Upendra, popularly known as Uppi, is a well-known Kannada film actor, director and script writer.
Born in a middle class family, he started off as writer and assistant director to film director Kashinath and eventually directed his first film, Tharle Nanmaga.
In the late 90s, he broke into the scene with the extremely violent Om, which also starred actual Bangalore gangsters. He followed this up with ‘A’, in which he starred as the protagonist.
He could be one of the few actors to have a film by his name. In 1999, he was the lead actor in Upendra, a film that also starred Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon.
His first maiden film as director - Tharle Nanmaga - was declared a hit and also made its lead actor Jaggesh a famous actor known for his penchant for super-fast dialogues said in a comical manner. This was his debut film that went on to become a cult hit known for its slapstick comedy and out-of the box narration.
Upendra’s second film Sshhh with Kumar Govind in the lead was another box office success. This surprise suspense thriller also starred Kashinath and introduced Kumar Govind as the mainstream hero.
Uppi’s next directorial venture Om was a super hit starring Shiv Rajkumar and Prema. This story explored and exposed the Bangalore underworld like no other Kannada film during the time. The movie was controversial because of the presence of numerous famous real-life underworld gang members.
Upendra belongs to the Koteshwara Brahmin family from Kundapura in Karnataka state. His film Upendra was released in Japan. The story was similar to Buddha's where the hero attains ‘Vyraagya’ (renunciation) towards the end of the film.
Model turned Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone made her debut in the Kannada film Aishwarya starring Upendra, before making it big in Bollywood with Shah Rukh Khan’s Om Shanti Om.
In 2004, Upendra ventured into Ad film making through his own startup advertising agency UppiAds. And though he has acted in over 40 films, including Tamil and Telugu, he hasn’t won the best actor or director award as yet.
Some of his other notable films include Preethse, H2O, Superstar, Hollywood, Omkara, Gokarna, Auto Shankar, Uppi Dada MBBS (a remake of the popular Hindi movie, Munnabhai MBBS), Masti, Buddhivanta, Bhimoos Bang Bang Kids and Mast Maja Maadi.
Upendra is married to actress Priyanka Trivedi who quit films soon after marriage, but is now planning to make a comeback. He is the father of two children.