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The Rediff Special/M D Riti in Bangalore

October 19, 2004

Veerappan with such a short moustache?" asks Kannada superstar Dr Rajakumar, a twinkle in his eye.

The absence of Veerappan's trademark moustache was possibly what struck Rajakumar the most in the televised images of Veerappan's dead body.

Complete Coverage: The Rajakumar Kidnapping

The thespian recalls that Veerappan used to spend at least a few minutes every day on the care of his long moustache, however hardpressed the bandit was for time.

Rajakumar himself, of course, only dons a moustache in his films. He has not had it in real life for a long time now though.

Held captive by Veerappan for 108 days, Rajakumar recalls the bandit was very proud of his moustache. He often used to display it to the actor and ask him his opinion of it.

"I once told him I admired it greatly and asked how he kept it so flourishing," recalls Rajakumar. "He used to smear all sorts of oils and herbs on it. He used to comb it every day and keep it very clean. He also used to take great pains to dye it black!"

Also Read: The mystery of the missing moustache

For Veerappan to have been motivated to cut it short, he must have really felt the heat of pursuit, feels Rajakumar.

Nothing short of a serious threat to his life could have persuaded him to chop it so short, the actor believes.

Rajakumar himself grew a beard and moustache when he was in captivity.

As soon as Veerappan released him, his sons brought a barber to the farmhouse and had Rajakumar given a clean shave.

Also Read: 'The STF has been waiting since 1992'

When Rajakumar was in captivity, much of the Kannada film industry, including his sons, did not shave or cut their hair for the duration.

'One interesting thing was for the first time since my childhood I never saw my face in a mirror for so many weeks!' Rajkumar said at a public function many months after his release. 'I looked at my face in the mirror after three-and-a-half months at that private guest house,' he said with a smile. 'At first, I could not believe what I saw! I turned around, and looked at my image over my shoulder. My God, I am back, I thought!'

Interestingly, Rajakumar now says his 108 days in captivity helped him grow in many ways.

'My time was all my own,' he said at the same function. 'I prayed to God, conversed with my inner self, and marveled at natural phenomena like day and night.'

Also Read: 'Who was responsible for Veerappan surviving so long?'

His wife Parvathamma, his three star sons Shivaraj, Raghavendra and Puneet, are relieved about Veerappan's end. So is Rajakumar, who says he can now travel freely to his village home in Gajanur. It was from there that Veerappan kidnapped him in July 2000.

Photographs: Rediff Archives

Image: Rahil Shaikh

The Rediff Specials

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Number of User Comments: 10

Sub: veerappan death.......a mystery

the eyes of veerappan feel to be missing.....what happened to them.......? why is there no blood on the hole on the forehead....? Have they wiped ...

Posted by yani

Sub: Is it now Rajakumar instead of Rajkumar ?

Either rediff is consistently getting the actor's name wrong or the actor has changed his name. If it is that rediff is getting the name ...

Posted by lojak_bid

Sub: Yeah

Yeah,such a big for such a small thing.This guy was far better than the stupid naxals who set a bus with 60+ people alive.Naxals have ...

Posted by ram

Sub: veerappan

:"DNA test is mandatory to confirm or exclude the person".

Posted by rk

Sub: Veerappan's End

No Criminal can operate for so long without the connivance of Politicians + Police Force. The Political mileage out of the "encounter" seems to have ...

Posted by Pradeep


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