Unlike Hollywood or the modern day Bollywood, Southern film industries have had a tradition of designated actors to crack up people. They are the Comedians. Most of the films in the south are dominated by these actors and there are stories of producers giving top priority for the comedians over the so-called stars. In this piece, let us look at the comedians of KFI who once had ruled in people’s heart.
Who can possibly forget that performance of his in Duniya? An actor of the utmost caliber, Rangayana Raghu has played some of the most wonderful characters written in Kannada Cinema of the last decade. Over 250 films to his credit, he is widely recognized for his performances in Duniya, Gaalipata, Junglee, and Ram. A two-time state awardee, Rangayana Raghu is missed at the cinemas.
One of the most popular faces in the history of Kannada Cinema, Doddanna was a part of every other film in the 90s and the early 2000s. He not only made people laugh but also forced them to shed some tears through some of his roles. As his career moved forward, he began to be more of a character actor but comedy was always an inherent part of his art. Though he is still around, he isn’t the Doddanna we cherished to watch on screen.
Honnasandra Narasimhiah Chandrashekhar, known popularly as Mukhyamantri Chandru has been in the industry for over four decades and has been a part of over 500 films. A popular face in the theatre, Chandru performed a play called Mukhyamantri based on a book which eventually earned him the name Mukhymantri Chandru. He is noted for his roles in films like Ganesha Subramanya, Golmaal Radhakrishna, and Gauri Ganesha.
A modern-day master and the one who kept slapstick comedy alive, Tennis Krishna has acted over 600 films. He was a tennis coach before he took up acting as a full-time profession and hence the name Tennis Krishna. He has a record of acting in 100 movies with the actress Rekha Das. Like Doddanna, the Kannada Film Industry have forgotten about him.
Another popular face from the theatre caused huge waves in Kannada cinema in the form of Bank Janardhan. His performance as a stingy father in Tharle Nan Maga and the short-tempered inspector from Shh is unforgettable. He was last seen in the Puneeth starrer Power playing a small role.
When the comedy fraternity was mostly dominated by the men, Rekha Das was one of the few women who were successful in making a place for themselves. Having acted in over 600 films and that unique record she shares with Tennis Krishna, Rekha Das’ contribution is not to forget.
Every kid growing up in the 2000s remember him as Doctor Vittal Rao from the sitcom Silly Lalli. Since he moved from television to films, he has become a sort of invisible. His slapstick nature of delivering punch dialogues, the modulation of his voice and the sheer comic timing has been wasted in every film he has been a part of.
Can you forget the iconic “Apartha Madkondbitro eno” dialogue from the film Golmaal Radhakrishna? It is perhaps one of the funniest characters ever written in the Kannada Film Industry. MS Umesh since then has become a household name in the state. With over 350 feature films to his name, it would be not fair to not talk about him when we are at the topic of Comedy in Kannada Cinema.
Probably the greatest female comedic actor Kannada Industry has seen, Umashree is yet another actor who came from the theatre background. She acted in a film called Bangarada Jinke which typecast her into comedic roles. Her iconic role of Muniyamma in Kothigalu saar kothigalu is unforgettable.
He is yet another actor who is around but is lost. Once upon a time, he literally ruled the space and now we barely see him. The last notable thing we saw him in was the second season of Big Boss. Within a career spanning over a decade, he has acted in over 325 films which is a huge feat. It is always sad to witness a person who ruled once and is irrelevant now.
These actors are still around but aren’t doing as much work as they did before. Is it because they have moved on or is it the filmmakers who aren’t utilizing them? What do you think?