M. V. Rajamma

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M. V. Rajamma
Rajamma in the 1940s
Born(1918-03-10)10 March 1918
Akandanahalli, Kingdom of Mysore
Died23 April 1999(1999-04-23) (aged 81) [1]
Chennai, India
OccupationActress, film producer, playback singer
Years active1934–1985
SpouseM. C. Veerappa
ParentSubbamma & Nanjappa

M. V. Rajamma (10 March 1918 – 23 April 1999) was an Indian actress, producer and playback singer of films mostly in Kannada, Tamil and Telugu languages from the 1930s through 1970s. She has the distinction of having acted as both heroine and mother to stalwart South Indian actors such as Dr. Rajkumar, Sivaji Ganesan, MGR and NTR. [2] Karnataka Government established M. V. Rajamma Award in her honor. [3]


Making her debut as a lead actress in the 1936 released Samsara Nauka Rajamma enjoyed an elaborate career in feature films across South India. She was the first and foremost woman producer in South India and in Kannada films. [4] She produced the film Radha Ramana in 1943 under her own home banner Vijaya Films. [5] Her entry to the Tamil films was through the 1940 classic hit film Uthama Puthiran . She went on to star in about 60 Kannada, 80 Tamil, 20 Telugu and one Hindi films in her career spanning around four decades.

Early life

Rajamma was born in 1921 at Agandanahalli, a village in today's Bangalore Urban district, hitherto a part of Kingdom of Mysore. Her father Nanjappa, a merchant, was fond of stage and encouraged her to act. Rajamma joined the theatre group Chandrakala Nataka Mandali as a teenager and performed in plays alongside B. R. Panthulu, who she would go on to collaborate frequently on stage and in films. [6] She did her schooling at the Arya Balika school in Bangalore till the 8th grade. She later shifted base to Chennai for doing films. [7]


In the early 1930s, Rajamma was attracted to the stage theatre and entered the field at a time when male actors disguised themselves to play female characters. Rajamma enacted several inspiring roles in dramas such as Samsara Nauke, Gauthama Buddha and Subhadra. In 1935, when one of her stage plays Samsara Nauke was made into a film, she was cast again as the lead actress opposite to Panthulu. They went on to work together in many films for about 20 years. In 1940, she entered Tamil film industry in Chennai with the film Uthama Puthiran . From then on, she became one of the most sought after actresses across all the South Indian film industries. After her marriage, she concentrated mainly on playing motherly roles to the actors whom she had paired as a heroine earlier.

In 1943, Rajamma took her career to another level by producing the Kannada film Radha Ramana directed by Jyothish Sinha that featured herself opposite B. R. Panthulu in the lead. Acclaimed artists such as Balakrishna and G. V. Iyer were introduced through this film. It went on to perform well at the box-office which resulted in her second production venture Makkala Rajya (1960). Though the film was lauded by the critics, the box-office collections soared which made her back off from film production for a long while. However, she went on to star in many box-office blockbusters in both Kannada and Tamil film industries.

Some of the most popular Kannada films featuring Rajamma as a lead actress were Bhakta Prahalada (1942), Rathnagiri Rahasya (1957), School Master (1958), Abba Aa Hudugi (1959) among others.


Selected filmography

1935 Samsara Nauka Kannada Debut as actor
1938 Yayathi Tamil Devayani (heroine)
1940 Uthama Puthiran Tamil
1941Gumasthavin PennTamil
1941 Madanakamarajan Tamil
1942Anantha SayanamTamil
1942 Bhakta Prahlada Telugu
1943 Radha Ramana Kannada
1946Artha NaariTamil
1947 Yogi Vemana Telugu
1948 Gnana Soundari Tamil
1949 Velaikaari Tamil
1949Laila MajnuTamil
1950 Parijatham Tamil
1950Raja VikramaTamil
1952 Thai Ullam Tamil
1952 Penn Manam Tamil
1952 Zamindar Tamil
1954 Karkottai Tamil
1954Iddaru PellaluTelugu
1955Modala ThediKannada
1957 Thangamalai Ragasiyam Tamil
1957 Rathnagiri Rahasya Kannada
1957 Manalane Mangayin Bhagyam Tamil
1958 School Master Kannada
1958 Engal Kudumbam Perisu Tamil
1958 Illarame Nallaram Tamil
1959 Bhaaga Pirivinai Tamil
1959Abba Aa HudugiKannada
1960 Kuzhandaigal Kanda Kudiyarasu Tamil
1960 Makkala Rajya Kannada
1961 Thayilla Pillai Tamil
1961 Pava Mannippu Tamil
1962 Padithaal Mattum Podhuma Tamil
1962 Aadi Perukku Tamil
1962 Kudumba Thalaivan Tamil
1962Thayiya KaruluKannada
1962 Deivathin Deivam Tamil
1962 Gaali Gopura Kannada
1962Gaali MedaluKannada
1962 Bandha Pasam Tamil
1962 Paadha Kaanikkai Tamil
1963 Panathottam Tamil
1963 Dharmam Thalai Kaakkum Tamil
1963Sathi ShaktiKannada
1963 Kungumam Tamil
1964Chinnada GombeKannada
1964 Pasamum Nesamum Tamil
1964 Vazkai Vazhvatharke Tamil
1964 Karnan Tamil
1964 Muradan Muthu Tamil
1965Thayin KarunaiTamil
1965 Vaazhkai Padagu Tamil
1966Enga PaapaTamil
1966Yemme ThammannaKannada
1970 Sri Krishnadevaraya KannadaKamala, Mahamantri Timmarusu's wife
1970 Thedi Vandha Mappillai Tamil
1971 Thayi Devaru Kannada
1971Maalathi MadhavaKannada
1972 Jaga Mecchida Maga Kannada
1972Ondu Hennina KatheKannada
1972 Badi Panthulu Telugu
1973Bangarada PanjaraKannada
1974 Sampathige Savaal Kannada
1975 Daari Tappida Maga Kannada
1976 Besuge Kannada

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