Veteran Kannada actress Jayanthi passes away
JayanthiIANS (File photo)

Veteran Kannada actress Jayanthi passes away

Bengaluru, July 26, 2021

Yesteryear's famous Kannada actress Jayanthi, who had also acted in Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil and Marathi movies, died in her sleep on Monday, said family members. She was 76.

The veteran actress' son Krishna Kumar confirmed the news to reporters that she was recovering from prolonged illnesses but finally lost the battle.

Jayanthi leaves behind an enviable body of work across Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi films. She was known to be extremely gregarious with her peers, colleagues and industry juniors during their meetings and always used to be the one person that used to cheer everyone up.

Jayanthi has won the Karnataka State Film Awards seven times and the Filmfare Awards twice. She has also won several other awards. She has shared screen space with the topmost stars of her era and then went on to work with youngsters too and always lit up the screen with her acting.

Jayanthi, born as Kamala Kumari on January 6, 1945, in Ballari is known for bold movies of her times. She is credited to have been the first Kannada actress of her time to wear a "swimsuit" on screen.

Jayanthi acted in over 500 movies across languages such as Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Marathi and shared screen space with legendary actors like M. G. Ramachandran (MGR) of Tamil movies, N.T. Rama Rao of Telugu movies, and co-starred in more than 35 movies with Dr Raj Kumar, the doyen of Kannada cinema.

In Tamil, she was frequently paired opposite Gemini Ganesan and acted with all major stars including Muhuraman and Jaishankar of her times.

Owing to her expansive body of work, the Kannada film industry honoured her the title, "Abhinaya Sharadhe" (The goddess of acting).

In 1965, Jayanthi, was also credited with introducing a new fashion trend wearing skirts, T-shirts and nighties in her movies, which was considered to be the trend setter of her times. She also took a stand on behalf of women on premarital sex and extramarital affairs in the roles she portrayed.

"Miss Leelavathi", in which she played the title role, is considered "bold" for her time when conservative cinema was the trend. 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 woman and with a carefree attitude towards premarital sex.

Even though she has acted in the most glamorous roles of her times, her cameo role depicting legend Onake Obavva, will always remain afresh in her fans' memory as it takes all Kannada cinegoers back to their childhood days.


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