King cobra to lion king

King cobra to lion king

Vishnuvardhan: September 18, 1950 – December 30, 2009

Besides, what young male was going to shine on the screen in the shadow of the great Rajkumar?
The great MP Shankar had mounted his Rajkumar starrer ‘Gandhada Gudi’. In the role of villain and counterpoint was cast emerging star Vishnuvardhan.

The year was 1973 and Vishnu had become an overnight star with Puttanna Kanagal’s ‘Naagarahaavu’ (1972).

He was 22 years old and it was only his 5th film, but fans imagined in the fictional rivalry of ‘Gandhada Gudi’ the reflection of a real challenge to the matinee idol’s supremacy.

The story goes that when the climax was about to be shot, Vishnuvardhan was apparently left to discover that his property double-barrelled gun had real bullets!  
Whether the gun was actually fired or the folly was realised in time was never fully established, but the popular imagination took over and an unfortunate urban legend was created, an apocryphal story for the unspoken rivalry of Kannada cinema’s biggest legends.

Was the young man angry? It was a long time ago and Vishnu himself almost never spoke of those days, even to his close friends, and never with bitterness.
With deep faith in God and mysticism, in fact he believed of late that he was, in some ways, in communication with the spirit of Rajkumar.

He was even talking of developing a movie script in which he plays a character that receives messages from the late Raj and was engaged with how this could be technically achieved in cinema.

He needed the God and mysticism to sustain his growth through many personal tragedies. He lost his father in 1973, when he was just emerging as a star and lately, his sister, Dr Poornima Vyasulu, development consultant and actor.
He had seen her fight through many years of kidney failure.

He himself fought a diabetic condition, but stayed fit with yoga and diet. It is believed that his health took a beating after his trip for flood relief works in the affected areas.

It is probably the end of an era. In this age of cinema, when producers book halls at star hotels to celebrate 25 days of a film’s run, we can only wonder at the phenomenon Vishuvardhan was: 39 years at the top of his career, 200 films in five languages and every award of significance.

But when he died early Wednesday morning, due to a massive cardiac arrest, on the way to hospital in Mysore, Vishnuvardhan left ever wistful, with a craving for the defining role, something that could satisfy him completely.

He believed he would let his fans down if he “indulged” himself in art cinema, but kept looking for “that one role” in an international project.

Not all the persuasion from friend Ambarish could lure him into politics. He enjoyed his occasional cigarette and drink, loved sports cars, music in private and at his intimate parties and the intensely competitive tennis ball cricket that his Sneha Loka team played.

He surrounded himself with his family, household faithfuls and close friends.
Wife Bharati, who has stood by him through his career with colossal dignity; adopted daughters Keerthi and Chandana; actor son-in-law Anirudh; stage director brother Ravikumar; friends led by Ambarish and his ‘Sneha Loka’ circle will miss more than a relationship.
They are left without an institution, a social life built on the values of friendship and caring.

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