Veteran Kannada filmmaker and script writer D Rajendra Babu, who was known for his sentimental films Halunda Thavaru, Karulina Koogu and Jeevanadi, died of cardiac arrest at a private hospital in the city on Sunday. He was 62.
He is survived by his actor-wife Sumithra and daughters, Umashankari and Nakshatra, both actors.
He was honoured with the Puttanna Kanagal award by the State government for his contribution to Kannada films last year.
Babu, who had worked as an associate with well-known film directors Rajendra Singh Babu, V Somashekhar and K S R Das started of as an independent director with the film Jiddu.
In his career spanning nearly three decades, he had directed more than 50 films. He had worked with actors Ravichandran, Vishnuvardhan, Upendra, Ambareesh, Shivarajkumar, Puneeth, Sithara, Sonali Bendre, Lakshmi, Khushboo and Malashree. He had directed a number of remakes including Ramachari, Preethse, Annaiah, Yare Neenu Cheluve, Yuga Purusha, Diggajaru, Swathi Muthu and Bindaas.
He had also directed a film on encounter specialist Daya Nayak (Encounter Dayanayak).
His two films — Aryan starring Shivarajkumar and Ramya and Kuchiku Kuchikku, which has his daughter Nakshatra in one of the lead roles — are yet to be completed.
Apart from Kannada, Babu had directed a Malayalam film, Rekthabhishekam, and a Hindi film, Pyaar Karke Dekho, in 1987.
According to his daughter, Nakshatra, Babu was suffering from low sugar and was ill for sometime.
Many actors and directors said that Babu’s death was unexpected and a great loss for Sandalwood.
Ramya tweeted, “Really saddened. D Rajendra Babu sir was such a nice person. Spoke to him a while ago, he was supportive of my new responsibility (as an MP).”
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Information Minister Santhosh Lad and others have condoled his death.
In a press release, the Chief Minister said, “Through his innovative and creative work, D Rajendra Babu has carved out an immortal space in the Kannada cinema world by directing many path-breaking films.”
In his condolence message, Lad said, “With the demise of Rajendra Babu, the world of Kannada cinema has suffered an irreparable loss.”
Former CM and KJP President B S Yeddyurappa has also mourned the death of Babu.