There are thousands of articles in hardcover, paperback and even on the internet about Dr. Rajkumar. Even in the future, you may find thousands of article being written about his simplicity, acting skills etc. But the fact is, why was he revered? There were many actors in other parts of the world. So why should Kannadigas respect a man for just his acting? When you go with this question to search in books, you find just the glimpses of a person who revered his fans for their support and his success. The fact that he portrayed only good roles made them saw a positive side of themselves on the screen. And his personal life, shorn of wine, liquor, and smoking made him more endearing to the masses. In this article, you gain information on the life incidents of Dr. Rajkumar which you can never find on the internet.
But the fact which made him the leader of the Kannada Film Industry is the Gokak movement. At that time, when only literary stalwarts campaigned for Kannada to be the primary language, the leadership of Dr. Rajkumar added momentum. And the agitation was a great success. He also responded to the dubbing of other films to Kannada and the fact that no other language film was dubbed and released in the language was a sign of respect to him.
1. Praying For Amitabh Bachan
It was the fatal date,26 July 1982, that the legendary actor Amitabh Bachan got hurt during the shooting of Coolie. Dr. Rajkumar had a soft corner for Amitabh Bachan. After hearing the news, he secretly went to Nanjangud, and as per the popular story, did Urulu Seve for his health after having a bath in the river. The first version of Kaun Banega Crorepati was started on July 3, 2000, and the kidnapping of Rajkumar by Veerappan happened in the same month – July 30, 2000. Big B, out of concern was in regular touch with the Rajkumar family. In fact, he used to ask questions to persons from Karnataka about Dr. Rajkumar when they came to participate in the show.
2. Rajkumar’s Family Stayed Calm
Not even Annavru, even his family stayed calm in troublesome situations. After Dr. Rajkumar was kidnapped by Veerappan, the entire State went into a tizzy. Violence broke out in Bangalore. The Congress Government had S M Krishna at the helm. But the family members of Rajkumar pacified the unruly fans and requested them to maintain dignity and silence.
The incident was enough to throw off the State Government, but the second son of Dr. Rajkumar informed that the STF formed to nab the bandit had already warned them of the kidnapping. But Dr. Rajkumar did not pay heed to the warning and paid the price. It was, only after the statement was given, that the unruly fans calmed down.
3. South India’s John Wayne
If Dev Anand came to be known as the Gregory Peck of India, Dr. Rajkumar was compared to John Wayne in his earlier days.
4. Spy Films
It was during the period of Dorai Bhagwan films, that Rajkumar acted in super spy roles, relating to that of James Bond. And he wore clothes and acted in scenes that expressed camaraderie for drinking and smoking. It was Dr. Rajkumar’s mentor, Gubbi Veeranna who advised him on following such acts on screen.
The doyen of Kannada cinema took it seriously and till his death, he never smoked or drank in his films. This conversation played a prominent life event in Dr. Rajkumar’s life. Even in real life, he was a strict disciplinarian. Do you know that Dr. Rajkumar used to address Shri Gubbi Veeranna as “Buddhi”? It is a fact, that his father used to be part of G Veeranna’s troupe. Four of his spy thrillers went on to become huge hits. The films are Jedare Bale, Goa Dalli CID 999, Operation JackPot Nalli CID 999 and Operation Diamond Racket.
5. How Dr. Rajkumar Helped Amitabh Bachan
The film “Namak Halal” pitted Indian Superstar Amitabh Bachan and Natasarvabhauma against each other. In Santosh theatre, there was a tiff regarding the screening of movies, and one trade magazine published a derogatory remark on Dr. Rajkumar. This set off violent actions and Amitabh’s movies were banned. Finally, the Star had to come to Karnataka and speak with Rajkumar to take off the ban.
6. The Time Of 1978 – When He Proved That He Has Strong Will
It was the tense time in 1978. The country had a tough time facing the emergency and Mrs. Indira Gandhi wanted to win an election at any cost. That was when she stood in Chikmagalur. The opponents of Mrs. Indira Gandhi wanted to pitch Dr. Rajkumar against her. But he put his foot down. This situation has been told again and again. But kindly consider the circumstances from another point of view. His counterpart, M G Ramachandran was ruling the roost in Tamil Nadu after winning the elections in 1977.
At the same time, N T Rama Rao was also equally popular in Andhra Pradesh. Prem Nazir, the popular actor in Kerala was also famous in politics. Those were the times when actors were revered as Gods. If Rajkumar wanted, then he could have definitely won the election and become the Chief Minister. But he refused to capitalize on his popularity and remained a Screen God. His policy is strictly followed by even other language stalwarts such as Rajini and Ajith. Another event in the life event of Rajkumar, our matinee idol that we should learn to cherish for standing by his principles.
7. He Did Not Support Even His Followers standing for Politics
There were few who chose to ride on Rajkumar’s popularity by being his followers. They even contested elections in Bangalore by claiming they are fans of Rajkumar. But before the election, Rajkumar and his family clearly clarified that they do not and will not support politics of any kind from their fans. And the person who contested the election finished second in the poll fray from his constituency.
8. National Award for Songs
It is very rare that an actor gets the National Award for singing but Rajkumar has achieved this rare feat. Remember the soulful song ”Naadamaya Ee Lokavella” from the movie “Jeevana Chaithra.” It is also rare that he, being an actor sang for another established singer, S P Balasubramaniyam for the movie,” Muddina Maava.”
9. His Association with other actors
There were two other Kumars who were popular in the 1970s. They are Udaya Kumar and Kalyan Kumar. Together, they were known as “Kumara Thrayaru.” It was in the 1962 film “Bhoodana” that all the three acted together. Sad, the three were never again seen in the film. In the other film, Gaali Gopura, the three acted together, but Udaya Kumar had a guest appearance.
10. Role of Saints
It is not that Dr. Rajkumar played the role of the Divine. But he got an appreciation for depicting the roles of popular saints. Just look at the long list – Who can forget the role of Bhakta Kumbara? And then there is Bedara kannappa, Tukaram, Manthralaya Raghavendra Swamy, Kanakadasa, Purandara Dasa – he played them with perfection. There rarely may be an actor in the entire film industry who has acted in so many films concerning devoted saints.
11. Upendra’s Controversy (1999)
One of the masterpiece movies by Upendra, the film director. When the film was about to be released, a rumor spread that one of the negative characters in the movie portrayed Mrs. Parvathamma Rajkumar. The news set danger bells and Upendra requested Raajkumar to intervene. The Head Office of Bangalore then solved the matter in their own way. The real reason was not many were happy with the success of Upendra. Here was a guy, who just in his third movie, became a trendsetter with the success of Om. The jealous ones made the son of a ruling party Minister spread the rumor and it caught fire.
12. Om (1995)
This film by Upendra, which featured real-life gangsters is a classic. It has been remade into many languages. Every aspect said and done, but do you think this film would have been possible without Rajkumar and Mrs. Parvathamma Rajkumar?
The real gangsters in the movie, Jedarahalli Krishnappa, Tanveer, Korangu Krishna and Bekkina Kannu Rajendra all were popular underworld names in the 1990s. They had parts of Bangalore under their control. Upendra had specified in a local weekly magazine, that he was tense during the shooting, as all the gang leaders used to come with twenty to thirty members. And to be believed, there were no skirmishes during the shooting. The situation definitely needs to be in the life events of Rajkumar and we have included in the list.
13. Devotional Songs
It is very rare, that you see an actor respected and remembered for his singing skills. Although he has sung in many movies for his own characters, Dr Rajkumar was famous for his songs on Raghavendra Swamiji and Lord Hanuman.
14. Jaggesh and Dr. Rajkumar
The noted actor is noted for his perfect comedy skills. But Jaggesh had told in an interview, that at one time, he was suffering from the ill effects of Saturn. And Dr. Rajkumar had recited the Hanuman Mantra for his well-being and blessed him.
15. Nandini Milk
The prime product of the Karnataka Milk Federation is Nandini Milk. As a mark of respect towards the farmer, Dr. Rajkumar acted in an advertisement for free to popularize the brand. In recent times, Puneeth Rajkumar has carried forward the legacy. What more can a father want except to have his son carry forward the legacy? A prominent event of Dr. Rajkumar’s life.
16. Donation Of Eyes
Now, this is a complicated subject. There are some who believe that the soul wanders from one body to another, and after death, the body has to be returned intact to the Pancha Bhutas. And then there are some mischief mongers who spread the rumor, if you donate the eyes, in the next birth, you will be born blind. And this concept prevents many persons from donating the eyes.
But Dr. Rajkumar proved that all these concepts are false by donating his eyes. And, his family also needs to be praised and appreciated for keeping up his promise.
There may be many more events in the life of the Kannada idol, but we have compiled only the important points. And, it is sad, that you do not get much information on the Internet regarding how Rajkumar contributed to making “Nandini” a success. And he was the first one to ensure that the technicians shooting for a film should get a nutritious meal.
After Mrs. Parvathamma’s death, it became well-known that she used to send cash to artists who were in need of financial help. There is a famous proverb, “Hiriyaru Illada Manenu, Garudasthamba illada Devasthananu Mashanakke Samana.” It is a fact, that we have lost one of our elders, Dr. Rajkumar. And also lost Dr. Vishnuvardhan. And Mrs. Parvathamma Rajkumar. Kannada Film Industry will never be the same again. Never and Ever!