Upendra Rao, widely known by his first name, turns a year older on September 18. He is a filmmaker, actor, film producer, screenwriter and singer known for his work in Kannada cinema. He is famous for his thematic depiction of Indian society and politics in his works. Upendra entered the world of films as a writer and also an assistant director with Kashinath. His debut directorial project was Tharle Nan Maga (1992). After a decade of acting stint in Kannada, Telugu and Tamil cinema, he made a comeback to filmmaking with Kannada film Super (2010), which did well critically and commercially. Upendra was revered with an honorary doctorate in 2015.
On the occasion of his birthday, let’s look at some of the best works in his career:
A, directed by Upendra, became the first directional nonconformity in storytelling in Kannada industry. The film starred Upendra along with Chandini, Archana and Marina. The story was about a young filmmaker who falls for his heroine. A was remade in Tamil as Adavadi. Upendra won the Best Male Actor Udaya Film Award for the role.
The psychological thriller film was written and helmed by Upendra. It featured Upendra, Raveena Tandon, Prema and Damini in main roles. The film was declared a blockbuster and had a 200 days run in theatres. It tells a story of a man who falls in love with three women at the same time. Upendra won Filmfare Award for Best Film (Kannada) and Filmfare Award for Best Director (Kannada). A sequel of the film, titled Uppi 2 released in 2015.
Nagarahavu is a remake of hit Bollywood film Baazigar that featured Shah Rukh Khan in the main role. Nagarahavu was directed by S Murali Mohan and starred Upendra, Jyothika, Sadhu Kokila and Doddanna. It was an above-average success and was Upendra’s second film where he essayed a negative character.
Raktha Kanneeru (2004)
The Sadhu Kokila directorial broke all box office records in Karnataka and was the highest-grossing of the year. It featured Upendra and Ramya Krishna in leads with Sadhu Kokila, Abhirami and Kumar Bangarappa in other important roles. It was a remake of the 1954 Tamil language film Ratha Kanneer. Upendra penned the screenplay and dialogues of the film.
Super was written and helmed by Upendra and co-starred Nayantara, Sadhu Kokila and Tulip Joshi. The dystopian science fiction film was conceptualised on a utopian futuristic India set in the year 2030. The film made a record collection in the first three days of the opening weekend and was one of the highest grossing Kannada films of 2010.