Veteran actor Jayanthi, a known name in south Indian films, passed away due to ill health on Monday night. She was 76, and leaves behind her son, Krishna Kumar. Popularly known as Abhinaya Sharadhe, (Goddess Sharadhe of acting), the actor, was born as Kamala Kumari in Ballari to Balasubramanyam and Santhanalakshmi.
The actor, who began her career with the Telugu film, Mangalya, made her Kannada debut with Jenu Goodu in 1963. She was known for her bold roles in films like Bettada Huli, Miss Leelavathi, Chandavalliya Thota, and Bahaddur Gandu.
Having acted in more than 500 films in different languages, the stalwart in Kannada cinema has worked with top stars of Sandalwood. She was the only actor who got to act alongside the legendary Dr Rajkumar in over 40 films from 1964 to 1976. She proved her acting brilliance in films like Tumbida Koda, Manasiddare Marga, Pratigne, Mantralaya Mahatma, Lagna Patrike, Chakrathirtha, Jedara Bale, Rowdy Ranganna, Immadi Pulakeshi, CID Rajanna, Sri Krishna, Paropakaari, Devaraya, and Kasthuri Nivasa. But her performance as Onnake Obbava in Vishnuvardhan’s Nagarahaavu remains iconic.
She is equally remembered for her character in Eddakallu Guddada Mele. The actor has also worked with other top actors like Kalyan Kumar, Vishnuvardhan, and Srinath, among other lead actors, and has churned out classic cults with filmmakers like Puttanna Kanagal and Dorai-Bhagavan.
Jayanthi has also worked in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi, and Marathi languages. She was frequently paired opposite Gemini Ganesan. In Tamil, she acted with all major stars including MG Ramachandran, Muhuraman, Nagesh and Jaishankar. Jayanthi was part of an English show — Brown Nation (2016) and was part of a Tele serial — Vasantham (2009-2010).
The actor has won six State awards for Best actress for Edakallu Guddada Mele, Manasinanthe Malgalya, Dharma Dari Tappithu, and Masanada Hoovu, and best supporting actor for her role in Anand and Tuvvi Tuvvi Tuvvi. She was bestowed with Dr Rajkumar Lifetime Achievement Award during 2005-2006, besides Dr Rajkumar Souharda award and Kannada Rajyotsava award. Dr Jayanthi has also ventured in production and direction. She helmed and produced films like Vijay in 1982 and En Swamy Aliyandre in 1989. Sandalwood film fraternity mourned the demise of the irreplaceable talent, Jayanthi, who always considered herself to be part of one big family, the film industry.