Legendary actress Leelavati passes away at 86


Team Udayavani, Dec 8, 2023, 6:12 PM IST

Legendary actress Leelavati, aged 86, breathed her last on Friday evening at a private hospital in Nelamangala. The veteran artist, who had been grappling with age-related ailments, succumbed to the illness, marking the end of an illustrious career that spanned over five decades.

Leelavati was under the care of her son Vinod Raj at their residence in Soladeva’s village, Nelamangala. She made an indelible mark in Indian cinema, showcasing her acting prowess in Kannada, Tamil, and Telugu films.

Assuming the stage name of ‘Leela Kiran’ from Belthangadi in Dakshina Kannada district, Leelavathi is remembered for her role in ‘Bhakta Kumbara’, ‘Santha Thukaram’, ‘Bhatka Prahlada’, ‘Mangalya Yoga’ and Mana Mechchida Madadi.

Throughout her distinguished career, Leelavati graced the silver screen with her talent, featuring in over 600 films, with more than 400 of them in Kannada. Her memorable performances in classics like “Bhakta Kumbara,” “Mana Mecchidha Madadi,” and “Sant Tukaram” elevated her to the pinnacle of popularity.

In recognition of her outstanding contributions, she was honored with the prestigious Dr. Rajkumar Award and Filmfare Awards in 1999.

Mourning the demise of his mother, Vinod Raj said, “I am now left alone. Thankfully Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy CM D K Shivakumar got her admitted to the hospital.”

Her journey as an artist started after she joined Sri Sahitya Samrajya Drama Company.

She began her film career with ‘Chanchala Kumari’ and ‘Nagakannika’. Later, she joined Subbaiah Naidu’s drama company and played a small role in ‘Bhakta Prahlada’ in 1958.

She had worked in many movies with Kannada matinee idol Dr Rajkumar where she played a variety of roles.

She had twice won the national award and state awards six times, according to family sources.

A week ago, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, his deputy D K Shivakumar, noted Kannada film actor Shiva Rajkumar and several others had visited her at her residence.

Mourning Leelavathi’s death, Siddaramaiah said the news of her passing is ‘painful’.

“Last week, after hearing about her illness, I visited her home and inquired about her health and talked to her son Vinod Raj… I pray for her soul to rest in peace…” Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, former chief ministers B S Yediyurappa, Basavaraj Bommai and H D Kumaraswamy too condoled the demise of Leelavathi.

 

(With PTI inputs)

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