Why Kannada movie legend Dr Rajkumar and his household steered away from politics

Whereas movie stars like MGR in Tamil Nadu and NTR within the then united Andhra Pradesh have been making their identify in politics, Rajkumar went into hiding to keep away from collaborating within the 1978 Lok Sabha bye-polls.

Grief-stricken followers of Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar are nonetheless coming to phrases with their devastating loss. Days after the premature loss of life of the 46-year-old star, folks throughout Karnataka and past are speaking about his motion pictures, sharing what he meant to them, and piecing collectively each small factor that occurred in his life. Many are remembering him because the model ambassador and campaigner for a number of initiatives of the Karnataka authorities. And the question retains arising as to why the Energy Star by no means demonstrated an inclination to hitch politics. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president DK Shivakumar had even advised the media that a number of efforts have been made to persuade Puneeth to hitch politics, however he all the time declined.

The explanation behind this may occasionally lie within the classes realized from his father, the Kannada film icon Dr Rajkumar. The standard man all the time steered away from politics. He was by no means swayed, even when political leaders hounded him to get his backing. Within the 70s and 80s, when famous movie actors like MG Ramachandran in Tamil Nadu, Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (NTR) within the then united Andhra Pradesh, and even Amitabh Bachchan have been coming into politics, Rajkumar stood his floor.

In actual fact, he went to date to keep away from being pulled into politics earlier than the 1978 Lok Sabha bye-polls in Karnataka, that he went into hiding. The Janata Occasion wished to discipline him as a candidate towards Congress supremo and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi within the Chikkamagaluru constituency. Famous filmmaker SK Bhagavan (a part of the Dorai- Bhagavan duo) and a detailed affiliate of Rajkumar advised TNM that the Janata Occasion went in search of him in every single place, together with within the filmmaker’s dwelling. “The Janata Occasion members searched my home from prime to backside in Bengaluru. They didn’t spare the bogs and even regarded behind the curtains and searched my theatre on the primary flooring,” he stated. 

However Rajkumar was in one other state — he was hiding in a farmhouse close to Ranipet, Tamil Nadu, which lies practically 100 km from Chennai. “It was a vacant farmhouse, and the proprietor was advised it was being rented by an individual who wished to write down,” stated Bhagavan. The proprietor of the farmhouse questioned what this individual would do for meals, because the farmhouse was positioned a ways from Ranipet city.

Bhagavan stated that every single day, somebody from Ranipet would go by bus to the farmhouse with bread and meals packets picked up on the best way, and ship it for Rajkumar. “As soon as the deadline for submitting nominations was over, Rajkumar got here out of hiding,” the filmmaker stated.

The one time the Rajkumar household noticed energetic participation in politics was when the veteran icon’s daughter-in-law Gita – the spouse of his son Shiva Rajkumar – contested towards former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa for the Shivamogga Lok Sabha seat in 2014. However Gita’s choice to hitch politics was seen as following in her father and former Chief Minister S Bangarappa’s footsteps.

Years later, Rajkumar is claimed to have defined to his son Raghavendra as to why he went into hiding in 1978. Sharing his father’s phrases with a piece of the media, Raghavendra stated the actor had undergone knee surgical procedure and was convalescing when he referred to as him into the hospital room. “He advised me that if the intention behind asking him to contest was in order that he might make a optimistic contribution in politics, he would have thought of contesting. However the objective for in search of him was to make use of him as a weapon. Nevertheless, when he was requested to hitch the Gokak motion, he was glad to take part. He stated his participation was vital and he might make a optimistic contribution,” Raghavendra recalled his father as saying. 

Gokak motion

With out moving into politics, the Kannada matinee idol was capable of make a mark when he volunteered to steer the Gokak motion, which demanded primacy for the Kannada language in training and employment.

The Gokak motion obtained its impetus in 1982 after Rajkumar agreed to take part in it. The Congress authorities had initially declined to just accept the report of an skilled committee, headed by Jnanpith recipient VK Gokak, which advisable the primacy of Kannada language in faculties. Opposing the federal government’s choice, a linguistic agitation was launched by litterateurs, political events and Kannada activists, however there was no help from the widespread individual.

Nevertheless, this modified with Rajkumar’s entry into the motion. Your complete Kannada movie business stood behind him and the general public additionally lent their help, and the federal government was pressured to just accept the report.

Although two farmers died throughout the motion on account of police firing in Nargund and Navalgund in 1980, the Gokak agitation is basically thought of a hit and it’s stated to be one of many causes for the downfall of the Gundu Rao authorities in 1983.

After that, the bond between Rajkumar and Kannada nationalism strengthened. And at each Kannada Rajyotsava celebration or at any Kannada occasion, “Huttidare Kannada nadalli huttabeku; Mettidare Kannada manna mettabeku” from Rajkumar’s movie Aakasmika is all the time performed.

Even when politics wasn’t their cup of tea, Rajkumar and his sons have been very beneficiant and went out of their solution to be model ambassadors for presidency programmes with out taking any remuneration. They made certain to play their half in any essential matter to do with the state.

Based on Bhagavan, when Rajkumar was endorsing the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF), he declined to take a single penny for doing the advert. The organisation, nevertheless, felicitated him by presenting him with a cow. 

Puneeth carried on his father’s legacy by endorsing KMF’s Nandini Milk in a power-packed advert, the place amid a wrestling match he spots an individual carrying a jar of milk. He sprints throughout, grabs the jar, and drinks the milk at the same time as he’s chased by others for it.

Nevertheless, very similar to their father, Puneeth and his brothers made certain to avoid politics. In actual fact, Puneeth, when there was hypothesis, issued a clarification that he wouldn’t be campaigning for unbiased candidate, Sumalatha Ambareesh – the spouse of Kannada star Ambareesh – in Mandya throughout the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Former chairman of the Karnataka Legislative Council BL Shankar, who was with the Janata Occasion within the 70s, stated politics would have by no means been Rajkumar’s forte. “One needs to be ruthless and egocentric in politics. Rajkumar’s nature was completely different, he was humble, an introvert and ensured he by no means attended caste-based capabilities,” he added.

Poet and lyricist of the Kannada film Mungaru Male, Jayanth Kaikini quoting from an interview of the actor, the place Rajkumar stated: “When Kannadigas have given me a throne and made me a king of their hearts, ought to I take up some other place?”  

Naheed Ataulla is a journalist who has coated Karnataka politics for over twenty years, and is a former Political Editor of The Instances of India. Views expressed are the writer’s personal.

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