Kalpana (Kannada actress)

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Kannada actress Kalpana.jpeg
Sharat Lata

18 July 1943[citation needed]
Dakshina Kannada, State of Mysore, British India
Died12 May 1979(1979-05-12) (aged 35)[citation needed]
Sankeshwar, Karnataka, India
Other names"Minugu Taare"
Spouse(s)B. N. Viswanath, Gudigeri Basavaraj

Kalpana (18 July 1943 – 12 May 1979), born Sharat Lata, was an Indian Kannada film actress. She was affectionately referred to as Minugu Taare ("A Shining Star") among the film fraternity. She was widely recognised as one of the greatest actresses of Kannada cinema who enjoyed both fan following and critical acclaim. She made her screen debut as a lead actress in the 1963 release Saaku Magalu directed by veteran B. R. Panthulu. During a career that spanned from the early 1960s to the late 1970s, Kalpana appeared in numerous commercially successful as well as critically appreciated films, many of which featured her alongside actor Rajkumar. She worked in a few Tamil, Tulu, Malayalam and Telugu films as well.[1] Many of her successful films were female-centric, giving ample scope for her performance.

One of her best-known roles was that of "Kaveri" in the multi-award-winning film Sharapanjara released in 1971, a performance that won her the Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actress for that year. Her portrayal of a highly spirited and complex woman who fights her mental trauma won her the largest fan following ever for a Kannada actress. Her association with the veteran film maker Puttanna Kanagal both professionally and personally became the talk of the town back in the 1970s. They both went on to work in many commercially and critically successful films until they grew apart. In her career Kalpana received the Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Kannada once and the Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actress thrice.

Early life[]

Kalpana was born to a Tulu speaking couple, Krishnamurthy and Janakamma, as Sharat Lata in Mangalore city Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka state.[citation needed] She was very passionate about acting and took part in all the talent competitions held at her school. She was also very conscious about prevailing style statement but had her own distinct style in her outfits. She, along with her younger brother and her mother moved to the Uttara Kannada district to experience the basics of movie and stage performances. When she moved to Davangere, she was introduced to Shiv Kumar who took her to Madras and introduced her to Narsimharaju. She was given a break into films by noted director B. R. Pantulu, who was impressed by her. Kalpana decided that she wanted to be an established film actress and soon achieved her goal and gained prominence in the industry.[2]


Kalpana in Sharapanjara (1971)

Sharat Lata was recruited to the Kannada film industry in 1963 by director B. R. Pantulu for his Rajkumar-starrer Saaku Magalu. Later, she changed her screen name to Kalpana. However, it was the 1967 released Belli Moda, directed by Puttanna Kanagal that brought her to the forefront. This portrayal of hers was instantly accepted and she soon was catapulted to the top among the actresses of the 1960s. She dominated the Kannada film industry during the late 1960s and 1970s and was critically acclaimed for some of her author-backed roles in movies like Sharapanjara, Gejje Pooje, Belli Moda, Eradu Kanasu, Kappu Bilupu, Bayalu Daari, Gandhada Gudi and Bangarada Hoovu. She worked with almost all the leading actors and directors of her time. Her most frequent co-stars were Rajkumar, Gangadhar and Udaya Kumar. P. Susheela and S. Janaki were the regular voices behind her songs in the films. She gave stiff competition to her contemporaries such as Jayanthi, Bharathi and Chandrakala among others.

Initially she was the most favoured actress of ace director Puttanna Kanagal. Their association produced some of the finest movies in the history of Kannada cinema. Many of their films had strong, hard-hitting messages which were treasured in the cinema history. Kanagal groomed Kalpana to a great extent and though they were romantically linked by the media, industry folks are unanimous that their relationship was that of Guru-Shishya. However, they fell apart when Kanagal refused to offer her a pivotal role in Nagarahaavu. Kanagal went on to groom Aarathi while Kalpana featured in some average films later on.[3] Her efforts to resurrect her career failed. Even though her later movies with Rajkumar (Daari Tappida Maga and Eradu Kanasu), and Anant Nag (Bayalu Daari) were hits, they failed to resurrect her career. By 1977 she had no movies in hand. She then started focusing on drama companies in Uttara Karnataka and mainly worked in Gudigeri Basavaraj's drama company. With mounting debts and declining film offers, she went into deep depression.

She had also acted in a few Tamil and Telugu movies, such as Madras To Pondicherry and Sadhu Mirandal.These films were later made in Hindi as Bombay to Goa and Sadhu Aur Shaitan. Both the films were very successful at the box office. She also acted in Koti Channayya, a Tulu movie, directed by Vishu Kumar. She also acted in the Malayalam movie School Master. She lived for only 35 years of which she had spent 15 years in the Sandalwood film industry. She won the Karnataka state award for Best Actress thrice for Belli Moda, Hannele Chiguridaga and Sharapanjara. In her film career, she has acted in over eighty movies, of which the majority are in Kannada.[4]


The sway that actor Kalpana – who had won the title "Minugu Taare" (twinkling star) – held over Kannada film enthusiasts has not quite disappeared since her death. Known for playing complex and tragic roles, she died under mysterious circumstances. She ruled the Kannada film industry from 1967 until 1972.

V. Sreedhara, a teacher in Mysuru, has brought out a 1,114-page volume "Rajatha Rangada Dhruvathare", chronicling her life and work spanning 79 films. It has details of the characters she played and opinions of various directors, co-artistes and writers. He started working on the book at 21 and completed it when he turned 27. "Even after working for so long, I have not completely understood the persona of Kalpana, as she was a complex person", he says.[citation needed] The book was released in Bengaluru at a function organised by Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy.[5]

Fashion icon[]

Kalpana was a fashion icon of her time. Her elegance, taste and sophistication in dressing could not be matched by other female stars of the time. The mega sleeve blouses, frill blouses are her contribution to Karnataka's style. Some of her fashion statements are elaborate hairdos, big rings on fingers, rich zari saris and chiffon saris, multiple bangles and long necklaces.[6]


Kalpana died on 12 May 1979. Her suicide was attributed to multiple causes from health issues, poor financial condition to failed romance, though nothing was established. As per post-mortem reports, she had consumed 56 sleeping pills. She had spent her last days at an inspection bungalow at Gotur near Sankeshwar, Belagavi, Karnataka.[citation needed]


  • All films are in Kannada, unless otherwise noted.
Year Film Role Notes Ref.
1963 Saaku Magalu Uma [7]
1964 Naandi Nirmala [8]
1964 Pathiye Daiva
1964 School Master Vasanthi Malayalam film [9]
1964 Chinnada Gombe Radha [7]
1964 Karnan Fairy Goddess Tamil film [10]
1966 Mantralaya Mahatme Tulasi [7]
1966 Madras to Pondicherry Mala Tamil film [11]
1966 Bala Nagamma Manikya Devi
1966 Sri Kanyaka Parameshwari Kathe [7]
1966 Sadhu Mirandal Kalpana Tamil film [12]
1966 Mayor Nair Malayalam film [7]
1967 Belli Moda Indira [13]
1967 Padavidhara [7]
1967 Pattathu Rani Tamil film [14]
1967 Immadi Pulikeshi [7]
1967 Dhana Pishachi Asha
1967 Bangarada Hoovu Seetha [7]
1967 Premakkoo Permitte Viji [7]
1968 Gandhinagara Shanta [7]
1968 Mahasathi Arundathi [7]
1968 Sarvamangala Mangala [7]
1968 Hannele Chiguridaga Malathi [15]
1968 Ananda Kanda [7]
1968 Anna Thamma [7]
1968 Hoovu Mullu Cheluvi [7]
1968 Mannina Maga Mallika [7]
1969 Odahuttidavaru Asharani [7]
1969 Kappu Bilupu Vatsala / Chandra [7]
1969 Uyyale Radha [16]
1969 Mathrubhoomi Seetha [7]
1969 Kaanike [7]
1969 Mukunda Chandra [7]
1969 Brundavana Radha [7]
1969 Namma Makkalu Suma Sp. App.
1969 Gejje Pooje Chandramathi [17]
1970 Arishina Kumkuma Radha Devi [7]
1970 Anirikshita Jayashree [7]
1970 Pratheekara [7]
1970 Karulina Kare Parvati [7]
1970 Vaagdana Parvati [7]
1970 Namma Mane Shobha [7]
1970 Seetha Seetha [7]
1970 Devara Makkalu Kanaka [7]
1970 Mukthi Sarojini [18]
1971 Onde Kula Onde Daiva [7]
1971 Sharapanjara Kaveri [19]
1971 Bhale Adrushtavo Adrushta Kalpana [7]
1971 Sothu Geddavalu Sharada [7]
1972 Nari Munidare Mari Hema [7]
1972 Subhadra Kalyana Subhadra [7]
1972 Uttara Dakshina Mamatha Mukherjee [7]
1972 Yaava Janmada Maitri Lalitha [7]
1972 Naa Mechida Huduga K. Pramila Rao [7]
1972 Mareyada Deepavali Anu [7]
1973 Bidugade Shobha Sp. App. [7]
1973 Triveni Triveni [7]
1973 Gandhada Gudi Lakshmi [7]
1973 Kesarina Kamala [7]
1973 Kattila Thottila Padmini Tamil film [7]
1973 Koti Chennayya Kinnidaru Tulu film
1974 Eradu Kanasu Gowri [7]
1974 Idu Namma Desha [7]
1974 Yer Malthina Thappu Tulu film [20]
1975 Thennangkeetru Devi Tamil film
1975 Mantra Shakthi
1975 Beluvalada Madilalli Girija [7]
1975 Nireekshe Malini [7]
1975 Daari Tappida Maga Pramila [7]
1976 Bayalu Daari Chandra [7]
1976 Vijaya Vani [7]
1976 Rajanarthakiya Rahasya [7]
1976 Sandarbha [7]
1978 Vamsha Jyothi Sharada Devi [7]
1978 Maleya Makkalu [7]
1983 Anuraga Bandhana


Filmfare Awards South
Karnataka State Film Awards


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 October 2020. Retrieved 1 February 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 1998, p. 116.
  8. ^ Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 1998, p. 381.
  9. ^ Vijayakumar, B. (26 September 2010). "School Master (1964)". The Hindu. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  10. ^ Rangarajan, Malathi (15 March 2012). "Karnan rules". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 27 March 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  11. ^ Guy, Randor (29 September 2012). "Madras To Pondicherry 1966". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 5 June 2018. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  12. ^ Guy, Randor (14 April 2012). "Saadhu Mirandal (1966)". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 12 March 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  13. ^ Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 1998, p. 391.
  14. ^ Cowie, Peter; Elley, Derek (1977). World Filmography: 1967. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. p. 275. ISBN 978-0-498-01565-6. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  15. ^ Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 1998, p. 395.
  16. ^ Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 1998, p. 402.
  17. ^ Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 1998, p. 403.
  18. ^ Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 1998, p. 404.
  19. ^ Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 1998, p. 410.
  20. ^ Fernandes, Ronald Anil (8 October 2012). "A one-time film star, as unlikely as can be". Deccan Herald. Archived from the original on 16 May 2021. Retrieved 16 May 2021.


  • Rajadhyaksha, Ashish; Willemen, Paul (1998) [1994]. Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-563579-5.

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