indian cinema heritage foundation

B Dorairaj & S K Bhagwan

  • Primary Cinema: Kannada

They were Kannada filmdom’s most famous director duo, who, to their credit, directed 55 films, a majority of them featuring the icon Dr Rajkumar, and many being stupendously successful at the box office. That literature and cinema had a symbiotic relationship can be gauged by the fact that nearly 23 of their films were based on novels and the rich narrative content they drew from them. 

Born on 5th July, 1933, Bhagawan had his schooling at Bangalore High School and since that very young age was acting in stage dramas with Hirannaiah Mithra Mandali. 

He soon graduated into a career in films as assistant to the famous Kanagal Prabhakar Shastri in 1956 through the film Bhagyodaya

He then tried his hand at direction, debuting with Sandhya Raga in 1966 with M C Narasimhamurthy and co-directed Jedara Bale (1968) with Dorairaj which began the formal anointing of the famous Dorai-Bhagawan director duo in Kannada cinema. 

The two adopted the James Bond-style movies in to Kannada, such as Goadalli C.I.D 999 (1968), Operation Jackpot C.I.D 999 (1969) and Operation Diamond Racket (1978). However, they also made socially relevant films like Kasturi Nivasa (1971), Eradu Kanasu (1974), Bayalu Dhari (1977), Gaali Mathu (1981), Chandanada Gombe (1979), Hosa Belaku (1982), Benkiya Bale (1983), and Jeevana Chaitra (1992) which made them the toast of the Kannada film industry. 

Upon the demise of Dorairaj, Bhagawan ceased directing for many years, their last being Mangalya Bhandana in 1993. In 2019, at the ripe age of 85, he once again took on the director mantle with Aduva Gombe, which received a poor reception. 

Not much is known of Dorairaj except that he was associated with Bhagawan and the two formed an indomitable director duo. 

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