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Deccan Herald » News Update » Detailed Story
Nata Saarvabhouma Dr Rajkumar no more
Naane Rajkumara, Kannada thayiya premada kuvara… Born: April 24, 1929 in Gajanur, Chamrajnagar, Real name: Muthuraju Singanalluru Puttaswamayya Named after: Lord Hanuman (Muthathi rai)
Dr. Rajkumar was a role model to millions of Kannadigas who called him "Annavru" (big brother) .In a career spanning over 45 years, he has acted in more than 200 movies in Kannada. Some of his popular films have passed into folklore like Bedara Kannappa, Bangaaradha Manushya, Kasturi Nivasa, Gandhadha Gudi , Sri Krishnadevraya, Babruvahana, Bhakta prahalada and Jeevana Chaitra to mention a few. His fans conferred on him the title "Nata Saarvabhowma" which means `King of acting'.

Though playback singer P B Sreenivas was the `voice' of Rajkumar, the actor himself underwent training in classical singing and went on to sing his own songs. His singing career began with a popular number 'yaare koogadali' in the movie 'Sampathige Savaal'. He sang for many private albums which were mainly devotional in nature. Even in singing he had a wide repertoire- from pure classical to melancholy to disco to the foot-tapping numbers . One of his most famous songs is 'Huttidare Kannada Nadalli Hutta Beku'.

Rajkumar has received numerous state, national and international awards and an honorary doctorate from Mysore University. He has won 10 Filmfare awards for the best actor category which happens to be the second highest in the history of Indian films. He has won 9 state awards in the best actor category. He has also won a National award in best singer category. He received the Padma Bhushan award from the Government of India and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1995, in recognition of his contributions to the Kannada film industry.

Dr. Rajkumar was a real idol in many ways. He was a non-smoker, non-alcoholic and refused to act as a drunkard in his movies excepting in the initial days of his film career. He was known to perform Yogasanas daily which kept his spirits up when he was kidnapped by bandit Veerappan on July 30, 2000, at the age of 71. Veerappan was demanding the release of Tamil activists who were being held in jail under a defunct anti-terrorism law. The event prompted a massive manhunt and threw the Karnataka government into a crisis. Rajkumar was released unharmed on November 15, 2000, after over 100 days of captivity.

Though many politicians sought audience with him, he stayed away from politics, preferring to focus his energy towards kannada cinema.

Dr. Rajkumar started his career as dramatist with his father in a troupe led by Gubbi Veeranna. During his career on stage he became famous for his role as Arjuna. He honed his skills to become one of the most versatile actors in Indian cinema. Some of his mythological and historical characters have been depicted with a rare ease and aplomb. He showed a marked prerfence for roles that carried a social message.

The thespian was deeply affected by the loss his brother Varadaraju who died recently. Varadaraju worked with Rajkumar in his production company Vajreshwari Combines.. His wife Parvathamma Rajkumar was the producer for many of his later movies. All three of his sons- Shivarajkumar, Raghavendra Rajkumar and Puneet Rajkumar are actors in their own right.
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