Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona

Annavru::Bangarada manushya::The original youth icon who became a cultural icon

Bangarada manushya


The original youth icon who became a cultural icon
Prathibha Nandakumar
Rajkumar was the unmistakable Kannada identity. No amount of cajoling could get him to work in films other than Kannada.

Forget what the Net tells, give me the real picture. Didn’t Rajkumar ever behave like a star, have affairs, and get caught in a scam? I find it hard to believe!” It was a friend in media from Chennai calling soon after the news of Rajkumar’s death hit the sleepy public on a hot afternoon.

How does one make her believe that she was talking about a person who lived true to his image? It was an image that was inbuilt and not carefully cultivated to impress.

Rajkumar never hit a black Chinkara and go to jail. Never uttered sensational copies like “Wives are not lovers”. Or tucked away a sweetheart, who would emerge from the shadows after his death to take over the reigns and rule with an iron fist. Rajkumar never married his biographer.

His life was an open book. All his heroines called him ‘Annavru’, like any other fan.

He never deterred from his path. Striving to keep the interest of the Kannada language and culture was all that he cared for. He was the original youth icon. And, the culture icon.

Rajkumar was the unmistakable Kannada identity. No amount of cajoling could get him to work in films other than Kannada. Everyone who compromised would heave a secret sigh of relief that there was someone who made up for their follies. No one should forget that even before the linguistic division of the States took place, it was Rajkumar who gave Kannada an identity. That has been his mission, which made him the most influential Kannadiga of every poll conducted in Karnataka. No one could beat him at that.

But frankly, what else did he have to do? Being himself was a great gift in itself. He did not have to do anything else. He could have had the entire State sitting at his feet. He could well become the chief minister. He could have anything at all just for asking or even showing an inclination.

Why is it that when he leaves home in Bangarada Manushya, all the women in the audience called out to “have food before you go brother, do not go hungry”! When he sings “Huttidare Kannada Nadalli huttabeku” you believe he speaks from his heart, rather than consider it a song recorded in the studio?

To see his films on first day first show is something indescribable. The amount of coins that were showered on the screen made a good booty for the ‘bucket’ class. He would light up – that’s the most apt description- the screen. Some time ago, few techies in Bangalore wanted to have a different kind of a theme party and called it the Rajkumar Night. They decided to screen an old Rajkumar movie and everyone had to imitate the fans. What followed was a scene unforgettable. They threw coins at the small screen, whistled and danced. The scene was recreated well, though to a small extent.

But it was still just an imitation. What was missing was the passion. The love and adulation for their favorite ‘Anna’. Nobody can imitate that or even replicate it.

Across a 45-year span

Bangarada Manushya ran for two years, if one computes the collection in terms of inflated rupee today that would still be the biggest grosser

Naandi was one of his most acclaimed movie in the new wave genre

He liked chicken the best

He always visited the Ganesha Temple near his house before starting on a new film

His favourite holiday spot was Gajanur (his hometown), from where Veerappan abducted him

His first film was ‘Bedara Kannappa,’ in 1954

1968 – 100th film ‘Bhagyada Bagilu’. Awarded the title Natasarvabhowma

He acted in 205 films, the last film being Shabdavedi with actress Jayaprada in 2000

None of Raj’s films were ever given ‘A’ certificate


September 3, 2006 - Posted by | Dr. Rajkumar, EKAVI SHIMOGA

1 Comment »

  1. What a brilliant article…well said…Dr Raj was the light of Karnataka…He will be sorely missed.

    He was a diamond. I don’t think we will see the likes of him again.

    Comment by Calvin | August 21, 2009 | Reply

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