Dr.Rajkumar a great hero: writes Raghu Koppar
Dr. Rajkumar Real Name: Singanalluru Puttaswamayya Muthuraju April 24, 1929—April 12, 2006) was the most popular actor in Kannada film industry. He was an icon in Karnataka and seen as a role model to millions of Kannadigas.
"Dr. Raj" or "Natasarvabhouma" or "Annavru" (Big Brother) to millions of his fans, he was also called as the John Wayne of South Indian cinema. He acted in more than 200 movies over 50 years in Kannada. Most of his movies have become great epic films in Kannada film industry. He was also a well-known singer, as a playback singer as well as of devotional songs. Rajkumar is the only Indian actor who has received national awards for both acting and singing.
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 honed his acting and singing skills.
His most memorable films include Bedara Kannappa, Bangarada Manushya, Kastoori Nivasa, Sri Krishnadevaraya, Kula Gowrava, Gandhada Gudi, Sampathige Sawal, Shankar-Guru, Babruvahana, Bhakta Prahalada, Halu Jenu, Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma, Jeevana Chaitra, Akasmika, Premada Kanike, Vasantha Geetha, Apoorva Sangama, Daari Tappida Maga, Badavara Bandhu, Yeradu Kanasu, Mayura, Bangaradha Panjara, Havina Hede, Anuraga Aralithu, Jedara Bale, Shruti Seridaga, "Sanaadi Apanna", "Babruvahana", "Chalisuva Modagalu", "Guri", "Parashuram", "Devathaa Manushya" (his 200th film), "Huliya Haalina Mevu", "Kavirathna Kalidasa" and many others.
He fought for Kannada Language
The "Gokak report" popularly known as "Gokak varadi" was about making Kannada a compulsory language for primary education. Considering that the language is spoken by a majority of people in Karnataka, the Gokak movement''s goal was to give Kannada the same basic right already enjoyed by other official languages in their respective states of India. When the Kannada literary experts and students started this movement there was a positive response from the common man in Karnataka. It gained momentum when Rajkumar was asked to lead the movement. He became actively involved in the movement and soon became the force behind the Gokak movement that was designed to bring Kannada to the forefront. He took a rally from Belgaum to Bangalore and gave speeches about the importance of Kannada. The government responded positively and Kannada was to become a compulsory language of education in Karnataka. Ensuring respect and dignity for Kannada language and Kannada culture were the corner stones of his life.
In his final years, Rajkumar had lent his voice to a few other actors and sang many background solos. One such song which holds a unique distinction was for the movie Muddina Maava wherein he had provided playback to the legendary singer S.P.Balasubramaniyam, who had acted in the movie. This is probably a rare occasion where an actor sings for a singer, which is probably unmatched in the world of cinema. He had sung many devotional songs on Hanuman and Sri Raghavendra Swamiji. One of his most famous songs is "Huttidare Kannada nadalli Huttabeku ".
Rajkumar had a brother, S.P. Varadaraju, who worked with him in his production company. He also had a sister, Sharadamma.
He was married to Parvathamma, who later became a film producer. They had three sons, Shivaraj Kumar, Raghavendra Rajkumar and Puneet Rajkumar, and two daughters, Lakshmi and Poornima. He launched all his three sons as actors in Kannada films
After his death
Dr. Rajkumar died at his home in Sadashivanagar, Bangalore, on April 12, 2006 (13.45 IST) following a cardiac arrest. He had a history of heart-related problems and had been admitted to Wohardt Hospital for treatment of unstable angina. His health had been a concern after the kidnapping and since the death of his brother S.P. Varadaraju.
Due to his larger-than-life image, the city virtually came to a halt as the news spread about the death. His death precipitated a city-wide reaction comparable to the time he was kidnapped by Veerappan. Following the news of his death, there were violent outbreaks in Bangalore city. The Chief Minister H.D.Kumarswamy later claimed that the violence was instigated by vested political interests. An unofficial bandh
(closure of all shops and other establishments) was announced. More than 100 vehicles were burnt; eight people were killed in police firing.. BBC News reported on the financial impact  of the riots.
The state government declared a state-wide holiday on April 13 as a mark of respect to the former actor. Private firms and businesses all over the city and many parts of the state remained closed due to the holiday.
His body was first kept at his home in Sadashivanagar. However, due to immense crowd pressure, the body was moved initially to Palace Grounds and then later to the Kanteerava Stadium. He was laid to rest in Kanteerava Studios in Bangalore on April 13, 2006.
So now we don’t have our Annavru with us; but his films are excellent and unforgettable.