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Kannada Film Icons : The Best Known Actors Who Turned Directors

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Kannada Film Industry is one of the most happening places in the Indian entertainment arena. After a decades-long slumber in commercial cinema, the industry finally gave monstrous hits in 2022, making a mark in the entire world. Although late, the development of Kannada cinema has been a building process. Several legendary thinkers, professionals, writers, and actors should be credited for the current state of the Kannada Film Industry. 

It is only recently that the audience has started to recognise the directors because of their appearances in media, earlier it only used to be the actors for obvious reasons. Did you know that these actors started as directors, before venturing into direction? 

  • Shankar Nag

Kannada film industry remembers legendary star Shankar Nag on his birth  anniversary | The News Minute

Shankar Nag. Credits – News Minute


Shankar Nag is one of the greatest performers in the Kannada film industry. The actor was a part of the elite national cinematic revolution in the 1970 and 80s which transcended the gap between commercial and artistic cinema. 

Besides Girish Karnad, Nag was the other Kannada celebrity who made cinema which made the world stop and take notice of the same. Besides being an exemplary actor, Shankar Nag was also a respectable director. He ventured into both the arts around the same time. 

Through decades he managed to keep a high standard of quality in the works of his acting and direction. 

  • Kashinath 

Kashinath, unconventional actor-hero, dies of cancer | Deccan Herald

Kashinath. Credits – Deccan Herald

Kashinath is one of the unsung heroes of the Kannada film industry. The actor has entertained his fans for decades with his sharp and witty dialogue delivery and screen presence. Kashinath did try his hand in direction and was quite successful in the same. After having worked as a director for over a decade, Kashinath entered the acting world.  

Besides his work on screen, he is also known for introducing newer talents in the Kannada film industry. 

  • Upendra

Upendra (Actor) Wiki, Biography, Age, Wife, Movies, Photos - News Bugz

Upendra. Credits – News Bugz

Upendra is one of the most successful actor-directors in Indian cinema. After having entered the industry under the guidance of Kashinath, Upendra made a mark in acting too, and has managed to be relevant for several decades. Upendra made his directorial debut with a film titled ‘Tharle Nan Maga’ in 1992. His acting debut was much later, in 1999 with ‘A’.

Upendra will next be seen in a PAN India movie, co-starring Kiccha Sudeep named Kabzaa. 

  • Kichha Sudeep

Happy Birthday Kiccha Sudeep: Lesser Known Facts About The Dabangg 3 Actor  |

Kiccha Sudeep. Credits –

Kiccha Sudeep is arguably the first PAN India commercial movie star from the Kannada film industry. The actor, who is one of the biggest superstars in the state, has made a variety of content. Besides being an able actor, few people outside of Karnataka are aware of his talent for directing a movie. Kiccha Sudeep made his directorial debut with a 2006 film named ‘My Autograph’. After the critical and commercial success of his first directorial venture, he went on to make the likes of ‘Veera Madakari’, ‘Just Maath Maathalli’, ‘Kempe Gowda’, etc. 


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