Dwarakish-Vishnuvardhan: A Kalla-Kulla combination that did wonders at box office

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M.N. Lakshmidevi (left) and Dwarakish at the State Film Awards 2006-07 ceremony in Bengaluru.

M.N. Lakshmidevi (left) and Dwarakish at the State Film Awards 2006-07 ceremony in Bengaluru.
| Photo Credit: File photo

Dwarakish at the condolence meeting held for late actor Vishnuvardhan at Palace Ground in Bengaluru in January 2010.

Dwarakish at the condolence meeting held for late actor Vishnuvardhan at Palace Ground in Bengaluru in January 2010.
| Photo Credit:
File photo

Actor-producer Dwarakish and superstar Vishnuvardhan forged a combination that gave some of the biggest hits of Kannada cinema between 1970 and 1980. Dwarakish never played second fiddle to Vishnuvardhan but an equally important role in successful movies such as Kalla Kulla (1975), Kittu Puttu (1977), Singaporenalli Raja Kulla (1978), Guru Shishyaru (1981), and Prachanda Kulla (1984). 

“The entertainment value of these films was unmatched. During his prime, Dwarakish was a smart producer and knew the pulse of the audiences,” says K. Puttaswamy, historian and author.

Hit songs

Harish Mallya, consulting curator for Bengaluru International Film Festival, says Dwarakish was a household name in the 80s. “His humour, a combination of his expression and energy, was a great draw. Dwarakish’s films with Vishnuvardhan were known for hit songs (Aaadu Aata Aaadu – sung by Kishore Kumar, Nenne Nennege, Doddavaralla Jaanaralla). Also, back then, Guru Shishyaru was screened in several schools.

Apthamitra (2004) was one of the mother-of-all comeback stories in the Kannada film industry. The combination reunited after 11 years to give one of the biggest hits of Kannada cinema. “The film rebuilt the faith in Kannada cinema for many film buffs like me, who had lost hope in the industry after the Shankar Nag era,” says Mallya. The film ran for over a year.

Loss to industry

Before the reunion, the fallout between the two was a huge loss to the industry. “Dwarakish worked with newcomers such as Vinod Raj (Dance Raja Dance), Shruti (Shruthi), and Muddina Maava (1983) with little success,” says senior film writer and author S. Shyam Prasad.

Even after Apthamitra, the Dwarakish-Vishnuvardhan friendship never really revived. Dwarakish even faced a legal battle when Vishnuvardhan’s family opposed the title of his film Vishnuvardhana, starring Sudeep.

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