Bangalore, Jan 22 (IANS) Veteran Karnataka theatre and film personality Chindodi Leela died Thursday night in a Bangalore hospital after a brief illness, hospital sources said. She was 72.
Leela single handedly ran the fortunes of a big professional theatre group in Karnataka for over 34 years.
She had undergone bypass surgery last Monday, but she succumbed to heart related ailments at around 10 p.m. Thursday night.
Expressing deep regret over the death of Karnataka's most popular theatre personality, Chief Minister B.S.Yediyurappa said that the state has lost a popular artist who was also involved in many social and developmental activities.
Padmashri recipient, Leela had won the Central Sangeetha Nataka academy award in addition to the Sri Krishnadevaraya Award from the Andhra Pradesh government. The Karnataka government felicitated Leela with several awards, including the Gubbi Veeranna Award, the highest honour for any theatre personality in the state.
Leela headed the Karnataka Nataka Academy and was also a member of the Legislative Council in Karnataka for a term of six years.
She also acted in over 20 films, including "Kiththoor Chennamma", "Gaali Gopura", "Krishnadevaraya" and "Sharapanjara". She also produced a film on the blind music sensation Panchakshari Gavaayi that won the central government best music director National Award for "Hamsalekha". The film also won several state awards.
Leela was born in a family of artists and has been acting in lead roles in professional drama troupes since the age of five. Over 10,000 performances were held of her play "Halli Hudugi". She revived her family's drama company all by herself and made it one of the biggest professional drama troupes in Karnataka.