Kannada News

Veteran Actor Jayanthi, Fondly Known as Abhinaya Sharadhe, Dies at 76

Jayanthi, the veteran South Indian actor who predominantly worked in Kannada and Tamil cinema, died on Monday at her residence in Bengaluru, her son Krishna Kumar told Bangalore Times.


She was 76.

Krishna Kumar said the actor was recovering from unspecified illnesses, but passed away in her sleep.

Born Kamala Kumari in Bellary, Karnataka, she adopted the stage name Jayanthi and went on to appear in over 500 films across various languages, including Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, and Marathi. She was fondly called ‘Abhinaya Sharadhe‘ by the Kannada industry.

Jayanthi won six Karnataka State Film Awards, four for Best Actress and two for Best Supporting Actress.

The actor, who made her debut in Kannada through Jenu Goodu (1963), went on to act in over 100 Kannada films. She co-starred with the legendary actor Rajkumar in over 30 films. Her first film with Rajkumar, Chandavalliya Thota (1964), was based on TR Subba Rao’s novel. It became a commercial success and won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Kannada.

Jayanthi was known for her non-conservative portrayal of women. One of her films, Miss Leelavathi (1965), featured her as a strong-headed career-oriented woman who stands against convention with her refusal to get married and carefree attitude towards premarital sex, all of which were considered taboo at the time. The film won a National Film Award.

Jayanthi was introduced to the Telugu film industry by NT Rama Rao and the duo appeared in successful films such as Jagadeka Veeruni Katha, Kula Gowravam, Kondaveeti Simham, and Justice Chowdhury.

In Tamil, she shared the screen space with top actors of the time, including MG Ramachandran, Gemini Ganeshan, and Jaishankar. She collaborated with filmmaker K Balachander on many of his films, including Edhir Neechal (1968), Iru Kodugal (1969), and Bama Vijayam (1967).

Condoling the demise of the actor, politician BS Yediyurappa wrote on Twitter, “The news of the death of renowned veteran artist, Abhinaya Sharade Jayanti, is very sad. Her contribution to the film industry is immense and this is an irreplaceable loss.”


Noting that she has appeared in over 500 films in Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi and calling her the ‘pride’ of Kannada people, politician HD Kumaraswamy mourned Jayanthi’s death and prayed for the well-being of her family.

Kannada actor Darshan Thoogudeepa also shared his condolences on Twitter. Calling her a ‘multilingual actress’, he wrote, “Her contribution to Indian cinema is immense.”

Kannada film producer Ramu Malashree, while sharing a few pictures of herself with the late actor, called her a “unique and special person.”