Leelavathi is a popular south Indian film actress who appears prominently in Kannada films. She was born in the year 1938 in Mangalore as Leela Kiran. She is very popular for her roles in Avargal, the Tamil film and Nagarahavu, a Kannada film. Her first movie was Chanchala Kumari, in which she appeared in a very small role. Her second movie is Naga Kannika. She was in the drama troupe of Mahalinga Bhagavathar. In 1958, she got an opportunity to act in the film Bhaktha Prahalada, which is said to be her real debut movie, as she was credited for the first time for her role in the name card. But Mangalya Yoga is said to be her first movie, with the main character. After she became the heroine, she got lots of opportunities and she never missed the good ones. She started to shower her performances fluently and her popularity rose gradually. She has acted with all the popular south Indian stars including
, M. G. R,
and N. T. Rama Rao. She has also acted with the next generation stars Rajini Kanth, Kamal Hassan, Chiranjeevi, Ravi Chandran and Sudeep. She was married to the Kannada Super Star Raj Kumar and has a son
. She made her Tamil debut through Pattinathaar in 1962 and in the year 1964, she made her Telugu debut in the film Marmayogi. In 1963, she got the prestigious National Award for the Best Actress for the film Santa Tukaram, which she acted with Raj Kumar. She has also produced 4 Kannada movies, out of which one film was performed by her son Vinod Raj. It was Yaaradhu, a thriller movie, in which Leelavathi performed well with her son. She was praised for her brave attempt to play in that movie, at her age of 71. She practices meditation regularly to keep her active. At present, she is not acting in any films; she is relaxing herself at her home.
Leelavathi was born in 1937 Mangalore, Madras Presidency(now in Karnataka). Her name was Leela Kiran. She was an actress, film producer, writer, and philanthropist. Vinod Raj was her only child. He is an actor and a singer. He is a dancer also. She has worked in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu movies. She has worked with various popular actors and artists such as Rajkumar, Vishnuvardhan, M.G. Ramachandran, N.T. Rama Rao, Sivaji Ganeshan, Gemini Ganesan, Kamal Hassan, and many more to name out.
She has almost acted in 600 films in her career over 50 years. Leelavathi has won many awards in her career like “Rajkumar Award” in 1999, State awards, and Filmfare Awards. When she moved to Mysore, she got the small roles in ChanchalaKumari and Shanker Singh film Naga Kannika. She worked in Subbainaidu‘Bhakta Prahallada.’ She has also done some small acting roles in her starting career. Her movie Rani Honnamma was her turning point, and then after she never turned back and became the heroine.
She competed with other heroines. She was very active and energetic. She received the state award for the movie Doctor Krishna. Her acting improved, and she accepted the supporting roles with the films like “GejjePooje,”“SipayiRamu.” She ishonoured with the doctorate from the 'Tumkur University' in the year 2008 for her excellent achievements and contribution to the southern cinema for five decades. She is awarded the Rashtrapati Award for 'MaduveMaadiNodu' and 'SanthaThukaram.' She also got the Filmfare Award for best-supporting actress-Kannada for Kannadada Kanda in 2006.
She had a heart problem and hospitalized on 15 October 2011. After the operation, she recovered from it. The bond between Dr.Rajkumar and Leelavathi is very famous. She was not married to anyone. Her affair with Dr.Rajkumar as known in film circles. Dr.Rajkumar was a famous Kannada film icon. He has been awarded for his playback singing. Though the fans of Leelavathi sympathize with her all respects. The book ‘Raj-Leela-Vinoda’ is an autobiography of Leelavathi.