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Sadananda Sagar

(1944-05-11)11 May 1944
Died5 January 2006(2006-01-05) (aged 61)
Bangalore, India
(m. 1967)
Children3 [2]

Sadananda Sagar (11 May 1944 – 5 January 2006), better known by his stage name Vajramuni, was an Indian actor who appeared in Kannada films. [3] [4] He portrayed negative characters during most of his career and was considered one of Kannada cinema's finest actors. [5] Over his career, he came to be known for his "thundering voice and sterling performance[s]" that earned him the epithets, Nata Bhairava and Nata Bhayankara. [6]


Vajramuni began his career as a stage actor and gained popularity with his portrayal of Ravana in Kanagal Prabhakar Shastri's play Prachanda Ravana. He made his film debut in 1969 with Puttanna Kanagal's Mallammana Pavada . His pairing with Rajkumar, with the latter as the lead, in the 1970s came to be widely appreciated, with films such as Sipayi Ramu (1972), Sampathige Savaal (1974), Premada Kanike (1976), Bahaddur Gandu (1976), Giri Kanye (1977) and Shankar Guru (1978). [6] Recognizing his contribution to Kannada cinema, he was awarded the Lifetime Contribution to Kannada Cinema Award in 2006.

Early life

Vajramuni was born as Sadananda Sagar on 11 May 1944 in the Kanakanapalya, a locality in the Jayanagar neighbourhood of Bangalore, into a Vokkaliga family. He was named after the Hindu deity Vajramuneshwara, that members of his family were devotees of. [7] They belonged to the cattle-rearing Hallikar community. [8] Vajramuni's ancestors were given land grants and made custodians of the village of Anjanapura (in present-day Bangalore Urban district) by the then Maharaja of Mysore, and the family had settled there since. [9] Vajramuni was the eldest of seven children. [1] His father R. Vajrappa (d. 1986) was a politician and served as a corporator in Bangalore for four terms between 1958 and 1968. [8] Politician and educationist Dayananda Sagar (1922–1982) [10] was his uncle. [11]


Vajramuni was a college dropout and held a degree in cinematography. A product of the Kannada amateur theatre, he performed regularly in the mid-1960s for Gubbi Veeranna's theatre company among others. He impressed Puttanna Kanagal with his performance as Ravana in Kanagal Prabhakar Shastri's play Prachanda Ravana who offered Vajramuni a role in the film Saavira Mettilu. The film however got shelved, but was completed by K. S. L. Swamy and released in 2006. Kanagal eventually cast him in Mallammana Pavada (1969), which would become Vajramuni's first release. Producers insisted that Udaykumar would be a better choice to match to Shivaji Ganeshan who played the role in the Tamil version, but Puttanna insisted that it had to be Vajramuni. He went on to cast Vajramuni again in Gejje Pooje (1969). Impressed by his performances in these two films, director S. Siddalingaiah cast him in his 1971 film, Thayi Devaru . [12]

Vajramuni acted in a number of films such as Mayura , Sampathige Saval , Daari Tappida Maga , Premada Kanike , Giri Kanye , Shankar Guru and Aakasmika with Rajkumar. [13]

Personal life

Vajramuni was married to Lakshmi, daughter of a family friend, on 28 May 1967. During the time, he worked as a caretaker of the family's sawmill while also performing on stage. They had three sons together. [1]

Vajramuni's health condition worsened starting 1998 when he began suffering from kidney-related illness. Deteriorating health due multiple diseases including chronic diabetes led to his death at 5:30 a.m. (IST) on 5 January 2006, at a private hospital in Bangalore. [5] [14] His grandson is a child actor and has appeared in the television series, Uge Uge Maadeshwara. [9]

Partial filmography


Karnataka State Film Awards

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