Rajkumar (Hindi),Shammi Kapoor,Dilip Kumar(Bollywood) , Arnold Schwarzenegger(Hollywood)
Puttanna Kanagal, William Wyler
Horse riding, Singing, Music
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'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.
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
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.
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.
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
Rajkumar and vishnuvardhan
Rajkumar, vishnuvardhan and ambareesh
Rajkumar and vishnuvardhan
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"
He was very naughty boy in childhood, he says it helped him in his career later.
Sir. Vivian Richards is his favorite cricketer
In 2008, he was selected as the most popular Kannada actor alive in a poll conducted by the CNN-IBN
Vishnuvardhan considers Nagara Haavu as his best & most successful film ever.
Ramanand Nityanand, a Bank Employee & Vishnuvardhan's partner in VishnuPriya Combines is one of his best friends.
He was close to his grandchildren.
S P Balasubramanyam sang frequently for Vishnuvardhan, they both had become so close that Vishnuvardhan would insist on having SPB sing for him
Hindi actor Rajkumar is his favorite, he imitates him very good. His dialogue delivery & voice modulations were what impressed Vishnu Sir.
Vishnuvardhan was also a cricket player in his teens, he wanted to be a professional
Vishnuvardhan has appeared in over 220 films in languages including Kannada, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam
Vishnuvardhan was a singer as well, he has sung in more than 20 movies, along with movies he has also sung many devotional albums.
He is the First Kannada Actor to get Temple Constructed from his fans
He always wore a Silver bracelet in his left hand. He was left handed
He has appeared on postage stamps issued by the Government of India
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.
Vishnuvardhan was into music, especially Tabala in his younger years, he calls it hereditary gift from his father's side who were all artists
Dwaraksih & Vishnuvardhan are among the best pairs in Kannada film industry.
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.
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.
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
In Sahasa Simha, it was reported that he had done all his stunts himself without using any stunt-doubles.
He liked Dogs, he had few pets in his house.
Vishnuvardhan was a philanthropist, he has paid hospital bills for a lot of poor people, he purposefully hid his charity work from larger public.
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.
He was called as The Phoenix of Indian Cinema because of his rise to fame
Riny Ephen, an IAS officer is one of his best friends.
In his thirty-five-year career, he played a variety of roles in more than 220 films.
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
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.
There are about 15 biographies on him in Kannada.
A statue of Dr Vishnu was installed at Bellary, Karnataka Immediately after the death.
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