indian cinema heritage foundation

Hunsur Krishnamurthy

  • Real Name: K M Hunasur, Gouthama
  • Born: 9 February 1914
  • Died: 13 February 1989
  • Primary Cinema: Kannada
  • First film: Hemareddy Mallamma (1945)
  • Last film: Shiva Kotta Sowbhagya (1985)
  • Parents: M Rajarao, Padmavatamma
  • Spouse: Sarojamma
  • Children: Narahari, Siriprasad, Chandrika, Mallika, Renuka

Born on 9th February 1914 in Hunsur to M Rajarao and Padmavati, it was theatre and plays that provided the initial push to Hunsur Krishnamurthy to slowly graduate into films and film direction.

Having worked with eminent theatre persons such as Gubbi Veeranna, Mohammed Peer and B R Panthulu, who later on became filmmakers in their own right, Hunsur Krishnamurthy’s forte lay in mostly mythological films such as Satya Harishchandra, Bhakta Kumbara and Babruvahana. Besides being both critical and commercial successes, they were also etched as milestone movies of Kannada cinema and more so of thespian Dr Rajkumar who strode moviedom like a colossus.

After initial schooling in Hunsur and later on at Sharada Vilas High School and Basayya School, in Mysore, Krishnamurthy honed his film skills initially as a scriptwriter and lyricist before eventually branching out into film direction for which he did a stint at Bombay Talkies. 

He initially worked for Bangalore-based Bharat Nataka Company as playwright and scenarist, before his Bombay Talkies stint. He also worked with Marathi stage actor Bal Gandharva's theatre troupe. Krishnamurthy entered Kannada cinema primarily as a dialogue writer for films such as Hemareddy Mallamma (1945) and Krishnaleele (1947), besides screenplays for films and lyrics for films such as Kanyadana, (1954), Devakannika (1954) and Sodari (1955). 

He debuted as a director in 1958 with mythological film Shree Krishna Gaarudi and followed it up with Veera Sankalpa (1964), Satya Harishchandra (1965), Sri Kannika Parameshwari Kathe (1966), Bhakta Kumbara (1974), Babruvahana (1977), Bhakta Siriyala (1980), Bhakta Dnyanadeva (1982) and Shiva Kotta Sowbhagya (1985). 

His Satya Harishchandra won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Kannada. His 1977 film Veera Sindhoora Lakshmana, based on the life of Lakshmana, a freedom fighter who fought the British during the Indian freedom struggle, turned out to be a major commercial success.