Veteran Kannada actor Rajesh, known as ‘Kala Thapasvi’, passed away at the age of 89 in a private hospital in the wee hours of Saturday. He was admitted to hospital a week ago. In his career spanning more than four decades, Rajesh had acted in more than 150 movies. His autobiography, ‘Kala Thapasvi Rajesh Atmakathe’, came out in 2014. His daughter Asha Rani is the wife of the multi-lingual south actor Arjun Sarja.
Rajesh was born as Munichowdappa in Bengaluru in 1935. He developed an interest in theatre in his childhood and joined Sudarshana Nataka Mandali without the knowledge of his parents.
On the pretext of going for tuitions, Rajesh, identifying himself as Vidyasagar, got involved himself with the theatre group. He started working as a typist in a government office and went on to start his own theatre group called Shakthi Nataka Mandali.
His theatre experiments led him to films and he made his silver screen debut with ‘Veera Sankalpa’. His was renamed Rajesh when he was cast as the solo hero in ‘Namma Ooru’, which went on to become a superhit in 1968.
Gange Gowri’, ‘Sati Sukanya’, ‘Beluvalada Madilalli’, ‘Kappu Bilupu’, ‘Brundavana’ are his major movies. He was recognised as one of the prominent actors of the Kannada film industry.
The mortal remains of Rajesh will be kept at his Vidyaranyapura residence to enable people to pay their homage till the evening. The last rites will be conducted in the evening.