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{{#if:Upendra5.jpg | }} {{#if: September 18, 1967 Barkur | }} {{#if: | }} {{#if:Uppi
Real Star | }} {{#if:Actor, Director, Writer | }} {{#if:- present | }} {{#if:Priyanka Trivedi | }} {{#if:Ayush
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silver|#ed8}}; color:#000;" class="fn" | Upendra
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}} {{#if:September 18, 1967|September 18, 1967
}} Barkur
Other name(s) Uppi
Real Star
Occupation Actor, Director, Writer
Years active - present
Spouse(s) Priyanka Trivedi
Children Ayush
Related To
[ Official website]
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Upendra is a Kannada actor, director and writer. He started his career with a wish to become a director, by assisting Kashinath. He then directed & wrote several movies notably Om, A and Upendra. He switched to acting as his films A and Upendra became popular, and now is a popular actor, not just in Kannada cinema but also in Telugu & Tamil. Uppi as he's fondly called, is now back to writing after a long break with his next Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya.


Early Life

Upendra was born in coastal Karnataka, in the little town of Barkur in a poor middle class family.


As a director & writer

It was Upendra's life's ambition to become a director, for which he first sought to assist director Kashinath. He started off as a director with a typical Kashinath style comedy called Tarle Nan Maga in 1992. The film introduced a talented comedian called Jaggesh, it was also a hit. Upendra directed a horror suspense thriller next called Shhh! The film featured his mentor Kashinath and a young producer and actor named Kumar Govind. The movie was a major commercial success, and Upendra finally could come out as an independant director.

His next film was iconic in Kannada cinema - a gangster film called Om featuring Shiv Rajkumar. The movie also had real gangsters in its cast, and packed a powerful message of peace. The movie was a blockbuster, and it started off a trend of macchu movies that continues in Karnataka to this day. With Om, Upendra also introduced a talented actress from Coorg, Prema. Om was also remade into several languages - the Hindi version was called Arjun Pandit and had Sunny Deol essaying Shiv Rajkumar's role. Om is still an extremely popular film, still runs packed houses when released occassionally. Upendra then turned towards an ambitious project of directing an extended version of an old favorite Anta and he called it Operation Anta. The film contained revolutionary ideology - it was about a man fighting evils in society. The film was not successful, it fell prey to a loose screenplay.

A Still from Upendra

Upendra bounced back with a spectacular A in which he made a successful transition to acting. A was again a revolutionary film about exploring deeper meanings of love. The film had outrageous posters, even more outrageous dialogues, a tagline that said Buddhivantarige maatra and a controversial storyline. The plot was of a director falling in love with his lead actress while filming, and then becoming dejected as she leaves him when she becomes successful. But his hatred of women spawned from the rejection is turned topsy-turvy, when he learns that she actually had a genuine reason for rejecting him. Rumors were thick that it was his own story, and the actress in the film was his protege Prema. This only added to the popularity of the film, and it became a blockbuster. Upendra was now hot property.

He next did Swastik, with Raghavendra Rajkumar. The film was patriotic in tone, and suffered from a flawed narration. It, along with Operation Anta is the least discussed Upendra film. After this Upendra came back with a self titled film, a psychological masterpiece that explored the nuances of ego. Upendra acted in this film as well as the unnamed protagonist (or antagonist) Naanu. The film starred three heroines, Damini, Prema and Bollywood girl Raveena Tondon. Naanu, was an arrogant character, bordered on misogyny, and was very insulting to women. There was a lot of criticism heaped on the film, but it was extremely popular with the audience, because of its narration and its catchy dialogues and attained cult status. Upendra was the director's last film, and it is not certain that the star will ever take to direction again. Rumors abounded that Uppi would direct Shiv Rajkumar again in a film, but that has not materialized so far.

Upendra went on to write a controversial film, H2O. The film was about the sensitive Kaveri issue, which Upendra chose to show symbolically through a love triangle between a Kannadiga (Upendra), a Tamilian (Prabhudeva) and their object of affection, Kaveri (Priyanka Trivedi). The film made news for the wrong reasons, such as the excessive use of Tamil in the film, and that Kaveri was slightly more affectionate towards the Tamilians. When it released, it turned out to be a damp squib. The only good thing that came out of it was on a personal level for Upendra - he married actress Priyanka soon after. He later wrote the screenplay and dialogues for the remake Rakta Kanneeru - this was a lot more successful than his H2O. The dialogues again caught the fancy of the movie-goers. Upendra is currently filming Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya for which he has written the script and screenplay.

Upendra has also written lyrics for a number of popular songs mostly for films that he directed or acted in. He also penned the famous Taliban Alla Alla for Puneet Rajkumar's debut film as hero - Appu.

As an Actor

Upendra started his acting career with a bunch of walk on roles notably in his directorial debut Tarle Nan Maga, and Shh!. He made the transition to a full fledged hero with his film A. The audience went crazy about the actor's ability for dialogue delivery, and named him the Real Star. Upendra repeated this feat, this time with more success than with A in the film Upendra. His atrocious and loud dressing and hairstyle in the film was admired and copied by his fan following. Upendra was a huge success, and since then the actor concentrated more on his on screen career. He followed Upendra with a turn in a remake of the Hindi Darr, in which he played Shah Rukh Khan's character. Preetse was successful commercially, and started Upendra's tryst with remakes.

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Upendra in Buddhivanta

He did two original films after Preetse, H2O and Nagathihalli's Superstar. Both were commercial failures and both were controversial. H2O created a lot of sensation before it released since it touched upon the Kaveri issue. Superstar was Nagathihalli's take on Nepal's royal family's tragedy in which Upendra played a double role for the first time. Both failed to make any impression on the audience. He appeared in Naanu Naane and Naagarahaavu, both remakes, both of which failed at the box office. He repeated his double role again in Ramu's Hollywood, an ambitious film which got into various troubles. This film also flopped. Upendra recovered from the string of commercial failures with Kutumba and his own Rakta Kanneeru. Kutumba was his first film with the director Naganna with whom he would later work in Gokarna and Gowramma, both hits at the box office.

Upendra had another string of flops, Auto Shankar with Shilpa Shetty, Uppi Dada MBBS and Tandege Takka Maga, before recovering with Indrajit Lankesh's Aishwarya. Aishwarya was a candy floss romance, the kind Upendra was not seen in before. The film changed Uppi's mass image into a classy one. Uppi played an ad-man, romanced the beautiful Deepika Padukone, and wore classy clothes. The film was a moderate success. Then came a bunch of Upendra's worst films - Masti & Parodi. His next notable film was Anatharu, a remake of the Tamil hit Pithamagan in which Uppi let go of his dialogue delivery. The film was appreciated for his performance as the silent gravedigger. The rest of 2007 did not go well for Uppi, his much hyped film with Shiv Rajkumar, Lava Kusha bombed at the box office.

Uppi bounced back in 2008, his only release Buddhivanta was the top box office grosser for the year. Uppi played a womanizing con-man in the film, and his seven get-ups were highly appreciated as were his witty dialogues. Uppi also turned narrator for Puneet Rajkumar's gangster film Vamshi and did an item number for the comedy Mast Maja Madi with twelve heroines. He also made a super hero film, again in a double role - Bhimoos Bang Bang Kids with Ramya, but the film has been delayed for various reasons and will tentatively release in 2009. In 2009, Uppi will also be seen in another remake Dubai Babu where he teams up with Gowramma director Naganna and Shhh! hero Kumar Govind. Also to be released in 2009 is his much awaited return-to-writing film, Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya for which he will be paired opposite Bollywood girl Celina Jaitley.

Other Ventures

Uppi founded an advertising firm called UppiAds. Uppi was also brand ambassador for pint beer by Vijay Mallya's UB Group, in which he famously asked Yella Ok, Cool Drink Yaake? Uppi also owns a resort in the outskirts of Bangalore. He also cheered for the Royal Challengers IPL team along with Ramya. Uppi has also lent his voice to a number of songs the most recent being in Buddhivanta.


Uppi's earlier films like Tarle Nan Maga and Shhh! were influenced heavily by his mentor Kashinath. Tarle Nan Maga was an out and out comedy in the Kashinath style. While Shhh! was a suspense thriller, it still borrowed out of Kashinath's school of narration in that it was filled with double entendre. Uppi broke out of this in Om, his 'first of a kind in Kannada' gangster film. The film was violent, exposed untold secrets about the underworld (the real baddies in the cast helped the reality) and the lead characters had shades of grey. This moral ambiguity continued in his later films - A, Upendra, H2O. The leads characters were all motivated by less than pure thoughts. In A and Upendra, there were themes of hate and that of an inflated sense of self. In an online chat, Upendra quizzed fans about thoughts and thoughtlessness, presumably to use in his next film.

Upendra also invented the idea of whacky titles for his films - Shhh!, Om, A, H2O and the recent Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya. Even the self titled Upendra is not as straight as it seems, Upendra is an amalgamation of the lead character's names - Upendra, Damini, Prema & Raveena Tondon.


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Partial list.

Year Award Category Film
1999 Filmfare Award Best Director Upendra
2007 Suvarna Award Special Award for Performance Anatharu



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