C. R. Simha

Born in 1942 in Mysore, Shri C.R. Simha laid the foundations of his active career in the theatre while a student at the National College in Bangalore, where he studied for a B.Sc. It was his acclaimed performance as Tughlaq in 1969, in a College production of Girish Karnad’s play directed by Shri B. Chandrashekhar, that turned his steps towards the theatre as a profession. After college, Shri Simha worked for the Song and Drama Division in Karnataka for many years before striking out independently as an actor and director. He established his own amateur company Nataranga in 1972, under whose banner he produced and acted in a number of plays by Karnataka’s own dramatists — such as Masti Venkatesha Iyengar’s Kakana Kote and P. Lankesh’s Sankranti — as well as classics from Western theatre. In 1983, Shri Simha established Vedike in order to work professionally in the theatre, a company which has since made a mark on the Kannada stage. Vedike’s play Typical T.P. Kailasam written by T.N. Narasimhan, in which Shri Simha plays the only role, travelled abroad on popular demand in 1986, and remains in demand even today. Meese Bandoru, Agni Mattu Male, Niraase.com, and the recent Macbeth are other well-known Vedike productions. Outside the stage, Shri Simha has acted in numerous Kannada films and television serials, and has directed several features as well as documentaries dealing with culture and the environment. He has also published two plays, Karna and Bhairavi. Shri Simha has been honour- ed by the Karnataka Nataka Academy with its Award in 1986 and by the Karnataka Govern- ment with its Rajyotsava Award in 2000 for his contribution to theatre. His film Kakana Kote had earlier received Karnataka’s state award (1978). Shri C.R. Simha receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to Indian theatre as an actor.