M. V. Rajamma

M. V. Rajamma (10 March 1921 – 23 April 1999) was an Indian actress, producer and playback singer of Indian films mostly in Kannada, Tamil and Telugu languages from the 1930s through 1970s. She has the distinction of having acted as both heroine and mother to stalwart South Indian actors such as Dr. Rajkumar, Sivaji Ganesan, MGR and NTR.[2] Karnataka Government established M. V. Rajamma Award in her honor.[3]

M. V. Rajamma
Rajamma in the 1940s
Born(1921-03-10)10 March 1921
Akandanahalli, Kingdom of Mysore
Died23 April 1999(1999-04-23) (aged 78)[1]
Chennai, India
OccupationActress, film producer, playback singer
Years active1934–1985
Spouse(s)M. C. Veer

Making her debut as a lead actress in the 1936 released Samsara Nauka Rajamma enjoyed an elaborate career in feature films across South India. She was the first and foremost woman producer in India and in Kannada films.[4] She produced the film Radha Ramana in 1943 under her own home banner Vijaya Films.[5] Her entry to the Tamil films was through the 1940 classic hit film Uthama Puthiran. She went on to star in about 60 Kannada, 80 Tamil, 20 Telugu and one Hindi films in her career spanning around four decades.

Early lifeEdit

Rajamma was born in 1921 at Agandanahalli, a village in today's Bangalore Urban district, hitherto a part of Kingdom of Mysore. Her father Nanjappa, a merchant, was fond of stage and encouraged her to act. Rajamma joined the theatre group Chandrakala Nataka Mandali as a teenager and performed in plays alongside B. R. Panthulu, who she would go on to collaborate frequently on stage and in films.[6] She did her schooling at the Arya Balika school in Bangalore till the eighth grade. She later shifted base to Chennai for doing films.[7]


In the early 1930s, Rajamma was attracted to the stage theatre and entered the field at a time when male actors disguised themselves to play female characters. Rajamma enacted several inspiring roles in dramas such as Samsara Nauke, Gauthama Buddha and Subhadra. In 1935, when one of her stage plays Samsara Nauke was made into a film, she was cast again as the lead actress opposite to Panthulu. They went on to work together in many films for about 20 years. In 1940, she entered Tamil film industry in Chennai with the film Uthama Puthiran. From then on, she became one of the most sought after actresses across all the South Indian film industries. After her marriage, she concentrated mainly on playing motherly roles to the actors whom she had paired as a heroine earlier.

In 1943, Rajamma took her career to another level by producing the Kannada film Radha Ramana directed by Jyothish Sinha that featured herself opposite B. R. Panthulu in the lead. Acclaimed artists such as Balakrishna and G. V. Iyer were introduced through this film. It went on to perform well at the box-office which resulted in her second production venture Makkala Rajya (1960). Though the film was lauded by the critics, the box-office collections soared which made her back off from film production for a long while. However, she went on to star in many box-office blockbusters in both Kannada and Tamil film industries.

Some of the most popular Kannada films featuring Rajamma as a lead actress were Bhakta Prahalada (1942), Rathnagiri Rahasya (1957), School Master (1958), Abba Aa Hudugi (1959) among others.


Selected filmographyEdit

Year Film Language Notes
1935 Samsara Nauka Kannada Debut as actor
1938 Yayathi Tamil Devayani (heroine)
1940 Uthama Puthiran Tamil
1941 Gumasthavin Penn Tamil
1941 Madanakamarajan Tamil
1942 Anantha Sayanam Tamil
1942 Bhakta Prahlada Telugu
1943 Radha Ramana Kannada
1946 Artha Naari Tamil
1946 Vijayalakshmi Tamil
1947 Yogi Vemana Telugu
1948 Gnana Soundari Tamil
1948 Gokuladasi Tamil
1949 Velaikaari Tamil
1949 Laila Majnu Tamil
1950 Parijatham Tamil
1950 Raja Vikrama Tamil
1952 Thai Ullam Tamil
1952 Penn Manam Tamil
1952 Zamindar Tamil
1953 Ulagam Tamil
1954 Karkottai Tamil
1954 Iddaru Pellalu Telugu
1955 Modala Thedi Kannada
1955 Nambekka Kannada
1957 Thangamalai Ragasiyam Tamil
1957 Rathnagiri Rahasya Kannada
1957 Manalane Mangayin Bhagyam Tamil
1958 School Master Kannada
1958 Engal Kudumbam Perisu Tamil
1958 Illarame Nallaram Tamil
1959 Bhaaga Pirivinai Tamil
1959 Abba Aa Hudugi Kannada
1960 Kuzhandaigal Kanda Kudiyarasu Tamil
1960 Makkala Rajya Kannada
1960 Kairaasi Tamil
1961 Thayilla Pillai Tamil
1961 Pava Mannippu Tamil
1962 Padithaal Mattum Podhuma Tamil
1962 Aadi Perukku Tamil
1962 Kudumba Thalaivan Tamil
1962 Thayiya Karulu Kannada
1962 Deivathin Deivam Tamil
1962 Gaali Gopura Kannada
1962 Gaali Medalu Kannada
1962 Bandha Pasam Tamil
1962 Paadha Kaanikkai Tamil
1963 Panathottam Tamil
1963 Dharmam Thalai Kaakkum Tamil
1963 Sathi Shakti Kannada
1963 Kungumam Tamil
1964 Chinnada Gombe Kannada
1964 Pasamum Nesamum Tamil
1964 Karnan Tamil
1964 Muradan Muthu Tamil
1965 Thayin Karunai Tamil
1965 Vaazhkai Padagu Tamil
1966 Enga Paapa Tamil
1966 Yemme Thammanna Kannada
1970 Sri Krishnadevaraya Kannada
1970 Thedi Vandha Mappillai Tamil
1971 Thayi Devaru Kannada
1971 Maalathi Madhava Kannada
1972 Jaga Mecchida Maga Kannada
1972 Ondu Hennina Kathe Kannada
1972 Badi Panthulu Telugu
1973 Bangarada Panjara Kannada
1974 Sampathige Savaal Kannada
1975 Daari Tappida Maga Kannada
1976 Besuge Kannada


  1. ^ http://www.tribuneindia.com/1999/99apr25/nation.htm
  2. ^ "M. V. Rajamma, the favorite 'Amma'". Kalyanamalai. Archived from the original on 27 March 2013.
  3. ^ https://www.deccanherald.com/content/599414/annual-film-awards-presented.html
  4. ^ "MV Rajamma – First Kannada Women Producer". Chitraloka. 16 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Do you know the First Woman Producer of Kannada?". Reelbox.
  6. ^ Bhaktavatsala, M. (29 August 1999). "The two of a pair". Deccan Herald. Archived from the original on 7 June 2000. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  7. ^ "MV Rajamma article". Kannada Ratna. Archived from the original on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.

External linksEdit