Leelavathi at Kalamandira, Mysore
|Occupation||Actress, film producer, writer, philanthropist|
Leelavathi (born Leela Kiran in 1937) is an Indian actress who worked in Kannada, Tamil and Telugu films. She has acted with actors such as Rajkumar, Vishnuvardhan, M. G. Ramachandran, N. T. Rama Rao, Sivaji Ganeshan, Gemini Ganesan, Shankar Nag, Kamal Hassan, Rajinikanth, Chiranjeevi, V Ravichandran, Sudeep and various popular artists. She has acted in more than 600 films (more than 400 in Kannada alone) throughout her career for more than 50 years. Her performance in Naagarahaavu, Avargal are remembered and prominent among the people.
Leelavathi has won various awards throughout her career, including the Rajkumar Award in 1999, State awards and Filmfare Awards.
Apart from playing the role of heroine to Rajkumar, she has the rare distinction of having played his daughter (in Bhoodana), sister (in Vathsalya), sister in law (in Premamayi), paternal aunt (in Shravana Banthu) and mother in law (in Jwaalamukhi).
After moving to Mysore, she got a small role in Chanchala Kumari and then in Shanker Singh's film Naga Kannika. She joined the Mahalinga Bhagavathar team Sri Sahitya Samrajya Drama troupe. She got a chance to act in Subbainaidu's 1958 movie Bhakta Prahlada. In Mangalya Yoga, Dharma Vijaya and Ranadheera Kanteerava , she got paltry roles. It was from Rani Honnamma that Leelavathi became a full-fledged heroine and never turned back. In Santha Thukaram, Kantheredu Nodu, Kaivara Mahatme, Gaali Gopura, Kanyarathna, Kulavadhu, Veera Kesari, Mana Mecchida Madadi , she proved her mettle as a competitive heroine. Even when she started accepting the supporting actress, she took care to see that her acting was powerful enough with films like Gejje Pooje and Doctor Krishna for which she received the Karnataka State Award.
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- First Film in Kannada: Mangalya Yoga
- First Film in Tamil: Pattinathaar
- First Film in Telugu: Marmayogi
- First Film in Malayalam: Pamasiraja
- First Film in Tulu: Saviradoorthi Savitri
Awards and recognitions
- Honorary Doctorate: Leelavathi was conferred with the honorary doctorate from the Tumkur University in the year 2008 for her contribution to the southern cinema.
- Her movies which won Rashtrapati Award:
- Maduve Maadi Nodu
- Santha Thukaram
- Karnataka State Film Awards:
- 1969-70 - Gejje Pooje
- 1971-72 - Sipayi Ramu
- 1989-90 - Doctor Krishna
- Lifetime Achievement Award:
- Filmfare Awards South
- Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress – Kannada for Kannadada Kanda in 2006
She was hospitalised on 15 October 2011, and had sustained heart problem. An operation was carried on, and she recovered from it. Her reports of hospitalization was concealed by her son Vinod Raj, but later it came into light by TV9 News report telecasted on 25 October.