RCU taught Vishnuvardhan all through his high school years. A theatre enthusiast herself, she encouraged her students to participate in theatre and other cultural activities. Acting, and music came easily to Vishnuvardhan and he was soon seen donning challenging roles at plays in school.
Given Vishnuvardhan's perfectly chiselled features, he was the first choice to play the woman's roles. “With his spotless fair complexion and girlish looks he slipped well into female lead roles. I still remember that he was so perfect in his dialogue delivery and he wouldn’t miss a chance to help others excel,” Usha told Metrolife.
Usha recalls that Sampath Kumar was good in academics as well. She remembers how Sampath Kumar became Vishnuvardhan. Sampath Kumar was one among those who auditioned for Nagarahavu movie. After being selected to play the lead role, Sampath Kumar was taken by his director, Puttanna Kanagal, to an astrologer. Asked if the movie would do well, the astrologer said that this young man must be rechristened as Vishnuvardhan so that he would reign over all that the terrain he treads. “That movie was his first break and from then on we saw him achieve steady success. He’d still come visiting after he started shooting. But soon his busy schedules didn’t afford him the luxury of time. But whenever I’d see him on TV, I’d be proud that he was the little boy I taught at one time,” observes Usha.
Another person who joined Usha in reliving Vishnuvardhan’s school days was his then bum chum, Dr S Dwarakanath who is now among the leading cardiologists in the City. “I still remember he and I would come in an hour before the school started to play lagorie and cricket. And he was the most mischievous amongst us. He would either stick gum on our cheeks or would chew gum and stick it on the chairs we sat. Those are memories that are still cherished quite vividly,” says Dwarakanath.
After they parted ways in school, Dwarakanath recalls that they once met at the airport and Vishnuvardhan instantly recognised his schoolmate and “he greeted me with the same warmth and love that we shared in school. He had already become a well-known face in the cinema but he wore no arrogance and was as simple as can be,”