indian cinema heritage foundation

K Ashwathamma

  • Born: 1910 (Bangalore)
  • Died: 1944
  • Primary Cinema: Kannada

K Ashwathamma made quite an impact on her short but brilliant career as a film star and singer in Kannada cinema. Born in Bangalore, she first amde her mark on stage in Mohammad Peer's Meenalosani Nataka Sabha. She became a star with her very first appearance on screen in Raja Chandrasekhar's Sadarame (1935). The songs became hugely popular and she also became a recording star. The song Ha Priya prasantha iruthaya from the play Manmatha Vijaya was a landmark hit. She worked in only two more films in her career. Y V Rao's Chintamani (1937) was a huge box office success, running for well over a year. It was Ashwathamma's Tamil debut. Her songs Krishna Krishna, Divya darishanam and the duet with M K Thyagaraja Bhagavathar - Maya prapancham became immensely popular. Such was her popularity all across south India, that even in a Tamil film she was given top billling. The profits of the film were large enough for the proprietors of Rayal Talkies to build a theatre in Madurai called Chintamani. Her last film was Sundar Rao Nadkarni's Shantha Sakku Bai (1939). This film was also a commercial success.

Unfortunately her career came to a tragic end when she contracted tuberculosis and passed away in 1944.