Kalyan Kumar

Kalyan Kumar (7 June 1928 – 1 August 1999) was an Indian actor, and an occasional film director and producer who worked primarily in Kannada and Tamil cinema. Making his acting debut in the mythological drama Natashekara (1954), Kalyan Kumar went on to star in over 200 films in a span of over five decades. He was among the much sought after actors in the 1950s through 1970s for lead roles.

Kalyan Kumar

(1928-06-07)7 June 1928
Died1 August 1999(1999-08-01) (aged 71)[1]
Karnataka, India
Other namesSampath Kumar, Chokkanna, Venkataranga
OccupationActor, film director, producer
Years active1954–1999
ChildrenBharath Kalyan and Deepak kalyan

Kalyan Kumar has the credit of being the first ever Kannada actor to star in a colour film in Amarashilpi Jakanachari (1963).[2] Alongside Kumar, the 1960s and 1970s in Kannada cinema was dominated by two other actors, Rajkumar and Udayakumar.[3] At a time when actors had a tough time establishing themselves, Kalyan Kumar being successful not only in Kannada cinema, also made a mark in Tamil cinema. Kalyan Kumar along with Udaykumar, Rajkumar were called as "Kumara Thrayaru" (The Kumar Trio) of the Kannada cinema.[4]

Early lifeEdit

Kalyan Kumar was born as Chokkanna in a Tamil speaking Iyengar family on 7 June 1928 in Bangalore, in the erstwhile Princely State of Mysore of British India. His parents wanted him to be a doctor. But passion for acting brought him to Kannada film land. Born as Chokkanna into a middle-class family, Kalyan Kumar became known for his lavishness and sophistication.

Known for sophisticated portrayal of roles he played the hero against J. Jayalalitha in Maavana Magalu in 1965 and Badukuva Daari in 1966. The triumvirate had acted in Bhoodaana which was a hit in 1962. He had also acted in first full-length colour film in Kannada Amarashilpi Jakanachari, in which he played the role of Jakanachari, a historical figure in sculpture.


Kumar set out to Bombay (now Mumbai) to pursue a career as an actor and approached several film producers to get his first break. Unsuccessful there, he left for Madras (now Chennai) in search for opportunities. He was first cast in the Kannada-language film Natashekhara which released in 1954. He was cast opposite Sandhya and Vidyavathy, the mother and aunt respectively of actress and politician J. Jayalalithaa. He was christened Kalyan Kumar after the name of his mother's character in the film, Kalyaniamma. The film's plot drew a parallel between Kumar's unsuccessful tryst with Hindi cinema and an actor's life who transforms himself to attain fame and glory after the release of his first film.[5]

Kumar would go on to appear in several films depicting social conflict. Bhagya Chakra, Mutthaide Bhagya and Sadarame, all of which released in 1956 fell in this genre. In the latter film, Kumar played a thief. His Bettada Kalla (1957), a remake of the Tamil film Malaikkallan (1954), was a commercial success. Kumar then appeared in social-comedies such as Premada Putri (1957) and Rayara Sose (1957). In Bhookailasa (1958), he played Narada alongside Rajkumar's Ravana. In Manege Banda Mahalakshmi (1959), he appeared alongside his future wife Revathi.[5] In the social-drama Bhoodana (1962), set on the backdrop of Bhoodan movement, he starred alongside Rajkumar and Udaykumar; Kumar played Lachcha, the son of Rajkumar's Dasanna, a Hindu who converts to Christianity in search of a better life.[6] In Thayi Karulu that released the same year, Kumar played dual role of a father and son. While in the remainder of the 1960s, he appeared in films such as Subba Shastry (1966), in which he played a priest; Puttanna Kanagal's Belli Moda (1967), both of which were major commercial successes, he also tried his hand in film production. Endu Ninnavane (1966), Kallu Sakkare (1967) and Pravasi Mandira (1968) all turned out to be commercial failures. Which caused his film career to decline.[5]

He would go on to appear in successful films such as Mavana Mgalu, Arishina Kunkuma, Bedi Bandavalu, Kathaa Sangama, and Kaleju Ranga. In G. V. Iyer's 1962 film, Bhoodaana, Kumar appeared alongside Rajkumar and Udayakumar, the only film that featured the trio together.[2] He acted with all the prominent heroines of his time - B Saroja Devi, Sahukar Janaki, Kalpana, Jayanti, Bharati, Aarathi, and Roopadevi.

He acted in several Kannada-Telugu bi-lingual films made in the 1960s by B Vittalacharya, Nagendra Rao and B R Panthulu. He was a regular actor in the early G V Iyer films like Bhoodana, Tayi karalu, Lawyer magalu and Bangari.

He had very few films to his creadit during 1970s namely College Ranga and katha Sangama , Tulasi to name a few. He bounced back during early 1980s through Successful film Taayiya Nudi and played successful character roles in Simha Gharjane , Shubha Muhurtha, Lakshmi Katakasha, Marali Goodige.

He acted in many Tamil films. His Tamil film Nenjil Oru Alayam was later made in Hindi as Dil Ek Mandir with Rajendra Kumar. As he was gaining popularity in Tamil filmdom, he started acting in more of Tamil movies. But, the regional politics reigned over his acting talents.

He was married to Kannada film heroine Revathi. He also produced and directed stage plays like Ramu Nanna Thamma and Chikamma, many of which were written by his wife. His son Bharath Kalyan is a television actor who acted mainly in Tamil serials.[7] Bharath Kalyan has recently rendered his voice for a character artist in Imaikkaa Nodigal (2018).


Please refine and expand this Filmography.


Year Film Language Role Notes
1954 Natashekhara Kannada First lead role
1956 Ohileshwara Kannada
Bhagya Chakra Kannada
Mutthaide Bhagya Kannada
Sadarame Kannada
1957 Rayara Sose Kannada Aravind
Bettada Kalla Kannada
Premada Putri Kannada
1958 Bhookailasa Kannada Narada
1959 Manege Banda Mahalakshmi Kannada


Year Film Language Role Notes
1960 Kadavulin Kuzhandhai Tamil
1961 Thayilla Pillai Tamil
1961 Vijayanagarada Veeraputhra Kannada
1962 Nenjil Or Aalayam Tamil
Gaali Gopura Kannada
Daiva Leele Kannada
Paasam Tamil
Thayi Karulu Kannada
Azhagu Nila Tamil
Bhoodaana Kannada
Seemaan Petra Selvangal Tamil
Devasundari Kannada
Thendral Veesum Tamil
1963 Neengada Ninaivu Tamil
Kadavulai Kanden Tamil
Mani Osai Tamil
Nenjam Marappathillai Tamil
Amarashilpi Jakanachari Kannada First Color Film in Kannada
Lawyer Magalu Kannada
Bangari Kannada
Yarukku Sontham Tamil
1964 Chinnada Gombe Kannada Raja
Mane Aliya Kannada
Annapoorna Kannada Guest appearance
1965 Mavana Magalu Kannada
Balarajana Kathe Kannada
Thayin Karunai Tamil
Beratha Jeeva Kannada Dr. Rajashekhar
Nanna Kartavya Kannada Sundar
1966 Subba Sastry Kannada Anti hero role
Endu Ninnavane Kannada
Badukuva Daari Kannada
Love in Bangalore Kannada
Belli Moda Kannada
1967 Muddu Meena Kannada
1967 Premakku Permitte Kannada
1967 Kallu Sakkare Kannada
1968 Bedi Bandhavalu Kannada
1968 Arunodhaya Kannada
1968 Anna Thamma Kannada
1968 Manku Dinne Kannada
1968 Mysore Tonga Kannada
1968 Pravasi Mandira Kannada
1968 Anandakanda Kannada
1968 Attegondukala Sosegondukala Kannada
1968 Mammathe Kannada
1968 Nane Bhagyavathi Kannada
1968 Savira Mettilu Kannada (remained incomplete and released in 2006, Since Kalyan Kumar died in 1999, Ramakrishna completed his role)
1969 Kannu Muchale Kannada
1969 Niraparadhi Tamil
1969 Mukunda Chandra Kannada
1969 Odahuttidavaru Kannada


Year Film Language Role Notes
1970 Aparajithe Kannada
1970 Arishina Kumkuma Kannada
1971 Papa Punya Kannada
1971 Sedina Kidi Kannada
1971 Amara Bharathi
1974 Avalukku Nihar Avale
1976 Katha Sangama Kannada
1976 Tulasi
1976 College Ranga Kannada Professor Devaiyya
1977 Banashankari Kannada
1977 Mugdha Manava Kannada
1977 Udugore Kannada
1977 Subhashaya Kannada
1978 Anuragha Bandhana Kannada
1979 Maralu Sarapani Kannada


Year Film Language Role Notes
1980 Mother
1983 Nagabekamma Nagabeku Kannada
1983 Simha Garjane Kannada
1983 Chinnadanta Maga Kannada
1983 Thayiya Nudi Kannada
1984 Avala Antaranga Kannada
1984 Police Pappanna Kannada
1984 Guru Bhakti Kannada
1984 Shubha Muhurta Kannada
1984 Marali Goodige Kannada
1985 Kiladi Aliya Kannada
1985 Pudhu Yugam Tamil
1985 Thayi Thande Kannada
1986 Thavaru Mane Kannada
1986 Usha Kannada
1986 Africadalli Sheela Kannada
1987 Thaliya Aane Kannada
1988 Sarkarai Pandal
1988 Oorigittakolli Kannada
1989 Thaligagi Kannada


Year Film Language Role Notes
1990 Bannada Gejje Kannada
1992 Raasukutti Tamil
1993 Amaravathi Tamil Balasubramaniam
1993 Gokulam Tamil
1994 Jai Hind Tamil
1994 Maindhan Tamil
1994 The City Malayalam
1995 Sangeetha Sagara Ganayogi Panchakshara Gavai Kannada Guest role
1995 Kavya Kannada
1996 Hetthavaru Kannada
1998–1999 Akshaya Tamil Veeraraghavan Sun TV weekly serial
1999 Sambhrama Kannada


  1. ^ "Veteran actor Kalyan Kumar dead". Deccan Herald. 2 August 1999. Archived from the original on 12 October 1999. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Fascinating facts of Kannada Film history". Supergoodmovies. 27 July 2010. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Naagarahaavu 1972". The Hindu. 18 October 2008. Archived from the original on 10 November 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  4. ^ Trivia about Kannada Cinema Archived 15 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b c Srinivasa, Srikanth (15 August 1999). "Style and sensibility". Deccan Herald. Archived from the original on 18 January 2000. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  6. ^ Ganesh, Deepa (16 May 2016). "Bhoodana: the classic at 55". The Hindu. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  7. ^ "Minnoviyam Gamut - 1998 Movies - A Preview". www.minnoviyam.com. Archived from the original on 19 February 1999. Retrieved 12 January 2022.

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