Rajesh was born as Vidyasagar in 1935 in Bangalore, India. He grew up watching then stars such as Thyagaraja Bhagavatar, Rajakumari and T. R. Mahalingam. He developed interest in theatre from his childhood and joined Sudarshana Nataka Mandali without his parents' knowledge. He grew up in life watching Thyagaraja Bhagavathar, Rajakumari BU, PU Chinnappa, TR Mahalingam, Shivakavi devotional works. Firstly, he joined Sudarshana Nataka Samsthe. My parents were not aware. he was uttering lie. In the name of tuition he was going for practice and the first role he got was ‘Sri Rama’. From pamphlets my parents came to know that he have joined theatre troupe. He currently lives in Vidyaranyapura, Bangalore.
Rajesh initially worked as a typist in government offices. Later he formed the Shakti Nataka Mandali, staging many popular plays. One fine day he got up from the sleet and started writing a play on unemployment. It was titled as ‘Nirudyogi Baalu’. The play he directed later. Got good appreciation. ‘Badavana Baalu’ was his next and it continued like that. Playwright Basheer asked to him act in plays and he was in Visha Sarpa, Nandadeepa, Chandrodaya and Kittur Rani Chennamma. Thackeray role was well received.
His theatre performances eventually progressed to film roles. It was veteran director Hunsur Krishnamurthy who introduced Vidyasagar in Veera Sankalpa.He applied for 15 days leave to his job and went to Madras. While acting in this film he got offer for ‘Sri Ramanjeneya Yuddha’. Dr Rajakumar was Sri Rama and he was Bharatha, Udayakumar was Anjaneya. It was a successful film. While acting in his second film he got offer from BR Panthuluji for ‘Gange Gowri’. Dr Rajkumar was ‘Shiva’ and he was ‘Maha Vishnu’. For some politics he rejected the offer in ‘Jeevana Tharanga’. he kept quiet for two years and came back to Bangalore. But Narayan Seth from Mumbai came in touch with him and took him to CV Shivashanker. That was the new beginning of his life. Vidyasagar became Rajesh and the film was ‘Namma Ooru’.He was not only good at acting but also a good singer.
The turning point was Namma Ooru in 1968. Directed by C.V. Shivashankar, it was a runaway hit and then Finance Minister Ramakrishna Hegde gave it a 100 per cent tax exemption. It was the film's producer B.S. Narayan,Late Shri Suryanarayan Rao & Late J N Shetty who rechristened Vidyasagar as Rajesh and after that, he was flooded with offers, the song "Hoogadhiri Soohdarare" of the film Namma Ooru is a famous Hit. He recently acted in Nanna Gopala, a children film directed by Lakshman. Though he started little late compared to the Kumars - Udaykumar, Rajkumar and Kalyan Kumar, they were all contemporaries. In that competitive period, Rajesh stood strong for his terrific performance on silver screen in Kannada cinema. In the charged up roles similar to what counterpart Sivaji Ganesan was doing the stellar performance of Rajesh was well received. He was not only good in acting but also in singing.
He was doing what Chi Udayashanker famous cinema writer was doing in the office. In the ledger books he was keeping the famous novels and reading. Chi Udayashanker was sent out from office for that. Even he also faced the same situation. After he became hero as Rajesh he have acted with Dr Rajakumar again in Devara Makkalu, Prathidwani, Kranthiveera. In ‘Devara Gudi’ he was with Vishnuvardhana in an important role. From 1975 he got various good offers. Devara Duddu, Badhu Bangaravaythu, Beluvaladha Madilalli, Mugiyadha Kathe, which all one after the other became hits. It was a lifetime role for him in ‘Beluvaladha Madilalli’. Kaliyuga, Pitamaha. Satyanarayana Pooja Phale, Karna, and the recent Bhimoos Bang Bang Kids of SV Rajendra Singh Babu he played important roles.
He is of the notion that, in the 1950 onwards Honnappa Bhagavatar, Rajkumar, Udayakumar, Kalyankumar, B.R. Pantulu, K. S. Ashwath, Narasimha raju, Balakrishna, Iyer, B. Saroja Devi, Leelavathi, Pandari Bai, MV Rajamma, Mynavathi, Vandhana, Kalpana, Jayanthi, Bharathi enriched the film industry. But, now Rajesh regrets that Kannada films produced in the recent times have lost their credence in the absence of good story and social commitment. The yesteryear star says "Those films had a message for the society besides providing healthy entertainment. But the films that have come after 1980 lack social commitment and are of cheap taste. The technological development and huge money being spent on films have not been used by filmmakers for the good of the society,"
- Ravi Varmana - Sose Thanda Sowbhagya
- Indina hindu deshada - Kappu Bilapu
- Mutthu Uruli Hogi, Kangalu Vandane Needidhe - Mughiyada Kathe.
- Ee desha chenna - Kaveri
- Krishna Gaaliyapata - Devarda duddu
- Mareyadhiru Aa Shaktiya - Pitamaha
- Beluvalada Madilalli - Beluvalada Madilalli
- Tari Kere Yeri Mele - Devara Duddu
- Hogadhiri sohadare - Namma Ooru
- Alli illi hudukuthe yeke - Boregowda Bengalurige Banda
- Devanobba - Namma Oora Devaru
- Siri Kannada Nadu - Swarnabhoomi
- Kanada Devaru - Kappu Bilapu
Honorary Doctorate: For his contribution to Indian Cinema and achievements in the Kannada Film Field for four and a half decades, legendary actor Rajesh was conferred the honorary doctorate by the Karnataka University in the year 2012.Please refine and expand this Filmography. The List contains only selected movies in Lead Role
:Refer: Kannada films of the 1960s, Kannada films of the 1970s