Vishnuvardhan, the Decent Star, is no more. RIP.

churumuri records with deep regret the passing away of the Mysore-born Kannada superstar H.N. Sampath Kumar, known to the world as Vishnuvardhan, following a heart attack in his home-town on Wednesday morning.

He was 59 years old, and is survived by his wife Bharati and their adopted daughters, Keerthi and Chandana.

Like Rahul Dravid who has always had to play under the shadow of Sachin Tendulkar, Vishnuvardhan’s career coincided with that of the gigantic Dr Raj Kumar, although the two starred together only once.

But, to Vishnuvardhan’s credit, he carved his own niche and won popular and critical appeal with a range of stellar performances in Vamshavrusksha, Nagara Haavu, Muthina Haara, Bandhana, Suprabhatha, Nagara Hole, Nishkarsha and Aaptamitra.

Unlike most Kannada stars, lef-hander Vishnuvardhan bravely tested his star value  in other languages, including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi, acting alongside Sivaji Ganesan, Rajnikanth and Mammootty. And like his good friend Gundappa Vishwanath, he brought grace, style and an essential decency to the acting (and living) crease.

In an industry filled with all kinds of self-appointed stars, to Vishnuvardhan goes the worthy and weighty title, “Decent Star”.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Passion for Cinema: Dr Vishnuvardhan passes away