Chamayya meshtru in Nagarahaavu: S Ashwath rendered one of his career best performances in this cult movie. Based on Ta Ra Su’s novel of the same name, this movie is also known for introducing actors Vishnuvardhan and Ambarish. Ramachari is a stubborn young man who has very high regards for his ‘’meshtru’’. Chamayya meshtru has a very deep rooted affection and admiration for ramachari and rues that the world fails to understand this incredibly capable young man. He also exercises great influence on Ramachari and the general belief held is that Ramachari never goes against his teacher. The climax proves this when ramachari along with his love plunges to his death when he accidentally causes the demise of his beloved meshtru.
Balakrishna in Bangarada Manushya (I have a bit of confusion about the character’s name – rajutappanavare??): Balakrishna provided ample support to Rajkumar’s character of Rajeeva in this all time classic. Rajeevappa returns from the city to find his sister's family in chaos following the untimely death of his brother in law. After being deserted by his elder brother, Rajeevappa decides to stay back and pull the family out of despair. Balakrishna will be instrumental in providing the loan for him to start farming on 25acres of barren land. Balakrishna's character was like a foil to Rajkumar's character. Both the characters engaged in witty repertoire loaded with deep rooted philosophy. This role has gone down as one of the most memorable in the annals of kannada cinema.
B R Panthulu in Shri Krishnadevaraya as mahamanthri thimmarasu -
Sri Krishnadevaraya can be rated as one of the all time classics of Rajkumar’s mythological movies. The dignity with which rajkumar carried of krishnadeva raya’s role is spell bounding. However cinegoers would also definitely rank B R Panthulu’s acting as one the pivotal reasons for the movie’s phenomenal success. As mahamantri thimmarasu, panthulu portrayed the minister’s shrewdness, patriotism and unflinching loyalty to the king in the direst of circumstances. Being instrumental in the upbringing of the young prince right till the crowning, thimmarasu was a very prominent figure in krishnadevaraya’s life. Our hearts broke when krishnadevaraya orders his most trusted minister to be blinded, suspecting thimmarasu’s involvement in his son’s death by poisoning.
Leelavathi in Naa ninna mareyalaare - Dr Rajkumar garnered tremendous fan following after this blockbuster movie. The main attraction, it can be said, of this movie was the scintillating exchange of dialogues between rajkumar and leelavathi. Leelavathi, who was one of the yesteryear leading heroines for Rajkumar (eg: Veerakesari) played his nemesis in this movie by being instrumental in separating Lakshmi from Rajkumar. Her haughtiness and arrogance lent an extraordinary credibility to this character and viewers couldn't wait to see more of the two onscreen albeit without being paired opposite one another.
Rajanand in Ranganayaki - Rajanand essayed one of the most poignant roles to have ever come on kannada screen in the movie ranganayaki. Being the owner of a theatre group, the passion which propels you to continue amidst all the struggles and failure and ultimately the realisation that what you see onscreen is temporary was portrayed beautifully by him. One scene which is etched in my memory is when Rajanand considers Ashok's proposal to Aarthi. He shows Ashok behind the stage and tells him that ultimately it is just cardboard and props. He warns Ashok that what seemed so magnificent onstage is nothing but a well played illusion and that behind the scenes is the stark reality.
I have outlined only a few of the innumerable character artists and the roles they have made so popular. A supporting character artists' list is never complete without the quintessential mother of kannada screen - Pandaribaayi :-). In the recent times, Ananth Nag and Vishnuvardhan have successfully transitioned from leading roles to supporting characters. The most memorable of them is Ananth Nag in mungaru maLe, Vishnuvardhan in aapthamitra, sirivantha, Ambarish in Gowdru amongst others.