Vishnuvardhan (1950-2009) is a Kannada Actor, Singer known for the movies Sirivantha(2006), Suryavamsha(1999), Kotreshi Kanasu(1995)

TitlesSahasa Simha,Abhinava Bhargava
Other NamesSampath Kumar, Dr Vishnuvardhan,
Date Of Birth18 September 1950
Age(Age at Death: 59 years 3 months 12 days)
Place Of BirthMysore, Karnataka
Date Of Death30 December 2009
Place Of DeathMysore, Karnataka
SistersPoornima , Rama Ramachandra(Kathak dancer) , Indrani , Jayshree
Son In-LawAniruddh(Actor)
FatherH. L. Narayanan Rao(artist, music composer and a scriptwriter)
Education (High School)Kannada Model High School, Bangalore
Education (Graduation)National College, Basavanagudi, Bangalore
Debut MoviesVamshavruksha (1972) , Naagarahaavu(as a lead actor)
WifeBharathi Vishnuvardhan(actress)
DaughtersKeerthi Vishnuvardhan , Chandana Vishnuvardhan
Favorite ActressesHelen(Bollywood) , Sharmila Tagore(Bollywood) , Marilyn Monroe(Hollywood) , Maushmi Chatterjee(Bollywood)
Favorite ColorWhite
EducationGopalswamy School, Mysore
Wiki Page
Height5feet 8 inches (1.73 m)
BrotherN Ravikumar(Elder)
Favorite CarSports Car
Favorite ActorsRajkumar (Hindi),Shammi Kapoor,Dilip Kumar(Bollywood) , Arnold Schwarzenegger(Hollywood)
Favorite DirectorPuttanna Kanagal, William Wyler
HobbyHorse riding, Singing, Music
Favorite SportsCricket, Tennis


Vishnuvardhan was a prominent Indian film actor. He was called The Phoenix of Indian Cinema. He has acted in over 220 films including 200 Kannada, five Hindi, five Telugu, nine Malayalam and three Tamil films.

Childhood, Family, Personal Life

Sampath Kumar, popularly known as Vishnuvardhan (stage name) was born on Monday, 18 September 1950 in Mysore, Karnataka to H L Narayana Rao (Father) and Kamakshamma (Mother), a Brahmin couple who lived in Chamundipuram, Mysore.

Vishnuvardhan childhood photo
Vishnuvardhan childhood photo

Vishnuvardhan's father H L Narayana Rao's ancestors came from Hallegere, Mandya, Karnataka. He was involved with creative arts himself, he had contributed with his writing to movies like Naagaarjuna(1961), Vidhi Vilasa(1962), Shri Dharmasthala Mahatme(1962).

Vishnuvardhan has a sister named Rama, who is a renowned Kathak dancer, and has performed in prestigious places like Mysore Palace.

Marriage: Vishnuvardhan married Bharati, on 17 February 1975 in Bangalore. She was a sensation by that time and his co-star in movies like Bhagya Jyothi, Devara Gudi, Anna Attige, Mane Belagida Sose among others. They have two daughters Keerthi Vishnuvardhan and Chandana Vishnuvardhan. keerthi-vishnuvardhan is involved with films as well, she is married to actor Anirudh.

Vishnuvardhan with wife Bharathi vishnuvardhan
Vishnuvardhan with wife Bharathi vishnuvardhan

Vishnuvardhan with wife Bharathi vishnuvardhan
Vishnuvardhan with wife Bharathi vishnuvardhan

vishnuvardhan family: with mother, wife bharathi vishnuvardhan, daughters keerthi & chandana
Vishnuvardhan family: Mother Kamakshamma, wife Bharathi vishnuvardhan, Daughters Chandana & Keerthi

Friendship with Ambareesh & Rajendra Singh Babu: Rajendra Singh Babu, another Mysorean & Vishnuvardhan were close friends. Ambareesh & Vishnuvardhan became close friends very soon after their introduction. Ambareesh & Vishnuvardhan acted together in Vishnuvardhan's debut movie "Nagara Haavu".

Babu once said in a interview that Vishnuvardhan was so attached to both (himself & Ambareesh) of them that he took them to Chennai for his honeymoon. Ambareesh & Vishnuvardhan are remembered as "Kuchukus" (best friends) of Kannada film industry.

Vishnuvardhan With Ambareesh
Vishnuvardhan With Ambareesh

Rajendra Singh Babu wrote "Nenapina Mutthina Haara", a biographical book on him after his death.


  • Primary School: Gopalswamy School, Mysore.
  • High School: Kannada Model High School, Bangalore.
  • College: National College, Basavanagudi, Bangalore.
  • Graduation: National College, Basavanagudi, Bangalore.

Death: Vishnuvardhan suffered massive heart attack on 30 December 2009 in the hotel he was staying, he did not survive it though was admitted to Vikram Hospital. Funeral was held at Abhiman Studio, Uttarahalli, Bangalore attended by millions of heart broken fans. Vishnuvardhan's elder brother Lit the fire.

The sudden death caused too much chaos around the city, At least 10 people were injured, 78 BMTC buses damaged, media vehicles & police van torched.

Film Career

Vishnuvardhan made his debut in a small role in Vamsha Vruksha(1971), A 1972 Kannada Drama movie directed by Girish Karnad & B V Karanth based on the story by S. L. Bhyrappa.

However his first film in the lead role was Naagarahaavu(1972), a mega block buster of the year and one of the revolutionary films of Kannada film industry till day. It was directed by legendary director S R Puttanna Kanagalstarring AarathiK S AshwathM LeelavathiAmbareeshS Shivaram.

As a  writer: Vishnuvardhan had tried writing scripts for couple of movies like Lion Jagapathi Rao & Ganesha I Love Youboth are solid in script & appreciated for the writing.

TV appearance: He appeared in Shankar Nag directed TV serial "Malgudi Days" as Venkat Rao. The serial was aired on DD National and was published country wide.

VishnuVardhan the Philonthropist

  • Sneha Loka: He started an  organization named "Sneha Loka" to help people in natural calamities & disasters.
  • Conducted padayatra:He went on padayatra to help flood affected people of North Karnataka.
  • Adoption of Melukote Village: With his wife Bharati he adopted Melukote town, a religious place in  Mandya, he constructed bore wells.
  • Charity through Hospitals: Many beneficiaries came in the open and spoke on receiving money from Vishnuvardhan during their ailments. He was a closet philanthropist, he did not want the name but wanted to help suffering people. He was a brand ambassador to the Vikram Hospital, Mysore & paid for the expenses of many financially weak people suffering from heart problems. 
  • Walkathon for Cancer awareness: He participated with Syed Kirmani and Shivram to raise awareness about cancer.
  • Environment Awareness programs

Vishnuvardhan: Photos, Pictures

(All Vishnuvardhan Photos)
Dr rajkumar and vishnuvardhan together on dr raj's birthday
Dr rajkumar and vishnuvardhan together on dr raj's birthday
Rajkumar and vishnuvardhan
Rajkumar and vishnuvardhan
Rajkumar, vishnuvardhan and ambareesh
Rajkumar, vishnuvardhan and ambareesh
Rajkumar and vishnuvardhan
Rajkumar and vishnuvardhan

Interesting Facts and Trivia

[Top ⇑]
  1. He was one of the six children to his parents.
  2. He is considered moody by some people, to which Vishnuvardhan says "All creative people are moody to some extent when they are involved in deep inner thoughts"
  3. He was very naughty boy in childhood, he says it helped him in his career later.
  4. Sir. Vivian Richards is his favorite cricketer
  5. In 2008, he was selected as the most popular Kannada actor alive in a poll conducted by the CNN-IBN
  6. Vishnuvardhan considers Nagara Haavu as his best & most successful film ever.
  7. Ramanand Nityanand, a Bank Employee & Vishnuvardhan's partner in VishnuPriya Combines is one of his best friends.
  8. He was close to his grandchildren.
  9. S P Balasubramanyam sang frequently for Vishnuvardhan, they both had become so close that Vishnuvardhan would insist on having SPB sing for him
  10. Hindi actor Rajkumar is his favorite, he imitates him very good. His dialogue delivery & voice modulations were what impressed Vishnu Sir.
  11. Vishnuvardhan was also a cricket player in his teens, he wanted to be a professional
  12. Vishnuvardhan has appeared in over 220 films in languages including Kannada, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam
  13. Vishnuvardhan was a singer as well, he has sung in more than 20 movies, along with movies he has also sung many devotional albums.
  14. He is the First Kannada Actor to get Temple Constructed from his fans
  15. He always wore a Silver bracelet in his left hand. He was left handed
  16. He has appeared on postage stamps issued by the Government of India
  17. He says "Politics is not my cup of tea", but he says he might get into politics if the system is not so corrupt and helps serve people.
  18. Vishnuvardhan was into music, especially Tabala in his younger years, he calls it hereditary gift from his father's side who were all artists
  19. Dwaraksih & Vishnuvardhan are among the best pairs in Kannada film industry.
  20. A stretch of road from Banashankari Temple to Kengeri in Bangalore has been named after Dr VishnuVardhan, it is also the longest road to have a celebrity name in Bangalore.
  21. Rajinikanth thanks Vishnuvardhan for helping him take up the role in a Tamil movie, when he was in dilemma whether to go with the Tamil film or a Kannada film he had simultaneous offers for.
  22. If he had failed initially Vishnvardhan was ready to leave acting and take up another creative profession, he was not too keen on becoming an actor
  23. In Sahasa Simha, it was reported that he had done all his stunts himself without using any stunt-doubles.
  24. He liked Dogs, he had few pets in his house.
  25. Vishnuvardhan was a philanthropist, he has paid hospital bills for a lot of poor people, he purposefully hid his charity work from larger public.
  26. Vishnuvardhan considered himself spiritual, he considered his temple was in his heart. He was too attached to his mother, when she died he could only cope with it because of the spiritual wisdom he had gained by then.
  27. He was called as The Phoenix of Indian Cinema because of his rise to fame
  28. Riny Ephen, an IAS officer is one of his best friends.
  29. In his thirty-five-year career, he played a variety of roles in more than 220 films.
  30. Vishnuvardhan was good at imitating, Ambareesh had seen him absorb other people's character very quickly. His imitation of Mohan Lal was the funniest according to Ambaressh
  31. Vishnuvardhan consider Puttanna Kanagal as his guru, Puttanna changed his name to "Vishnu Vardhan" from Sampath Kumar, it was named after a great king Vishnuvardhana who was both an artist himself & an undefeated king in battles.
  32. There are about 15 biographies on him in Kannada.
  33. A statue of Dr Vishnu was installed at Bellary, Karnataka Immediately after the death.
  34. He was a Martial Art expert and in an interview to The Hindu, he had said that it was the era of Bruce Lee and it was only Kamal Haasan and himself who had learnt Martial Arts in his generation

Vishnuvardhan: Filmography (208)

(All Vishnuvardhan Movies)
List By:
2016 Nagarahavu[Actor(Prince)]
2010 School Master[Actor(Jagannath)]
2010 Aaptha Rakshaka[Actor(Dr. Vijay / Vijayarajendra Bahaddur)]
2009 Nam yajamanru[Actor(Shashank)]
2009 Bellary Naga[Actor(Ballari Naga)]
2008 Jnana Jyothi Sri Siddaganga[Actor]
2007 Ekadantha[Actor(Vijay),Playback Singer]
2007 Kshana Kshana[Actor(DCP Vishnu)]
2007 Mathad Mathadu Mallige[Actor(Hoovaiah)]
2007 Ee Bandhana[Actor(Harish Raj)]
2006 Neenello Nanalle[Actor(Veera)]
2006 Sirivantha[Actor(Narayan Murthy)]
2005 Varsha[Actor(Sathyamurthy)]
2005 Samarasimha Nayka[Presenter]
2005 Vishnu Sena[Actor(Jayasimha),Playback Singer]
2004 Kadamba[Actor(Mohan Keshawar Kadamba)]
2004 Apthamitra[Actor(Dr. Vijay / Vijaya Rajendra Bahaddur)]
2004 Sahukara[Actor]
2004 Jyeshta[Actor]
2003 Raja Narasimha[Actor(Raja Narasimha)]
2003 Hrudayavantha[Actor]
2002 Jameendarru[Actor(Bettappa/Biligiri)]
2002 Parva[Actor(Sagar)]
2002 Simhadriya Simha[Actor(Narasimhe Gowda),Presenter]
2001 Diggajaru[Actor(Chikkayya and Muddayya)]
2001 Kotigobba[Actor(Nanjunda / Jayasimha)]
2000 Deepavali[Actor]
2000 Nan Hendthi Chennagiddale[Actor]
2000 Soorappa[Actor(soorappa)]
2000 Yajamana[Actor(double role)]
1999 Habba[Actor]
1999 Premothsava[Actor]
1999 Suryavamsha[Actor,Playback Singer]
1999 Veerappa Nayka[Actor]
1998 Hendithghelthini[Actor]
1998 Nishyabda[Actor]
1998 Simhada Guri[Actor]
1998 Yare Neenu Cheluve[Actor]
1997 Ellaranthalla Nanna Ganda[Actor]
1997 Ganesha I Love You[Writer (story)]
1997 Janani Janmabhoomi[Actor]
1997 Laali[Actor(Krishna)]
1997 Mangala Suthra[Actor]
1996 Appaji[Actor(double role)]
1996 Dhani[Actor]
1996 Hello Daddy[Actor]
1996 Jeevanadi[Actor]
1996 Karnataka Suputra[Actor]
1995 Bangarada Kalasha[Actor]
1995 Deergha Sumangali[Actor]
1995 Himapatha[Actor(Aravind)]
1995 Karulina Kudi[Actor]
1995 Kona Eedaithe[Actor,Presenter]
1995 Kotreshi Kanasu[Actor]
1995 Mojugara Sogasugara[Actor(double role),Playback Singer]
1995 Thumbida Mane[Actor]
1995 Yama Kinkara[Actor]
1994 Halunda Thavaru[Actor]
1994 Kiladigalu[Actor(double role)]
1994 Kunthi Puthra[Actor]
1994 Mahakshatriya[Actor]
1994 Samrat[Actor]
1994 Time Bomb[Actor]
1993 Manikantana Mahime[Actor]
1993 Nanendu Nimmavane[Actor]
1993 Nishkarsha[Actor(ATS Commando Ajay)]
1993 Rayaru Bandaru Mavana Manege[Actor]
1993 Sangharsha[Actor]
1993 Vishnu Vijaya[Actor,Presenter]
1993 Vaishaka dinagalu[Actor]
1993 Sidukabeda Singari[Actor]
1993 Hosa Love Story[Playback Singer,Presenter]
1992 Belliyappa Bangarappa[Actor]
1992 Harakeya Kuri[Actor]
1992 Nanna Shathru[Actor]
1992 Rajadhiraja[Actor]
1992 Ravivarma[Actor]
1991 Jagadeka Veera[Actor]
1991 Lion Jagapathi Rao[Actor(double role),Writer (Screenplay),Presenter]
1991 Neenu Nakkare Halu Sakkare[Actor]
1991 Police Matthu Dada[Actor(double role),Presenter]
1990 Mathe Haditu Kogile[Actor]
1990 Mutthina Haara[Actor(Achchappa)]
1990 Shivashankar[Actor(Shiva/ Shankar),Playback Singer]
1989 Deva[Actor(Deva)]
1989 Doctor Krishna[Actor(Doctor Krishna)]
1989 Hrudaya Geethe[Actor(Ashok)]
1989 Ondagi Balu[Actor]
1989 Rudra[Actor]
1988 Daada[Actor(double role)]
1988 December 31[Actor]
1988 Jana Nayaka[Actor]
1988 Krishna Rukmini[Actor]
1988 Mithileya Seetheyaru[Actor]
1988 Nammoora Raja[Actor,Playback Singer]
1988 Olavina Aasare[Actor]
1988 Suprabhatha[Actor]
1987 Aaseya Bale[Actor]
1987 Jayasimha[Actor]
1987 Jeevana Jyothi[Actor]
1987 Karunamayi[Actor]
1987 Prema Loka[Actor]
1987 Sathyam Shivam Sundaram[Actor(Sathya/Shiva/Sundara)]
1987 Shubha Milana[Actor]
1987 Sowbhagya Lakshmi[Actor(double role)]
1986 Ee Jeeva Ninagagi[Actor]
1986 Karna[Actor]
1986 Kathanayaka[Actor(Ranga/ Prabhakar)]
1986 Krishna Nee Begane Baro[Actor(Krishna)]
1986 Maduve Madu Thamashe Nodu[Actor]
1986 Malaya Marutha[Actor(Vishwa)]
1986 Sathya Jyothi[Actor]
1985 Jeevana Chakra[Actor(Ranga)]
1985 Karthavya[Actor]
1985 Maha Purusha[Actor,Playback Singer]
1985 Mareyada Manikya[Actor]
1985 Nanna Prathigne[Actor]
1985 Nee Bareda Kadambari[Actor]
1985 Nee Thanda Kanike[Actor]
1985 Veeradhi Veera[Actor]
1984 Aaradhane[Actor,Presenter]
1984 Bandhana[Actor(Harish)]
1984 Benki Birugaali[Actor,Playback Singer]
1984 Chanakya[Actor]
1984 Huli Hejje[Actor(Somu),Playback Singer]
1984 Indina Ramayana[Actor]
1984 Khaidi[Actor,Playback Singer]
1984 Police Papanna[Actor]
1984 Prachanda Kulla[Actor]
1984 RudraNaga[Actor,Playback Singer]
1983 Chinnadantha Maga[Actor,Playback Singer]
1983 Gandharva Giri[Actor]
1983 Gandugali Rama[Actor(Rama),Playback Singer]
1983 Kalluveene Nudiyithu[Actor,Playback Singer]
1983 Mutthaide Bhagya[Actor]
1983 Onde Guri[Actor]
1983 Sididedda Sahodara[Actor(pradeep/Dilip (double role)),Playback Singer]
1983 Simha Gharjane[Actor(Jaysimha),Playback Singer]
1982 Jimmy Gallu[Actor,Playback Singer]
1982 Karmika Kallanalla[Actor]
1982 Oorige Upakari[Actor]
1982 Pedda Gedda[Actor]
1982 Sahasa Simha[Actor(Pratap),Playback Singer,Presenter]
1982 Suvarna Sethuve[Actor]
1981 Avala Hejje[Actor]
1981 Guru Shishyaru[Actor(king)]
1981 Maha Prachandaru[Actor]
1981 Mane Mane Kathe[Actor]
1981 Naga Kala Bhairava[Actor(double role),Playback Singer,Presenter]
1981 Preetisi Nodu[Actor]
1981 Snehithara Saval[Actor]
1980 Bangarada Jinke[Actor(veeru)]
1980 Biligiriya Banadalli[Actor]
1980 Hanthakana Sanchu[Actor,Playback Singer]
1980 Kalinga[Actor((in double role) Prabhakar/ Ranga)]
1980 Makkala Sainya[Actor]
1980 Nanna Rosha Nooru Varusha[Actor]
1980 Rahasya Rathri[Actor]
1980 Rama Parashurama[Actor]
1980 Simha Jodi[Actor]
1980 Driver Hanumanthu[Actor]
1979 Asadhya Aliya[Actor]
1979 Manini[Actor]
1979 Naaniruvude Ninagaagi[Actor]
1979 Nentaro Gantu Kallaro[Actor]
1979 Vijay Vikram[Actor]
1978 Amarnath[Actor]
1978 Bhale Huduga[Actor]
1978 Hombisilu[Actor(Doctor Nataraj)]
1978 Kiladi Jodi[Actor]
1978 Kiladi Kittu[Actor(Kittu),Playback Singer]
1978 Madhura Sangama[Actor]
1978 Muyyige Muyyi[Actor]
1978 Nanna Prayashchittha[Actor]
1978 Singaporenalli Raja Kulla[Actor(Raja)]
1978 Sirithanakke Saval[Actor,Playback Singer]
1978 Vasantha Lakshmi[Actor]
1978 Prathima[Actor]
1978 Vamsha Jyothi[Actor]
1978 Sandarbha[Actor]
1978 Sneha Sedu[Actor(Rajesh)]
1977 Chinna Ninna Muddaduve[Actor]
1977 Galate Samsara[Actor]
1977 Kittu Puttu[Actor(Kittu)]
1977 Nagara Hole[Actor,Playback Singer]
1977 Sahodarara Savaal[Actor]
1977 Shani Prabhava[Actor]
1977 Sose Thanda Sowbhagya[Actor]
1977 Bayasade Banda Bhagya[Actor]
1977 Shreemanthana Magalu[Actor]
1976 Bangarada Gudi[Actor]
1976 Devaru Kotta Vara[Actor]
1976 Makkala Bhagya[Actor(Shekhar)]
1976 Hosilu Mettida Hennu[Actor]
1975 Bhagya Jyothi[Actor]
1975 Devara Gudi[Actor]
1975 Kalla Kulla[Actor]
1975 Naga Kanye[Actor]
1975 Onde Roopa Eradu Guna[Actor]
1975 Koodi Balona[Actor]
1974 Anna Attige[Actor]
1974 Bhootayyana Maga Ayyu[Actor(Gulla)]
1974 Professor Hucchuraya[Actor]
1973 Gandhada Gudi[Actor(Anand)]
1973 Mane Belagida Sose[Actor]
1973 Seetheyalla Savithri[Actor]
1972 Naagarahaavu[Actor(Ramachari)]
1972 Vamsha Vruksha[Actor]


[Top ⇑]
  1. I'm like a free horse, I like my freedom
  2. Professionally a success gets you 100 enemies & a failure makes you lose 10 friends
  3. Business & Art can not go together.
  4. My entry to movies was dynamic, I want my exit to be gracious. I want people to miss me when I no longer act.
  5. Only mistake I made in life is to give love to some of those who did not deserve it, to those who were behind money and not love.
  6. If more people watch it, its a mass film otherwise it becomes an art film.
  7. Being affectionate and loving is the key to success.