SK Bhagawan, a well-known veteran Kannada film director, passed away this morning in Bengaluru. He was 89 years old. The cause of death is suspected to be an age-related illness. More information is awaited in this regard.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai took to Twitter a few hours ago to confirm the news and express his condolences. He wrote a special message in Kannada for the late director, which translates to – “Shri S. K. is a well-known Kannada film director. I was devastated to hear of Bhagawan’s death. I am praying for his soul. I pray that God gives his family the strength to bear this pain.”
He continued, “The Dorai-Bhagawan duo has given many tasteful films to Kannada cinema. Dr and his friend Dorai Raj directed 55 films, including ‘Kasthuri Niwas’, ‘Eradu Soyam’, ‘Bayalu Dari’, ‘Giri Kanye’, and ‘Hosa Lekuk’ starring Rajkumar. Om Shantih.”
Bhagawan, who was born on July 5, 1933, began performing in theater plays at a young age alongside Hirannaiah Mithra Mandali. He began working in the film industry in 1956 as Kanagal Prabhakar Shastri’s assistant. Soon after, he was listed as co-director of Rajadurgada Rahasya with A.C. Narasimha Murthy (1967). He made his professional directorial debut with Jedara Bale (1968), which he co-directed with Dorai Raj under the name Dorai-Bhagavan. They were the first Kannada filmmakers to create films in the style of James Bond.
In the years since, the duo has directed a number of films, including Kasturi Nivasa, Eradu Kanasu, Bayaludaari, Gaalimaatu, Chandanada Gombe, Hosa Belaku, Benkiya Bale, Jeevana Chaitra, and more Bond-style films such as Goa Dalli C.I.D 999, Operation Jackpot Nalli C.I.D 999, and the team produced a number of films with Anant Nag and Lakshmi, most of which were adapted from books, alongside Rajkumar.
Bhagawan took a long break from directing after Dorai Raj died; their last film together was ‘Baalondu Chaduranga’ in 1996. At the age of 85, he made a comeback in 2019 with ‘Aduva Gombe,’ his 50th film.