It is an exciting time for Puneet Rajkumar. Not only is his latest Kannada film Bindaas doing well, his last film Milana too, directed by his cousin Prakash, just completed it's silver jubilee.
And that's not all. Coming March 24, the actor will start filming for his new film Vamshi, to be directed by Prakash. After that, his next film Raj, the showman will be launched at the National College grounds in Bangalore on April 24, coinciding with the birth anniversary of his late father Dr Raj Kumar.
Puneet who celebrated his birthday on March 17, spoke exclusively to R G Vijayasarathy about the films and more. Excerpts:
Bindaas is doing quite well at the box office. How do you feel when some trade analysts are hinting that it would turn out to be the biggest hit of your career?
I am really happy that Bindaas is doing so well. My characterisation and get-up are different in Bindaas. It was a character that I have not played before. Yes, I have worked in just nine films!
In Milana my character had to show lot of maturity and seriousness. But in Bindaas there was not a trace of seriousness in the character and everything I did was for the girl I loved. I am very happy that it has been received well by my fans.
More than anything, critics were unanimous in their appreciation of my performance. Normally I don't seek details about the collections of my films, but for Bindaas I am told that the first three weeks have made the producer and distributors very happy. That is quite satisfying.
Milana also had a silver jubilee run...
It was expected to do well because it had a strong story line. Prakash had worked hard to get the right emotions in the script. Mano Murthy sir's music rocked. The film's music became a rage after the movie's release. There were many people who went to the theatres just for the music and then they immensely liked the film.
What about your new film Vamshi to be produced under your home banner? Expectations are high as it is directed by Prakash who gave you a hit like Milana.
Yes, Prakash knows that the audience expects something good from Vamshi. My brother Raghanna (Raghavendra Raj Kumar) and Prakash are still in the process of fine tuning the film. Vamshi will kickstart on March 24 or may be a week later. I cannot tell you more than that as I know very little about the story and the script.
All I can say is that credit goes to Raghanna for the strength of my film's scripts as I don't have the capability to judge and analyse the scripts as of now.
What about Mayura?
Yes, I was about to work in Mayura to be directed by Shobhan. But that was shelved as director met with an untimely death in Hyderabad. Since the whole script was conceived by him, we did not want any other director to handle the subject.
Your new film Raj will be directed by Prem, who gave a blockbuster like Jogi for Shivaraj Kumar. He says he will present you quite differently.
I am also curious to know how Prem wants to project me. We have some initial discussions. Now he is discussing the script in detail with Raghanna. I hope our combination also works well like it did for my brother.
What about the film OM to be produced by Pyramid Saimira in which you will be working with your two elder brothers? Your mother Parvathamma Raj Kumar seems to be unhappy with this project.
Well, she did speak to the media about this project but there have been misconceptions about what she really meant. My father had acted with Shivanna in two films but both films did not do well. My mother was expressing her apprehensions about a film which stars all the three sons of an icon like Dr Raj Kumar. It is bound to raise high expectations. But I have to reiterate that we are committed to do this project if the story appeals to us.
What is your reaction to the controversy on remakes?
I have always said that I am not averse to working in remakes. As an artist I feel it is my duty to work in all kinds of films. I have acted in remakes earlier and would like to work in future too if good offers come my way.
What about the book you were proposing to write on your father?
I want it to be pictorially brilliant. I want it to have all the photographs which were not seen earlier. I am trying to get such rare photographs before I start writing the book.