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Upendra - The Kannada Matinee Idol

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By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


Upendra or Uppi, as he is fondly called by many, is arguably one of the biggest stars of the Kannada film industry. When it comes to his popularity there are no barriers, he has mass appeal to one and all. Born on 18th September 1967 in Kota, Udupi district, Karnataka into a poor family, luxuries in life do not attract him and in his real life he remains a humble man and spends a simple life with wife Priyanka Trivedi. His popularity breaks the boundaries of the linguistic divide as he has made a mark for himself even in the Tamil and Telugu film industries.

He started his career under director Kashinath as a writer and assistant director. The first movie directed by him was the tight budget Tharle Nanmaga which became a box office hit at once. His next directorial venture was with Om, an extremely violent movie in the late 90s in which he cast actual Bangalore gangsters and exposed many secrets of the dark world. It almost turned the tide in the Kannada film industry and brought back dying interest in the regional cinema. He made a sensational debut as actor-director in the film A in the year 1998 that transformed him into an instant superstar and earned praises from none other than the Big B and Anil Kapoor. He followed A with another blockbuster also directed by him titled Upendra where he co-starred with Bollywood sensation Raveena Tandon and in this movie he claims to have played pieces of his own life story. In both the movies critics applauded him for his intense writing and narrating skills.

He has a good chemistry with director D Rajendra Babu and the duo have made movies like Preethse, Naanu Naane, Auto Shankar, Uppidada M B B S. He acted with all the superstars in south like Shivrajkumar, Prabhu deva, Ananthnag, Ambarish and his list of heroines include Chandini, Prema, Raveena Tandon, Dhamini, Sonali Bendre, Priyanka, Ramya, Abhirami, Ramya Krishna, Renuka Menon, Reema Sen, Shilpa Shetty, Radhika among others.

However not all his movies have been sensational hits. Some have failed miserably in the box office; H2O which was directed by the super star in which he co-starred with the Tamil dancing sensation Prabhu Deva failed to impress the audience. Superstar came in next and had the same fate. He ran into controversy when he directed Nagarahavu which failed and even provoked the feminists in Bangalore who protested the anti women genre of the movie.

He however does not shy away from the protests and argues that his movies reflect what actually happens in the society.

There have been arguments over whether Upendra is a better director or an actor but there is no question over his popularity in the southern part of the country. The actor claims that he is not satisfied with his movies and in most of the roles he could have given a better performance. This is may be the fuel, which drives him. He strives for excellence and to achieve higher goals in life.

Movie Name Year Director

A 1998 Upendra

Upendra 1999 Upendra

Preethse 2000 D Rajendra Babu

H2O 2002 N Lokanath, Rajaram

Super Star 2002 Nagathihalli Chandrashekar

Nagarahaavu 2002 S Muruli Mohan

Naanu Naane 2002 D Rajendra Babu

Hollywood 2002 Dinesh Babu

Kutumba 2003 B Naganna

Raktha Kanneeru 2003 Sadhu Kokila

Gokarna 2003 B Naganna

Omkara 2004 Shivamani

Gowramma 2005 B Naganna

News 2005 M K Maheshwar

Auto Shankar 2005 D Rajendra Babu

Uppidada M B B S 2006 D Rajendra Babu

Tandege Takka Maga 2006 S Mahender

Aishwarya 2006 Indrajith Lankesh

Parodi 2007 Om Saiprakash

Masti 2007 Shivamani

Movie as a Director

Tharle Nan Maga



Operation Antha




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