Kashinath, unconventional actor-hero, dies of cancer

Kashinath, unconventional actor-hero, dies of cancer

He is best known for a taut murder mystery and a string of commercially successful if raunchy comedies. He had been active in Kannada cinema for close to four decades.

Kashinath is survived by his wife Chandraprabha, daughter Amritavarshini and son Alok. He had acted in about 40 films, and produced and directed some of them. He was admired for challenging conventional ideas of how a hero should look and behave. An admirer of Chaplin, he often said the screenplay should rule, and not stars.

Born in Koteshwara, near Kundapura on the Karnataka coast, Kashinath grew up dreaming of becoming a scientist. He was in his second year BSc when he was drawn to theatre. Within a year, the stage had replaced science as his first love.

Defying his father, and helped along by a doting mother, he directed a film titled Aparupada Atithigalu (1976), inspired by the Crazy Boys series then being made in Hollywood. The film brought him some fame and a bit of money.

Aparichita (1978), a murder thriller, and Anubhava (1984), a social drama about a woman who can't consummate her wedding, established him as a director with some heft. He got to remake both these films in Hindi.

Many of Kashinath's later films, mostly comedies, featured him as a hero. He disparaged himself as thin and awkward in his scripts even as he spoke out against social evils such as dowry. 'Meese hotta gandasige demandappo demandu' was a song in which he mocked greedy grooms.

His other films Anamika, Amara Madhura Prema, and Love Madi Nodu also had social criticism woven into their narrative. Ananthana Avantara was a sexually explicit comedy. In 2017, he acted in Chowka as the anguished father of a girl killed by sex maniacs. His last film, Ol Munsami, awaits release.

Kashinath had the ability to turn his drawbacks into strengths. His better work displays curious experimentation within the constraints of commercial cinema.

 

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