police firing etc.

    Will our people ever learn to pay a peaceful silent homage when a Film Star or Politician dies ?

    On a lighter note – Karnataka CM has said “Vishnuvardhan, is a abhinava bhargava (born actor), Karnataka has become poor in his death” – Wonder if it was rich earlier πŸ™‚

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Many of our favorite Kannada songs are from Vishnuvardhan films – Neera Bittu (Hombisilu), Premada Kadambari (Bandhana), Devaru Hoseda (Muttina Haara ), Madikeri Sipayi (Muttina Haara), Hoovinda Hoovige.

    2. You write: Will our people ever learn to pay a peaceful silent homage when a Film Star or Politician dies ?

    We have to be grateful that this time there were no deaths in the violence.

  3. guruprasad.s   December 30, 2009 at 11:41 am

    A sad day for fans of Kannada movies. Actor Vishnuvardhan and composer-singer C.Aswath both are no more.

    Vishnuvardhan was perhaps the most popular and renowned actor in Kannada after Rajkumar.

    A non-controversial and apolitical guy (he did campaign for his friend ‘Jaleel’ Ambarish though), Vishnuvardhan had an untarnished image off screen.

    Bandhana has some evergreen songs, and Vishnu’s portrayal of a patient garnered him lot of appreciation.

    Do watch Muttina Haara when you can. A fine movie indeed.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Will watch Muttina Haara. Heard a lot about it.

  4. shadowfax_arbit   December 30, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    It is a sad thing. And I’m tempted to watch Naagarahaavu. Will watch soon.

    Apparently, during the last proceedings, the crowd went frenzy in some areas of Bangalore – burning of vehicles, stone pelting reported. I don’t understand the reason to go frenzy for someone’s natural death!!

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: I don’t understand the reason to go frenzy for someone’s natural death!!

    Must be all that pent-up frustration of the subaltern classes coming to the fore.

  5. Twig   December 31, 2009 at 8:06 am

    I’ve looked at the youtube videos of Nagarahaavu, they seemed to be good.Even the late actor Vishnuvardhan. Though I’ve managed to see Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam movies, I haven’t watched a single Kannada movie. Will start from this movie.

    On an other note, I haven’t quite understood why people use R.I.P when somebody dies.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You Write Above: I haven’t quite understood why people use R.I.P when somebody dies.

    We haven’t quite understood why people use Wiki. πŸ˜‰

  6. Twig   December 31, 2009 at 11:21 am

    @SI: “We havenÒ€ℒt quite understood why people use Wiki”

    ah! Don’t you think I haven’t asked Google God or Wiki god before posing the question to you? I got further confused because of the meaning less of the phrase “Rest In Peace “. I don’t want to use that because atleast I don’t believe in souls, Heaven, God and stuff.

    May be people who use that believe in souls and stuff.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: I don’t want to use that because atleast I don’t believe in souls, Heaven, God and stuff.

    Good, you don’t have the baggage of any sacred cows. πŸ˜‰

  7. Twig   December 31, 2009 at 11:23 am

    oh! Alright. May be it’s like saying, “Thank God! I’m an atheist”.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    If people were not pussies, charlatans or ignoramuses the world would be full of atheists.

  8. shuaib68   December 31, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Important Topic:
    ‘HAPPY NEW YEAR ‘ TO ALL AT SEARCHINDIA. Let us SearchHappiness from now on. May You Enjoy! the weekend with celebrations!!!

    WELCOME 2010

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    We wish you the same. πŸ™‚

  9. satya   December 31, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    R.I.P ‘Jaya Simha’ . The year ended on a sad note for kannada movie buffs.

  10. rakeshbaba   January 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    1.even if the movie and book is not good,how much similarity is there between 3 idiots movie and five point someone 2.which gives least torture?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    The crappy book is less torturous than the crappier movie.

    A lot similar including some verbatim lines like the one referring to kidneys.

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