Dr. Rajkumar one of the most popular figures in Kannada Film Industry. He was an actor and singer. He acted in more than 200 Kannada movies. He mainly worked in Karnataka and has won awards for his work. His primary view about his fans was “I don’t know whether I will ever see God. But for me all those who are assembled here are my Gods.”
Dr. Raj’s early name was Singanalluru Puttaswamayya Muthuraju, he was named after Lord Muthathi Raya. He was born on April 24, 1929 in a Kannada speaking family at Gajanur. His father, Singanalluru Puttaswamayya, was a theater artist.
He was married to Parvathamma. They have three sons, Shivaraj Kumar, Raghavendra Rajkumar and Puneet Rajkumar, and two daughters, Lakshmi and Poornima.
Rajkumar started his career as a theater artist with his father in a troupe led by the legendary Gubbi Veeranna. It was here that Rajkumar started his acting and singing skills.
The name, ‘Rajkumar’ was christened by H L N Simha, director. Rajkumar would use the same name for the rest of his life.
Rajkumar marked his entry into the film world with the movie Bedara Kannappa in 1954. He has acted with many directors of the south Indian cinema from B.R. Pantulu, Puttanna Kanagal to Shankar Nag and Nagabharana. He has also acted with many actresses. Rajkumar has not acted in any other language films, in spite of having a huge demand and chances to be in.
Later he owned a film production company called Vajreshwari Production, which produced films under the banner of Dakshayani Combines. He has produced movies based on famous Kannada novels.
In the lifetime of Rajkumar, he has acted in 206 Kannada movies, excluding guest appearances. Bhagyada Bagilu was his 100th movie and Devatha Manushya was his 200th movie. Shabdavedi was his final movie.
As a singer Rajkumar was trained in classical music in Gubbi Veranna’s drama troupe. Prior to his singing in Sampathige Sawal, Rajkumar’s songs were sung by P. B. Sreenivas He became a full fledged singer after song Yare Koogadali from the movie Sampathige Sawal. After Yare Koogadali he sang for most of his movies. He received a national award for singing for the song “Naadamaya” in the film “Jeevana Chaitra”. He also sang for many private albums which were mainly devotional. Rajkumar was also a harmonium player.
Rajkumar was asked to lead Gokak Chaluvali, a movement about making Kannada a compulsory language for primary education. He actively involved in the movement and took a rally from Belgaum to Bangalore and gave speeches about the importance of Kannada. The government responded and Kannada became a compulsory language of education in Karnataka.
Rajkumar was kidnapped from his house at Gajanur in Tamil Nadu, on July 30th, 2000 at his age of 72 and was released unharmed on November 15th, 2000, after 109 days of captivity.
Rajkumar expired on April 12, 2006 in his home in Sadashivanagar, Bangalore, following a cardiac arrest.His death created major unrest in the city of Bangalore. The then Chief Minister, H.D.Kumaraswamy, later claimed that the violence was instigated and an unofficial bandh was announced. More than 100 vehicles were burnt and eight people were killed in police firing. The Karnataka government announced to make a memorial of worth Rs 10 crore in the memory of Rajkumar at Kanteerava studios.
Some interesting facts of Dr. Rajkumar are as follows,
It’s a great pleasure to know that Dr. Rajkumar was the First Actor in the Indian Film Industry to get Doctorate for acting from Mysore University.
He was also the only Indian Actor to get “Kentuky Colonel”, a prestigious award given by the Kentuky state,
He is only Actor in the Indian Film Industry, in whose name the State Government is giving an Award
He was the only Actor to have around 5000 fans Association across the world
Only Actor to receive Nation Award for both Singing Nadamaya Ee Lokavellaa song in Jeevana Chaitra & Acting for the same movie. He was awarded nine state awards for best acting
He is the First Actor whose first film itself won the National Award for Best Movie, Bedara Kannappa
First Kannada Actor to win “Dada Saheb Phalke Award”, prestigeous award given by Indian Govt. for the achievement in the Film Industry
The only Actor to have more than 10 Titles given by the Government & other Associations
The only Kannada Actor to recieve “Padmabhushan” award for achievement in the Film Industry
Only Actor in the Indian Film industry to receive 9 State Awards for acting, 10 Film Fare Awards, 2 State Awards for Singing
Only Actor ever to Act in 14 Films in a single year twice, once in 1964 & other in 1968
Only Kannada Actor to win the “NTR Award” given by Andhra Govt. for the person
He is the Hero of the Longest Running Kannada Movie ever – Bangarada Manushya, which ran for 2 years in one of the theatres in Bangalore & 1 year in 5 centres
The Success Rate of his Movies is 95%, highest ever than any other actor in the Indian Film Industry
Read more such great personalities at www.aboutbengaluru.com