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In Kannada cinema of the 1960s, Leelavathi was the first successful heroine; she died on Friday. The rise of female talent in the Kannada film industry, including Bharathi, Kalpana, Jayanthi, and Chandrakala, coincided with hers.

Veteran Kannada actress Leelavathi dies at 85, Leelavathi, Kannada actress,  Bengaluru

After a successful time in theater, where she was mentored by Subbaiah Naidu and Mahalinga Bhagavatar, Leelavathi ventured into film and made a lasting career.

One of the greatest moments in Kannada cinema history is her on-screen chemistry with actor Dr. Rajkumar. Her performance as a tragic heroine opposite Dr. Rajkumar in the historical drama Ranadheera Kanteerava (1960) garnered her initial attention. She received recognition for her performance in the romantic comedy Rani Honnamma (1960). It’s interesting to note that Dr. Rajkumar and Leelavathi starred in 11 of the 23 Kannada films that were released in 1963.

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