As to any other Kannadiga, it was a sad moment yesterday when I heard the demise of Dr Raj. Even though our generation was late to really witness his charisma onscreen and become die hard fans of him(on his films’release on Thursday the queues ran for kilometers, its said), we did get to see few of his films in the hall. And rest we caught up on the small screen.
There is no second question about his acting skills, one of the best in the entire country, but it was really sad that his popularity never really crossed borders. While his contemporaries tread different paths, he remained loyal to his love – Kannada and Films. It was not until the tragic incident of his kidnapping by Veerappan did he become world famous – so much so that, one prominent international news channel reported that Rajkumar “of Hindi Cinema” was kidnapped (whereas it was long since he was dead).
He is only one actor I have seen, who so comfortably suited to any role he did – Be it a God’s role or be it in a devotee’s role . In a serious role, tragic role, in comic, in King’s, in peasant’s he simply fit the role like a T. And of course, his brilliance in all of the ನವರಸ (navarasa), made his worth incomparable. This constituted to half the success.
He never had to work on his acting I guess, it was born talent but he took up to singing much later in his life and along with winning many hearts with his singing alone, he went on to win “National Award” for it inspite of presence of many full time professional singers. This gives a glimpse of his ability.
Not only did various awards reach him, as the saying goes, value of awards itself increased by honouring him.
But more than all this, his selection of films, his down-to-earth humility, his ability to transform people (there was a small revolution in terms of closing of local liquor shops after his film Jeevana Chaitra and many gave up drinking voluntarily),his work for the language (during ಗೋಕಾಕ್ ಚಳುವಳಿ or otherwise by just enriching the Kannada Cinema), his peace loving nature made him different from other onscreen heroes.
May his soul rest in peace.