Obituary: Versatile artist credited with 500-plus movies, Prof TS Lohitashwa is no more

He served as an English professor for years before foraying into Kannada theatre; rose to fame with his first commercial film ‘Geetha’.

ByShashiprasad S M

Published Nov 09, 2022 | 2:16 PMUpdatedNov 09, 2022 | 2:16 PM

kannada actor prof ts lohitashwa

Noted actor, theatre artist, playwright and retired professor in English, TS Lohitashwa, passed away in Bengaluru on Tuesday, 8 November. His demise left a vacuum in both Kannada theatre and film industry.

Lohitashwa was 80 when he breathed his last due to age-related illnesses. He is survived by his wife and three children, including his son Sharath Lohitashwa — a popular television and film actor.

Following decades of service as a professor in English, Lohitashwa’s interests drew him to the theatre, initially with writing and eventually towards performing on stage.

He is credited with at least 500 films.

The acting journey

Impressed by his acting in the Kannada play Kattele Daari Doora, noted actor-director Shankar Nag offered him the supporting role of a doctor in Geetha, a commercial venture.

The movie became a huge hit, especially for its melodious music and unique story for that period.

What followed was a long journey of more than 500-plus films and scores of performances in television serials.

Often recognised for his “dominating voice”, he mostly played the role of a politician, especially a chief minister, and many times as a senior police officer in films.

With over four decades in the industry, Lohitashwa performed in films alongside Dr Rajkumar, Dr Vishnuvardhan, Dr Ambareesh, Anant Nag, and Shankar Nag, amongst other senior actors.

Geetha, Dharma Daari Tappitu, Gajendra, Sambhavaami Yuge Yuge, SP Sangliana, Lockup Death, Abhimanyu, AK-47, and Snehaloka were some of his notable films.

He also acted in Shankar Nag’s popular teleserial “Malgudi Days” and a few other popular TV soaps, including Grihabanga.

Lohitashwa took a break from acting for some time while keeping himself busy with tailoring and farming at his native place in Tumakuru. Yes, tailoring was one of his talents, apart from teaching English.

Many of his colleagues and his juniors in the industry, remember Lohitashwa as a straightforward person who would always speak his mind.

Mukhyamantri: Iconic work of Lohitashwa

The iconic Kannada play Mukhyamantri, the timeless political satire which ran for over 40 years with close to 750 shows, is a translated work by Lohitashwa.

It is the translation of a Hindi play by Ranjit Kapoor. He translated it with the aim of playing the titular role.

Actor Chandru, widely known as Mukhyamantri Chandru for playing the titular role in Mukhyamantri, once revealed that Lohitashwa had taken ill with typhoid on on the first day of the show, and insisted on continuing it with some other actor till he recovered.

However, the show became so popular that Chandru performed it a record 700-plus times.

Last rites at native place

While the mortal remains of Lohitashwa are kept at his residence in Kumaraswamy Layout, according to his son Sharath Lohitashwa, the last rites will be held at his native village in the Tumakuru district on Wednesday, 9 November.