Kannada matinee icon Dr Rajkumar breathed his last on April 12 in Bangalore. In his sad demise an era of Kannada film world has come to an end.
A simple, principled, committed to the social cause and a multifaceted talented son of Karnataka has disappeared.
Even as he earned name and fame, his humble nature did not change. He never exhibited the image of a wealthy person. The simple white jubba and dhoti were enough for him when he was in public. Film producers of other languages standing in queue tried to prevail upon him to take part in their movies, but he never changed his commitment to Kannada movies. Due to his single-minded devotion towards Kannada cause, he became a symbol of Kannada awareness. He successfully led the ?Gokak? movement to implement Kannada at all official correspondence.
He was gifted with incomparable acting skill and a melodious voice. The prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award was presented to him by the then President of India, Shankar Dayal Sharma.
The journey to success for Dr Rajkumar came after a hard toil. He worked hard to master the skills of horse riding, sword playing and other martial arts which were essential in acting for a historical role. He was totally dedicated to his assignments. In spite of having mastery in artistic talent, he never made any difference with even junior directors. All along he was enthusiastic and co-operative.
While kidnapped by forest brigand Veerappan, he was there in his custody for more than few months. After the release he could not get over the traumatic experiences which slowly became a reason for his failing health. Had he not been abducted by the poacher Veerappan, he would have definitely lived a few more years with his regular practice of Yoga and Pranayam. By nature he was very philosophical. He had sung thousands of devotional songs which are still very popular. Even prior to his last breath he was singing the devotional songs, as narrated by his wife Parvathamma.
His popularity was to be seen to be believed at his funeral. Literally lakhs attended it to pay their last respect to their favourite hero.
However, during the funeral procession, taking an undue advantage of the emotions of the grieving admirers, some miscreants burnt down hundreds of vehicles and damaged public property, which brought a bad name to the otherwise spotless hero. There was no reason for fans of Dr Rajkumar to be unruly. In fact, some unseen political hand is suspected in the episode. Some sources say that a prominent ex-minister had his active role in creating these incidents. According to some sources, a meeting was convened at a resort in north Bangalore and was attended by two former ministers and an IPS officer. There the plan of creating unrest was hatched. It is very obvious that the intention of these forces was to destabilise the newly formed government in the state. These incidents were intended to show the incompetence of the government as the opposition leaders are now claiming.
During the funeral procession, family members of the departed hero were praying to the people with their folded hands not to hurt the image of their hero. But there were many unruly elements, which forced the police to resort to charge lathi, teargas shell and firing also. A tense situation prevailed up to the end. Police seemed to be relieved only after everything was over at the funeral. Army was called in to face any unforeseen eventuality.
Dr. Rajkumar was very impressed by the series of lectures of ?Bharata Darshana? of Vidyananda Shenoy of Rastrothana Parishad. In fact, when he was a hostage in the forest, he requested to send him a set of ?Bharata Darshana? cassettes. He also used to listen to sets of cassettes whenever he was on a long travel, it is said.
Just as N.T. Ramarao, actor-turned-chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, entered politics a large section of public and also some politicians wanted Dr Rajkumar to enter politics. But he was of his own person. He was never interested in politics. He never made public his political inclination, throughout his life.
He will ever remain a legendary figure of the Kannada film world.