Top 10 best Kannada Actors

The Kannada film industry often called Sandalwood or Chandanavana. Since the first Kannada film published in 1936, the Kannada film industry has had a roller-coaster ride. But the good news is that the Kannada film industry is also a challenging force for the other industries considering directing, technological expertise and performance. Dr. Rajkumar overlooked the Kannada film industry during the early 50s while the late 60s saw the rising of leading stars like Kalyankumar and Udaykumar. Later Dr. Vishnuvardhan and Ambareesh flapped their magic wand during the 70s and 80s. It was basically Vishnuvardhan’s era at that time, and he went on to perform in over 200 films in about five languages of India. Then actors like Anant Nag, Lokes, Srinath, etc. earned their presence felt in the Kannada industry.

During the 80s and 90s actors like Shivarajkumar, V Ravichandran and Ramesh Arvind were top level heroes. After 2000, Puneet Rajkumar appeared to be the entire king of Sandalwood, and there was no one to beat his place. Even competent actors like Sudeep, Darshan and Ganesh who were strong challengers for the role, could not beat Puneeth. Well, when it comes to a list of top ten we can only choose ten actors right? So let’s take a glance at the top 10 heroes of Kannada cinema. This list is in no specific order.

Puneeth Rajkumar

Correlating box office earnings, Power Star Puneeth is surely the number one. His achievement ratio is very high, and he has a huge fan following too. He is very skillful; he is skilled at dance, stunt processions, decent theater and elegant mannerisms. In fact, he has all the requisites of a good icon. He knocked over the hearts of the Kannada masses even at his young age and moved on to win a National Award. Well, noone will oppose that he is one of the most reliable actors for the distributors and makers of Sandalwood. 

Best Movies

  • Rajakumara
  • Milana
  • Arasu
  • Hudugaaru
  • Rana Vikrama


Dr. Vishnu Vardhan was definitely the reigning star of his time. He was at the hilltop of his success till he took his last breathe. Fondly memorized as Dada by his fans, Vishnu’s last film Aaptha Rakshaka has a roaring achievement, and his performance was much praised. He had an iconic role that was unparallel during his time. His career is a noticeable example of slow and steady success. At one time, there used to be his Midas sense to his films. He is one actor who takes on any role with equal panache. He was the evident king of Kannada cinema for over three decades. 

Best Movies

  • Yajamana
  • The Terrorist
  • Zaalim
  • Kauravar
  • Ashaant


Sudeep is a multi-talented icon of Sandalwood. He has received the Filmfare Award for Best Actor for three continual years. Though Sudeep was the leading actor in most of his films, he never shied away from performing in a negative role in the Telugu movie Eega. Through this film, he drew appreciation among Telugu and Tamil fans, besides Kannada.

Best Movies

  • The Fly
  • Huchha
  • Nandhi
  • Swathi Muthu
  • Bachchan

Darshan Thoogudeep

Challenging Star Darshan initially had to fight to carve a place for himself in the Kannada film industry. At the outset, he did only minor roles in TV serials and some films before serving as the lead hero. Eventually, he was deemed as a bankable star along with a mass gathering appeal. 

Best Movies

  • Majestic
  • Kariyaa
  • Kalasipalya
  • Shastri
  • Navagraha

Upendra Rao

Fondly inferred as Uppi and Real Star by his supporters, Upendra is not only a decent actor but also a promising director. His directorial investments never went wrong to hit gold at the box office. His hair style and dressing style is very much admired by his fans.

Best Movies

  • Shhh!
  • Om
  • Swasthik
  • Upendra
  • Super

Dr. Rajkumar

Rajkumar was a special hero of Kannada film industry for spanning five-decades and most of his movies fix the cash registers tolling. He was the matinee favorite of the youth during his time. In fact, this actor is never seen on the onscreen villain in his career. 

Best Movies

  • Kasturi Nivasa
  • Bhakt Kumbaara
  • Mayura
  • Aakashmika
  • Shakshatkara


Anant Nag

Anant Nag is best memorized for the soulful numbers that starred him. He is a top-notch performer and is popular because of his voluntary style of theater. Anant Nag has provided several hit movies in the box office too. He has had a nice time in his career of spanning over four decades.

Best Movies

  • Ankur
  • Bayalu Daari
  • Minchina ota
  • Accident
  • Ranadheera

V. Ravichandran

There is no suspicion that Ravichandran is a multi-faceted character of Kannada cinema. He is commonly known as Crazy Star. Ravichandran is famous because of his impressive looks and elegant style. He has a good number of hit movies to his fame. 

Best Movies

  • Savira Sullu
  • Premalok
  • Abhimanyu
  • Gopi Krishna
  • Ramachari

Shiva Raj Kumar

Shjv raj kumar is robust in the industry for almost over 25 years. Popularly recognized as Shivanna, he has performed as several types of character in his career. He has been grasped by the Kannada critics with open arms. 

Best Movies

  • Tagaru
  • The villain
  • Mufti
  • Rustum
  • Kavacha


Well, is there any question that Yash is the verdict king of Kannada cinema at present? He has struggled hard to gain this place and has had provided back-to-back four hit movies in his career spanning over ten years. 

Best Movies

  • Raja Huli
  • Google
  • K.G.F Chapter 1
  • Santhu Straight Forward
  • Mr. and Mrs. Ramchari


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