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Home > Movies > Memories

The man who changed Kannada cinema

M S Dhaan in Bangalore | April 13, 2006 13:57 IST

Dr RajkumarDada Saheb Phalke awardee Dr Rajkumar's is a typical rags-to-riches story one gets to see in some of hisfilms.

Muthuraj,rechristenedRajkumar for movies, was avillage boy. He rose tofameafter setting his foot gingerly on the land of Kannada films. His reluctanceto act infilms in the beginning were well known. But for the efforts of his brother Varadaraju, Kannada filmdom might have missed out on a great actor. It is said that Varadaraju's recent deathhad created a vacuum inRajkumar's life.

Special: Farewell, Dr Rajkumar


Having studied up to the third standard,Rajkumarjoined his father Singanallur Puttaswamayya and brother Varadappa's (Varadanna as he is called) in performing for a drama troupe. Later, he joined the famous Sahitya Samrajya Nataka Mandali of Subbaih Naiduto eke out a living. He soonmade his markwithbrilliant portrayals ofa varied range of characters.

Born on April 24, 1929, Rajkumarhailed from Gajanurinthe Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border area. Known as the pillar of strength of the Kannada film industry,Rajkumar set the record of bagging the Best Actor Filmfare Award for regional cinema 10 times. Among other awards wereKarnataka government'sKarnataka Ratna (equivalent toBharat Ratna atthe national level),and nine Best Kannada Actor awards.

The King of Kannada cinema

Apro-Kannada activist,Rajkumarnever acted in other language films,in spite of his proficiency in Tamil.His immense contributions to the Kannada primacy movement through the Gokak agitation during the middle of 1981-82 were hailed by the people of Karnataka. Heled a movement to collect funds for drought reliefin 1961, when the country was facing famine.

Having startedhiscareer with Bedara Kannappa in 1954,Rajkumar's last movie was Shabdavedi (2004), in which he acted as a police officer and awed all with his agility.

Acting cameto him naturally.Rajkumarseemed just cut out for the mythological characters heused to portray in the drama troupe. His first movie Bedara Kannappa, based on the lifeof a hunter turninginto a hard-core devotee, was a grand success.Known for hisdown-to-earth demeanour,Rajkumarnever had the air of a superstar.

Theveteran actor was held captive by notorious forest brigand Veerappan on July 30, 2000 for nearly 108 days. This took a toll on his health.

ShabdavediRajkumar was a yoga expert,often conducting lectures on the benefits of yoga. He often sang hissongs infilms, and even lent his voiceforhis sons' films.

Rajkumar cut some albums of devotional songs on Saint Raghavendra, whom he believed in asGod. He portrayed the God's lifein a film playing the saint himself.


He washonoured with several titles for his contributions to the Kannada cinema and Kannada language. The greatest honour came to him from the Mysore University whichconferred upon himthe honorary doctorate.

Post your condolences

Rajkumar was paired with 40 actresses, foremost of them beingJayanthi. He appeared with her in37 films. From1934, whenthe first Kannada film Sati Sulochana hit the screen, only 30 films were made till 1954. Things looked a lot brighter afterRajkumar entered the scene.

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Number of User Comments: 5




Sub: Dr. Rajkumar- the kannada pride

We have lost the greatest person who struggled for the cause of kannada, kannada land, karnataka water, kannada culture and in general the cause of ...


Posted by muralidhara





Sub: Legend

Dr. Rajkumar was not only a legend but a very good person in life,which does needs any explanation but can be seen by the people ...


Posted by Harish Sheregar





Sub: Brand Ambssador of Kannada

Dr. Rajkumar was a brand ambassador of Kannada culture, he was a institution in himself, moreover he was a complete man.


Posted by Venkatachalaiah S.T





Sub: legend who passed away

As every one now that the great actor Dr Rajkumar has passed away leaving us in dark.Now its time for every kannadiga to follow his ...


Posted by praveen ramakrishna





Sub: Dr Raj is Great

None can match Dr Raj, Not only he is a great actor, he was a great person, great human.


Posted by GLN




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