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Kannada actor K S Aswath passes away

Last updated on: January 18, 2010 13:06 IST

Kannada actor K S Aswath passes away

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R G Vijayasarathy in Bangalore

Kannada actor K S Aswath, 85, who passed away on Monday morning, was one of the most versatile and talented actors seen on the Kannada screen. He has been associated with the Kannada film industry for more than 54 years and worked in more than 370 Kannada films.

The state government has asked all schools and colleges in the Mysore district to remain closed to honour the departed actor. 

Earlier, the Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had asked the state government to bear the medical expenses of the actor, who had been suffering from a prolonged illness.


Image: K S Aswath

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'Aswath was a role model for many young artists'

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Padma Bhushan B Saroja Devi, who had acted in many films with K S Aswath, describes him as one of the greatest actors seen on the Kannada screen.

'I have acted with him in many films like Anna Thangi, Bhoo Kailasa, Krishna Rukumini Sathyabhama and Kiththoor Chennamma. As an actor, he showed a lot of commitment in understanding his role. As an individual, he led a simple life and was a role model for many young artists. He was known for his disciplined life style. I remember an incident when he was felicitated with his wife by the Kannada film artists association. He told me that his wife was the real backbone of the family and steered through many crisis faced by his family,' said B Saroja Devi.


Image: K S Aswath and Raghav

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'Aswath wanted to know everything about his role'

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Director S V Rajendra Singh Babu described K S Aswath as a perfect actor, who lived his roles.

'He wanted to know everything about his role -- the story and the screenplay. He had acted in many films produced and directed by my father Shankar Singh and later by me. He would keenly watch the reactions of the other artists and always accepted suggestions even from young assistants. When I was an assistant director, I was little scared to bring to his notice a small mistake he had made in his dialogue delivery. I told my director, who, however, did not find anything wrong in his dialogues. But sensing that I was little unhappy, Aswath discussed the issue with me and even requested the director for a retake. Later, he gave a perfect shot," Singh Babu said.


Image: K S Aswath

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A few years ago, Aswath had announced his retirement from acting

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K S Aswath was awarded an hononrary doctorate from Tumkur University, and won Best Actor and Supporting Actor awards from the Karnataka state government.

A few years ago, Aswath had announced his retirement from acting. His sudden decision hurt many Kannada film fans. They wrote many letters to leading newspapers, requesting the actor to change his mind and asking Kannada film personalities to address the problems faced by the veteran actor.

Aswath had decided against returning to films because he could not continue with his commitment and principles in the changed environment. Producers would pay him an advance amount without narrating the story while directors would tend to focus on the lead artists.


Image: K S Aswath

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'Even the dialogue sheets were not given to me'

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Even the dialogue sheets were not given to me. I did not know about my own character or any other details,' Aswath had said. 'I did not know anything about other actors acting with me. I was always focused on my role and wanted to know everything about my role because I had to make preparations. The situation on the field have changed so drastically that I decided to quit acting altogether.'

Image: K S Aswath

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Shabdhavedi saw Aswath and Dr Raj Kumar together

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Aswath did not act in a special appearance role thereafter until he was compelled to do so by the late Dr Raj Kumar.

Dr Raj Kumar wanted Aswath to play an important role in Shabdhavedi (Dr Raj's 205th film), which saw both the legendary actors return to silver screen after nearly five years.

After that, Aswath also acted with Dr Vishnuvardhan in Sirivantha in a small but significant role.


Image: K S Aswath and Dr Raj Kumar

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Aswath had participated in the freedom struggle

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Not many know that his real name was Subbarao Aswath Narayana, and that he had participated in India's freedom struggle against the British Raj.

He started his career as a Kannada hero in Stree Rathna in 1956. He acted in films like Pancharathna, Jenu Goodu, Anna Thangi, Namma Makkalu, Nanda Deepa, Anuraadha and Miss Leelavathi. He also played a villain in films like Jedara Bale but his fans did not like him in negative roles.
 
With his death, an era in Kannada films comes to an end.


Image: K S Aswath

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