Master Hirannaiah – Tribute to a legend

Master Hirannaiah – Tribute to a legend

Master  Hirannaiah – known by his stage name was a film actor in the Kannada Film industry and a theatre artist in Karnataka. Some of the notable films of Master Hirannaiah as an actor include ….Re (2016),  Care of Footpath2 (2015), No, 73, Shanthi Nivasa.

Hirannaiah passed away in his sleep at BGS hospital in Bangalore early on May 2nd 2019. He was 85.  He was  suffering from a liver ailment.  He is survived by his wife and five children.  The corpse will be kept for public viewing from 11:30 at his residence in Banashankari.

If there was one man who can be described as a modern day  Don Quixote, then it was this actor-director- theatre evangelist, targeting the corrupt in a fashion that has earned him the moniker ‘Karnataka’s Anna Hazare’.

Master Hirannaiah’s barbs at the political class, reduced the audience to tears and laughter, but they never failed to send home the message. Not in the early fifties when he started, not today, when the corrupt call the shots.

Early life of Hirannaiah :

Hirannaiah was born at Kanathur Village on 15 February 1934.  His father K. Hirannaiah too was an Indian film actor, director, and writer in the Kannada film industry and a theatre artist.His mother was Sharadamma.

After finishing primary education in Banumayya Middle school, Hirannaiah completed intermediate in Sharada Vilas, Mysuru.  In his childhood days, he distributed newspaper Sadhvi  to pay fees for his education, while actively participating in drama and theatre plays.

After his father’s death, Hirannaiah took over the management of the K.Hirannaiah Mitra Mandali, which was founded by his late father. Later he became actor, director and administrator of the theatre company.

Life at Theatre – Master Hirannaiah :

His dramas have not only entertained the people of Karnataka but have also enlightened his audiences with virtues and principles. Laanchavatara, Kapil Mushti, Naadu Beedi Narayana, Bhrashtachaara, and Anaachaara are some of his popular dramas.

Known for his use of humour and satire to bring to light the most serious of issues the country faces, this veteran actor believed that theatre has the power to educate people without being preachy. It can touch the most common man, sitting in the last row, by just showing the person what the issue is.

Some of his acclaimed movies are Mussanje, Hudgeer Saar Hudgeeru, The City, Marma, Chor Guru Chandal Shishya, Operation Antha, Chor Guru Chandal Shishya, Harakeya Kuri, Kalyanothsava, Harakeya Kuri, Sampradaya, Hosa Madam, Runa Mukthalu, Runa Mukthalu, Chintamani, Madhura Sangama, Muttaide Bhagya, Daiva Sankalpa, and Modala Thedi.


Master Hirannaiah has been part of more than 30 movies in Kannada. His notable drama plays include Lanchavathara, Double Thaali, Kanya Dahana, Sanyashi Samsara, Chamachavathara, Haasyadalli Ulta Palta,  Kapil Mushti, Nadubidi Narayana, Bhrashtachaara,Anaachaara, with Lanchavathara playing more than 11 thousand d times, over a span of 45 years, performing in countries like United States, Australia, Singapore, and England.

When asked about ‘struggling actors’ in this competitive space, he said that every other great personality struggled initially while they started off in theatre. He cited examples of Dr. Rajkumar, Dr .Vishnuvardhan and Anupam Kher who began their journey with plays and later progressed into films.

The Awards won by Master Hirannaiah :

Master Hirannaiah, also known as Narasimha Murthy is a theater legend and an anti-corruption crusader from Karnataka. Hirannaiah has to credit recognitions and awards such as the Gubbi Veeranna Award, Karnataka’s very own Anna Hazare and King of Stage.

Karnataka State Award (1984)

Rajyotsava Prashasti

Gubbi Veeranna Award (1988)

Drama Academy Award

Sandesha Arts Awad (2009)

18th Anakru Nirman Swarna Award (2013)

Maha Advaithi Award (2017)

Alva’s Nudisiri Award (2005)

Comments :

According to Hirannaiah, the drama is for the public, and from the public. He said that one has to evolve and reach the audience effectively. According to him as an actor, one should try different characters, and the capacity to entertain the public is the best example of succeeding in one’s attempt.

According to  Hirannaiah fine arts have no limitation, boundaries, language, and religion. Art takes one to a completely different world, filled with creative and beautiful feelings.

Hirannaiah was also a crusader against corruption and strongly believed that the youth can fight against it. He also advocated unity among youth.

Hirannaiah Award :

Master Hirannaiah established the Hirannaiah  Award, in memory of his father who was known popularly as “Cultural Comedian” or ” cultured comedian”.

Hirannaiah Awards are presented on behalf of Karnataka Nataka Academy, to theatre artists (native name: Rangamukhagalu) for their notable drama works. First award ceremony was held on 17 April 2010, at the Jaganmohan Palace Auditorium in Mysuru.

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