Tamil Magazine Nakkeeran editor R R Gopal, who had acted as an emissary in securing the release of Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar from the clutches of forest brigand Veerappan Wednesday expressed shock over the death of the actor at Bangalore.
Talking to UNI over phone, Gopal described him as a 'yogi'. He was not only an actor, but a great personality, who was revered and admired by the people of Karnataka.
Recalling his days in the dense jungles, where Gopal, acting as an emissary of the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments, negotiated with the brigand for the safe release of the actor, said Rajakumar' s death was a personal loss to him and a big loss to the people of Karnataka and to the Kannada film industry.
Dr Rajkumar, who was abducted from his farm house by Veerappan in 2000, spent about 105 days in captivity before he was released by the brigand.
Gopal, who spent about 10 to 12 days with the actor during his five missions to the forest, said he felt he was meeting a 'yogi' when he saw Dr Rajkumar for the first time.
"Sethukuli Govindan and Maran, the associates of the brigand, did not even show me the face of the actor. Even they did not take me to Veerappan. I was so anxious as there were rumours about the condition of Dr Rajkumar. But I was greatly relieved when I saw him for the first time," Gopal recalled. Describing the actor as a man of simplicity and humane nature, Gopal said he saw unique qualities in Dr Rajkumar, which was normally not seen in a captive.
He used to perform yoga daily in the morning, which helped him to sustain himself in the forests.
"The food served by the gang members of Veerappan was so poor, that I took objection to it. But, Dr Rajkumar never pulled a long face and ate without any complaints. The days I spent with Dr Rajkumar will be remembered by me for ever. We used to talk a lot," Gopal said.