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Kalpana (Kannada actress)

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Name  Sharat Lata
Full Name  Sharat Lata
Parents  Krishnamurthy, Janakamma
Role  Film actress
Occupation  Actress
Other names  "Minugu Taare"

Born  8 July 1943 (age 35) South Canara, Madras Presidency, British India
Similar People  Puttanna Kanagal, Vijaya Bhaskar, KSL Swamy, Geethapryia, G K Venkatesh
Died  12 May 1979 (aged 35), Sankeshwar, Karnataka, India

Kalpana (8 July 1943 – 12 May 1979), born Sharat Lata, was a Kannada film actress. She was affectionately referred to as Minugu Taare ("A Shining Star") among the film fraternity. She was widely recognised as one of the greatest actresses of Kannada cinema who enjoyed both fan following and critical acclaim. She made her screen debut as a lead actress in the 1963 release Saaku Magalu directed by veteran B.R. Pantulu. During a career that spanned from the early 1960s to the late 1970s, Kalpana appeared in numerous commercially successful as well as critically appreciated films, many of which featured her alongside actor Rajkumar. She worked in few Tamil, Tulu, Malayalam and Telugu films as well. Many of her successful films were female-centric that gave ample scope for her performance.


One of her best-known roles was that of 'Kaveri' in the multi-award-winning film Sharapanjara released in 1971, a performance that won her Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actress for that year. Her portrayal of a highly spirited and complex woman who fights her mental trauma won her the largest fan following ever for a Kannada actress. Her association with the veteran film maker Puttanna Kanagal both professionally and personally became the talk of the town back in the 1970s. They both went on to work in many commercially and critically successful films until they grew apart. In her career Kalpana received Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Kannada once and Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actress three times.

Kalpana singing while wearing a traditional Indian dress, nose-jewel, necklace, and earrings

Kalpana committed suicide at the age of 35 on 12 May 1979 after her alleged failed romance with Gudigeri Basavaraj. Her career was in decline at the time of her death. A film based on her life, titled Abhinetri, was released in 2015.

Kalpana smiling while looking afar and wearing earrings, necklace, and blouse

ಮಿನುಗುತಾರೆಯ ಸಾವಿನ ಸುತ್ತ | Kalpana | Actress | Death Secret | SPEED NEWS KANNADA |

Early life

Kalpana was born to a Tulu speaking couple, Krishnamurthy and Janakamma, as Sharat Lata in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka state. She was very passionate about acting and took part in all the talent competitions held at her school. She was also very conscious about prevailing style statement but had her own distinct style in her outfits. She, along with her younger brother and her mother moved to the Uttara Kannada district to experience the basics of movie and stage performances. When she moved to Davangere, she was introduced to Shiv Kumar who took her to Madras and introduced her to Narsimharaju. She was given a break into films by noted director B. R Pantulu who was impressed by her. Kalpana decided that she wanted to be an established film actress and soon achieved her goal and gained prominence in the industry.


On the left, Kalpana smiling and wearing a traditional Indian dress,  necklace, and earrings while on the right is her audio jukebox hits

Sharat lata was recruited to the Kannada film industry in 1963 by director B.R. Pantulu for his Rajkumar-starrer Saaku Magalu. Later Changed her screen name to Kalpana. However, it was the 1967 released Belli Moda Directed by Puttanna Kanagal that brought her to the forefront. This portrayal of hers was instantly accepted and she soon was catapulted to the top among the actresses of the 1960s. She dominated the Kannada film industry during the late 1960s and 1970s and was critically acclaimed for some of her author-backed roles in movies like Sharapanjara, Gejje Pooje, Belli Moda, Eradu Kanasu, Kappu Bilupu, Bayalu Daari, Gandhada Gudi and Bangarada Hoovu. She worked with almost all the leading actors and directors of her time. Her most frequent co-stars were Rajkumar, Gangadhar and Udaya Kumar. P. Susheela and S. Janaki were the regular voices behind her songs in the films. She gave a competition to her contemporaries such as Jayanthi, Bharathi, Aarathi, and Manjula among others.

Kalpana with a tight-lipped smile and wearing a traditional Indian dress, necklace, and earrings

Initially she was the most favoured actress of ace director Puttana Kanagal. Their association produced some of the finest movies in the history of Kannada cinema. Many of their films had strong, hard-hitting messages which were treasured in the cinema history. Kanagal groomed Kalpana to a great extent and they were also romantically linked by the media, much to their denial. However, they fell apart due to misunderstandings and Kanagal went on to groom other heroines like Aarathi and Padma Vasanti while Kalpana featured in some average and above average films later on. Her efforts to resurrect her career failed. Even though her later movies with Rajkumar (Daari Tappida Maga and Eradu Kanasu), and Ananth Nag (Bayaludaari) were hits, they failed to do her any good. By 1977 she had no movies in hand. She then started focusing on drama companies in Uttara Karnataka and mainly worked in Gudigeri Basavaraj's drama company. With mounting debts and declining film offers, she went into deep depression.

Kalpana smiling while wearing a blouse and necklace

She had also acted in a few Tamil and Telugu movies, such as Madras to Pondicherry and Sadhu Mirandal.These films were later made in Hindi as Bombay to Goa and Sadhu Aur Shaitan. Both the films were very successful at the box office. She also acted in Koti Channayya, a Tulu movie, directed by K. Shivaram Karanth. She also acted in Malayalam movie School Master. She lived for only 35 years of which she had spent 15 years in sandalwood film industry. She won the Karnataka state award for Best Actress thrice for Belli Moda, Hannele Chiguridaaga and Sharapanjara. In her film career, she has acted over eighty movies of which majority are in Kannada.

Fashion icon

Kalpana singing while wearing a traditional Indian dress, necklace, and earrings

Kalpana was a fashion icon of her time. Her elegance, taste and sophistication in dressing could not be matched by other female stars of the time. The mega sleeve blouses, frill blouses are her contribution to Karnataka's style. Some of her fashion statements are big ear rings, big rings in the hand, brocade silk saris, chiffon saris, Bangles and long necklaces.


Kalpana's high-profile career ended with her tragic death in 1979. Her suicide was due to severe health issues, low financial status and alleged failed romance.


Filmfare Awards South
  • Best Actress – Kannada – Yaava Janmada Maitri (1972)
  • Karnataka State Film Awards
  • Best Actress – Belli Moda (1967)
  • Best Actress – Hannele Chiguridaga (1968)
  • Best Actress – Sharapanjara (1971)
  • References

    Kalpana (Kannada actress) Wikipedia