Kannada News

Kannada Actor Rajesh fondly known as ‘Kala Thapaswi’ Dies at 89

Veteran Kannada actor Rajesh who predominantly worked in the Kannada film industry, died on Saturday, the Times of India has reported. Popularly known as ‘Kala Thapaswi’, Rajesh had acted in over 150 films.


He was 89.

The actor was suffering from breathing complications and age-related illness. According to the TOI report, Rajesh was initially admitted to a hospital in Bangalore, on February 9. He was put on ventilator after he had stopped responding to the treatment.

Born in Bangalore, on April 15, 1932, as Munichowappa, the actor later took up his stage name, Rajesh.

He was a theatre enthusiast from an early age and joined the theatre troupe Sudarshana Nataka Mandali. He had said that he grew up watching films of Thyagaraja Bhagavathar, Rajakumari BU, PU Chinnappa, TR Mahalingam, and Shivakavi. He had also said that his parents were unaware of his participation in theatre, and admitted to have attended the classes in the pretext of going to tuitions.

After his education, he worked as a typist and set up his own drama troupe Shakti Nataka Mandali. While he began with writing and directing plays, he later progressed to acting in films. It was veteran director Hunsur Krishnamurthy who gave him an acting break in the 1964 film Veera Sankalpa.

However, the turning point in his career came in 1968, with the film Namma Oru. At a time when Kannada film industry had Udaykumar, Rajkumar, and Kalyan Kumar at their peak, Rajesh went on to appear in successful films like Sri Ramanjaneya Yuddha, Bhalle Basava, and Devara Makkalu, to name a few.

In 2014, his autobiography Kala Thapasvi Rajesh Atmakathe was released and the Kannada Sahitya Parishat honoured him with Dr Rajkumar Cultural Endowment Award.

Politicians paid their tributes to the actor.


Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai took to Twitter and wrote, “The death of Sri Rajesh, the veteran actor of Kannada cinema, is very painful. I pray to the Lord to grant him the strength of his family to give them the peace of the soul of the lost elder.”

Former CM Siddaramaiah wrote on Twitter, “The death of veteran Kannada actor Rajesh is shocking. Rajesh, who has been my friend for a long time, is born with talent and own perseverance Growing up, all of us were amused. I am just as sad as their family members. I wish peace to his lost soul.”