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Remembering Dr. Raj Kumar

Click here if you would like to Contribute or send a feedback.
Click here to go to the main page of Kannada Movie Reviews (Kannada).
Click here to go to the main page of Kannada Movie Reviews (English).
Click here to read more interviews.
Click here to read more Cine News from Mr.Vijayasarathy (Chitraloka).
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here to go to the main page of Star of Mysore.
Click here to read more articles from Mr. K. B. Ganapathy.
Click here to read more about Dr Raj Kumar the Legend.

Dr. Rajkumar, who passed away in Bangalore on April 12, was indeed a colossus of an actor of the Kannada filmdom. I think he has more reasons than one to enter into the world book of records, the Guinness Book, for acting in over 200 films that were all hits. And so also the songs he sang.

Many have paid handsome tributes to Rajkumar, who was a legend in his own lifetime. One of the best tributes I read in newspapers came from the veteran journalist and renowned author T. J. S. George in The New Indian Express.

In a few sentences, George, known for his brevity of expression, was quite eloquent in eulogizing the great qualities of Rajkumar, both as a genius in acting and as a good human being. If the saying that “one cannot always be a hero, but one can always be a good human being” is true, then in the case of Rajkumar it can be said, “he was always a hero as well as a good human being”.

George says, while film stars, by definition, are showmen and their trademarks are flamboyance, conspicuous consumption, tantrums and braggadocio, these were the characteristics, completely and conspicuously absent in Dr. Raj. In his daily life, he never dressed in anything showier than a white shirt and a white dhothi. "Given his iconic status, his humility was embarrassing to those who met him," says George.

I have never met Rajkumar personally, though I have seen him twice on the stage — once in Madikeri, Kodagu, in the mid - 50s and another time in Mysore some years ago at the Dasara Exhibition Grounds at a musical night. Of course, I have met his wife and soul mate Parvathamma Rajkumar a couple of times in Mysore, and found her graceful and full of humility like her famous husband in personal conversation.

From what I have heard, Rajkumar seems to be an epitome and cornucopia of humility — humility had indeed personified itself in the person of Dr. Raj. I would like to give just two instances to substantiate this view as told by my friends.

It seems, Dr. Raj was once given the award by the Central Government as the best actor, while in the same year Kannada film actor Ambarish was given the award as the best villain. Ambarish had gone to receive the award with his mother and had occupied his seat. Soon, Dr. Raj entered the hall and Ambarish's mother asked him to go and meet Dr. Raj, congratulate him and take his blessings.

Ambarish, however, did not listen to his mother. In a few minutes, Dr. Raj, seeing Ambarish, walked upto him and profusely congratulated him thus embarrassing both Ambarish and his mother, who was also angry with her son for not listening to her. Indeed, as George says, this was one example of Dr. Raj's humility that was embarrassing to those who met him — in this case Ambarish and his mother.

In another case, the well - known Ganjifa artist, Ganjifa Raghupathi Bhat, who is a resident of our city enriching its cultural scene, went to Dharamasthala, a pilgrimage centre in Dakshina Kannada, along with his aged mother. He was walking along with his mother and Dharamasthala Dharmadhikari Veerendra Heggade's brother Surendra Kumar Heggade in the temple forecourt. In the same area, they saw Dr. Raj who had come there soon after he was released by the forest brigand Veerappan who had kidnapped him. Krishna Singh, an aide of Veerendra Heggade, who was with Dr. Raj, had apparently mentioned of Ganjifa artist's presence in the same premises.

Before Raghupathi Bhat could know what was happening, Dr. Raj had walked up to them and touched the feet of Bhat's aged mother seeking her blessings and enquiring of her health. This, even though Dr. Raj had not met his mother anytime before. Probably, Dr. Raj, as a true artist, was intuitively induced to seek the blessings of another artist's mother. Bhat's mother, who lives with him, remembers that moment with prayers on her lips even today. One more example of Dr. Raj's humility.

Of course, Dr. Raj had heard the name of Ganjifa artist Bhat and had even met him once in Udupi about 15 years earlier along with the then Editor of Kannada magazine Tharanga, Santhosh Kumar Gulwadi. According to Bhat, he had given to Gulwadi an exquisite miniature Ganjifa painting of Lord Ganapathy made out of sandalwood paste. At that time, Gulwadi was keeping that in his pocket and when he met Dr. Raj, he gifted him the painting saying it was a work of his friend Ganjifa artist Bhat. Dr. Raj received it with great religious fervour and told them that he valued the gift very much and would always keep it with him.

I have mentioned earlier of my seeing Dr. Raj on stage in Madikeri. At that time, he must have been in his late 20s, about 27 or 30 years old in age. I remember even today, seeing the drama Muthina Haara at the Madikeri Town Hall, which was newly built at that time.

From those days to the present, Dr. Raj has traversed a glorious period in his life, except probably for that one incident of kidnapping. Even here, it must be said to his credit of his inner courage to withstand the ordeal like a Tapasvi. Even that Angulimalalike Veerappan had to surrender to a Buddha - like Rajkumar and give him his freedom without harming.

We know of a famous spiritual saying in Kannada: Sharanaranna Maranadalli Nodu. Indeed, the way his end came suggests that Dr. Raj was indeed a sharana. May his soul rest in peace and may his personal life, become a model for all those whom he has left behind.

By K. B. Ganapathy
Chief Editor,
Star of Mysore,
Mysore

Click here if you would like to Contribute or send a feedback.
Click here to go to the main page of Kannada Movie Reviews (Kannada).
Click here to go to the main page of Kannada Movie Reviews (English).
Click here to read more interviews.
Click here to read more Cine News from Mr.Vijayasarathy (Chitraloka).
Click
here to go to the main page of Star of Mysore.
Click here to read more articles from Mr. K. B. Ganapathy.
Click here to read more about Dr Raj Kumar the Legend.


 

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