Over the years, the Kannada Film Industry has been overwhelmingly accommodative and bluntly repulsive of actors at the same time. Of many people who have had the privilege of enjoying a long and fruitful career, Puneeth Rajkumar stands tall amongst his contemporaries. He remains one of the few child artists who have gone onto flourish later too. In this article, we look at the top 10 performances by Puneeth Rajkumar.
Based on the popular novel What then Raman? By Shirley L. Arora, in Bettada Hoovu, Puneeth plays a young boy from a poor family who aims to raise money to buy a book. The naivety of a young boy unable to reason his dream, Puneeth broke everyone’s heart with this performance.
As a child artist, Puneeth was mostly seen in films that featured his father Dr. Rajkumar. In Chalisuva Modagalu, even though the film flows into an intense drama, Puneeth played an important character in the film that appeared only in two small fragments. A song that featured him Kaanadante Mayavadano is still one of the most popular songs of his career. Incidentally, the song was also sung by him.
The only mythological film in his filmography, Bhakta Prahlada saw him and his father plays nemesis to each other despite being father and son on-screen. The innocence of Puneeth as an actor was hugely impactful especially in the breathtaking climactic sequence of the movie. Based on a mythological tale, the film in a way helped the tale to survive for longer in the minds of the people.
Debuting as a leading man, Appu till today remains one of the most successful debut films of actors in the industry. While he was acting after almost a decade, he never showed a tinge of nervousness. The film ignited a sensation back then and was a beginning to a successful career as a leading man for Puneeth.
Less popular in his filmography, Veera Kannadiga saw Puneeth play double role set in different time zones. Playing the roles of both father and son, he effortlessly played the charming son who is street-smart and the father who was a revolutionary in his time.
By the time Milana came out, Puneeth was a household name already. He was known to play the roles that appealed to the family audience. Milana cemented this notion. While the film ran for a year in theatres, it enjoys a massive audience on television. He was supported equally by Parvathy who was in the early stages of her career.
As he continued to remain the preferred choice of the family audience, Puneeth took on Prithvi which vocally spoke about the illegal mining in the Bellary region. This time around, he wasn’t playing a typical role as a likable hero. He convincingly portrayed the role of the IAS officer which put light on the ongoing corruption in the Bellary belt.
Puneeth’s first collaboration with director Suri, Jackie, when it was released, broke all the records of the industry. Suri who was known to portray the reality as it is was complimented by Puneeth’s stardom as something as path-breaking as Jackie was created in the Industry. This was one of the very few times, Puneeth has played a role that was rooted in reality.
All through his career, Puneeth has either been lucky to be directed by able directors or wise enough to choose to work with them. Through Paramathma, Puneeth collaborated with Yograj Bhat who had reinvented himself with a string of success. In Paramathma, Puneeth was given an opportunity to explore the layers of the characters which he did exceedingly.
Post the bleak phase of his career, Raajkumara brought him back into the hearts of the audience. He was back in the zone of Milana and Aakash. Through Raajkumara, he connected back to his audience and continued to remain the family’s favorite.
In a career that was spanned over four decades, Puneeth Rajkumar has already become one of Kannada Industry’s successful actors. We hope and wish to see many more of him as he ages like a glass of wine.