A decade ago, their love for “imported” heroines made Kannada film producers introduce many glamourous actresses from other languages to Sandalwood.
While a majority of them did not last for more than a film, a handful of actresses managed to have a good run in the industry owing to their acting skills. As the cycle kept repeating, there was little space left for local talents in the Kannada industry.
However, of late, things have changed for good with more local talents finding their way into Sandalwood.
Interestingly, actresses hailing from Sandalwood, including Rashmika Mandanna, Sree Leela, Srinidhi Shetty, and Sapthami Gowda have turned the table and are shining elsewhere too.
Here is the list of a slew of new local talents who are making inroads in the Kannada film industry:
A multi-talented personality, Sapthami Gowda started off her career in sports.
A national-level gold medalist in swimming, she made her acting debut with Popcorn Monkey Tiger in 2020. But her role as Leela in Kantara (2022) brought her into the limelight.
With the immense success and popularity of the film, she bagged a handful of projects in Kannada. She is also a part of the upcoming Hindi flick The Vaccine War directed by Vivek Agnihotri. It is scheduled for release on 28 September.
In Kannada, Sapthami Gowda is acting alongside Yuva Rajkumar, the grandson of Kannada thespian late Dr Rajkumar, in Yuva. The project marks the acting debut of Yuva Rajkumar.
This apart, she is also cast opposite Abhishek Ambareesh in Kaali.
With her latest release Sapta Sagaradaache Ello Side A (2023), receiving good response from both critics and audiences, Rukmini Vasanth is another budding talent to watch out for in the Sandalwood.
Though she made her debut with Birbal in 2019, Sapta Sagaradaache Ello Side A won her great accolades.
Rukmini has two big releases in less than two months. Baanadariyalli is all set to hit the screens on 28 September. Sapta Sagaradaache Ello Side B is scheduled for release on 20 October.
Further, she has two more star-studded projects, including Bagheera alongside Sri Murali and Bhairathi Ranagal alongside Karunada Chakravarthy Dr Shiva Rajkumar.
Chaithra J Achar
Talented singer-actress Chaithra Achar made her debut with Mahira in 2019. Later, she made her presence felt in critically acclaimed ventures like Taledanda (2021) and Gilky (2022).
But her latest act in Raj B Shetty’s Toby (2023) got her all the attention she deserves.
Apart from scores of other projects, her immediate next is Sapta Sagaradaache Ello Side B where Chaithra J Achar plays the role of Surabhi.
Model-turned-actress Srinidhi Shetty is simply known as the “KGF girl” after her dream debut in the pan-Indian mega-successful Kannada film KGF: Chapter 1 and KGF: Chapter 2 (2018 and 2022).
Her next, a Tamil flick titled Cobra (2022) starring “Chiyaan” Vikram, received mixed reviews.
Joining the long list of actresses hailing from the Kodava land — including national crush Rashmika Mandanna — is Reeshma Nanaiah. She debuted with Ek Love Ya in 2022.
Later, her next films include Raana (2022) and a special appearance in the horror film Spooky College (2023).
Her next release is Vaamana alongside Dhanveerrah. However, her big budget starry venture is UI, which marks the directorial comeback venture of Real Star Upendra and the pan-India film —KD – The Devil, directed by Prem, which features Dhruva Sarja in the lead with Sanjay Dutt, Shilpa Shetty returning to Kannada films.
She will also be seen in Golden Star Ganesh’s Baanadariyalli, which is hitting the screens on 28 September.
Granddaughter of Kannada thespian late Dr Rajkumar, actress Dhanya made her debut with Ninna Sanihake in 2021.
Her next, Kaala Patthar directed by Vikky Varun will hit the marquee soon. In the movie, she plays a village girl.
In The Judgement, she will be seen as an NRI alongside Diganth. Dhanya is also a part of Yella Ninagagi. She recently signed Powder which is being produced under the banner KRG Studios.
Daughter of Kannada actor Nenapirali Prem, Amrutha Prem is set to make her acting debut in the film Tagaru Palya.
The film also marks the directorial debut of Umesh K Krupa. It is produced by Kannada star actor Daali Dhananjay under his banner Daali Pictures.
Radhana Ram is the daughter of Sandalwood’s “Kanasirani” (Dream Girl) Malashree and ace producer late Ramu. She changed her name to Aradhanaa recently and is making her debut in Kaatera where she is paired opposite Challenging Star Darshan.
Impressed with her acting skills, Darshan and director Tharun Sudhir heaped praises on Aradhanaa at a recent press meet held recently.
Post her debut in Premam Poojyam (2021) where she teamed up with Nenapirali Prem, Brinda Acharya got her biggest break with Shashank’s Kousalya Supraja Rama (2023) featuring Darling Krishna and Milana Nagaraj.
She recently signed S Narayan’s comeback directorial Ondsala Meet Madona where Shreyas Manju is playing the male lead.
Saanya Iyer charmed the audience as a child artiste in the popular Kannada TV serial Putgowri Maduve. Later, she attained fame as a contestant in the Kannada Bigg Boss reality show.
Now, she is all set to make her silver screen debut in Gowri directed by Indrajit Lankesh. Interestingly, with Gowri, Lankesh is also launching his son Samarjit Lankesh as a protagonist.