Movies

Veteran multilingual actor Jayanthi passes away at 76

Actor Jayanthi  

Veteran multilingual actor Jayanthi, 76, passed away at her residence in Bengaluru on Monday morning. She was ailing for some time with age-related issues. She is survived by a son.

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Born as Kamala Kumari in Ballari on January 6, 1945, she was groomed by her mother Santanalakshmi to become a classical dancer from a very young age, for which she shifted to Chennai, then Madras. But it was movies that became her calling.

Small roles as a teenager

As a student at a dance school, the teenage girl acted in small roles with other girls, including Tamil veteran actor Manorama who was her batchmate. Spotted by filmmaker Y.R. Swamy, she debuted in Kannada cinema with the screen name he gave her — Jayanthi. Jenu Goodu in 1963 was her first film and she never looked back.

Her second film Chandavalliya Thota opposite Dr. Rajkumar was a huge hit and she also won a national award for it. She started acting in both Tamil and Telugu films.

She has acted in more than 500 films in five languages — Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi. She was paired onscreen in several films with matinee idol Dr. Rajkumar in Kannada and did the most number of movies with him. She acted with N. T. Rama Rao in Telugu and Gemini Ganesan in Tamil. She also had long collaborations with important filmmakers of the time — Puttanna Kanagal in Kannada and K. Balachander in Tamil. However, all awards for her performance were for her work in Kannada films — four times best actor, twice best supporting actor and two Filmfare awards for best actor. A critically acclaimed actor she was called ‘Abhinaya Sharade’ by Kannada film connoisseurs.

Glam avatar

What cemented her place in the Kannada film pantheon as a star was the 1965 film Miss Leelavathi, where she was introduced in a glamorous avatar. It was in this film that a Kannada actor first wore a swimsuit on screen. The film, much discussed for its bold portrayal of women's sexuality, won a national award and remains a cult classic even today.

Nearly a decade later, she essayed a similar role in Eda Kallu Guddada Mele in 1973, for which she won her first State award for best actor. Later years, she graduated to essaying supporting roles across films in four languages, and also in a few tele-serials.

Troubled life

Jayanthi often spoke of how stardom did not come easy to her. She was often derided for being ‘overweight’ and this gave her a complex. Jayanthi had a turbulent personal life too. She was married to Telugu actor and filmmaker Peketi Shivaram, but the couple soon separated. Jayanthi suffered from asthma for over 35 years and often developed respiratory issues and had serious bouts of illnesses in 2018 and earlier this year.

Yediyurappa’s condolence

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa (2nd from right) presenting an award to actor Jayanthi during the Vishwa Kannadigara Jagruthi Samavesha at Palace Grounds in Bengaluru on January 18, 2009.

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa (2nd from right) presenting an award to actor Jayanthi during the Vishwa Kannadigara Jagruthi Samavesha at Palace Grounds in Bengaluru on January 18, 2009.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

 

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa condoled her death and described Jayanthi as an actor who could take on wide-ranging roles with ease. Many from the Kannada film industry have mourned her passing away.

 

Chandrasekar and Jayanthi in 'Villakkappatta Kani'.

Chandrasekar and Jayanthi in 'Villakkappatta Kani'.  

 

Krishnamraju and Jayanthi in 'Chinnanati Kalalu'.

Krishnamraju and Jayanthi in 'Chinnanati Kalalu'.  

Jayanthi and Satyanarayana in 'Amma Manasu' (Telugu).

Jayanthi and Satyanarayana in 'Amma Manasu' (Telugu).  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actors Ashwath and Jayanthi being felicitated by Bellideepa Association in Bengaluru on April 23, 2007.

Actors Ashwath and Jayanthi being felicitated by Bellideepa Association in Bengaluru on April 23, 2007.   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K.

Actor Shivaraj Kumar receiving an award from Jayanthi at the ETV Vatika film award ceremony, in Bengaluru on March 26, 2006.

Actor Shivaraj Kumar receiving an award from Jayanthi at the ETV Vatika film award ceremony, in Bengaluru on March 26, 2006.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

 

 

Jayanthi with colleagues Shailashree, Chandoodileela and Jayamala at the launch of Kannada Chalanachitra Academy at Banquet Hall in Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on June 6, 2009.

Jayanthi with colleagues Shailashree, Chandoodileela and Jayamala at the launch of Kannada Chalanachitra Academy at Banquet Hall in Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on June 6, 2009.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Actors B. Saroja Devi, Srinath and Jayanthi at a concert to raise funds for the first ever T20 World Cup Cricket for visually impaired persons, organised by Samarthanam Trust at Palace Grounds in Bengaluru on August 25, 2012.

Actors B. Saroja Devi, Srinath and Jayanthi at a concert to raise funds for the first ever T20 World Cup Cricket for visually impaired persons, organised by Samarthanam Trust at Palace Grounds in Bengaluru on August 25, 2012.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Jayanthi (centre) with Parvathi Rajkumar (right) at a meeting of film artists in Bengaluru on September 12, 2004.

Jayanthi (centre) with Parvathi Rajkumar (right) at a meeting of film artists in Bengaluru on September 12, 2004.   | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

 

Jayanthi with actor Ravichandran at a meeting of Kannada film artists in Bengaluru on September 12, 2004.

Jayanthi with actor Ravichandran at a meeting of Kannada film artists in Bengaluru on September 12, 2004.   | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

Jayanthi (centre) with her colleagues from the Kannada film industry at a felicitation in Bengaluru in September 24, 2008.

Jayanthi (centre) with her colleagues from the Kannada film industry at a felicitation in Bengaluru in September 24, 2008.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

 


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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 8:27:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/veteran-multilingual-actor-jayanthi-passes-away-at-76/article35532812.ece

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