Dr. Rajkumar (24 April 1929 – 12 April 2006), was an Indian actor and singer who worked in Kannada cinema.
Life and Career
He was born on 24 April 1929, in Tamil Nadu, India. His father, Singanalluru Puttaswamayya, was a street performer. He went to school until he was 8. He joined Gubbi Veerana troupe. Later, he joined Subbaiah Naidu’s drama troupe. In some films, he played a minor role.
He first appeared as a child artist in the 1942 film Bhakta Prahlada, playing a small character. He also appeared in Sri Srinivasa Kalyana in 1952 as Sage Agasthya, one of the Saptarishis.
A film director looking for a man for his next film found him near a bus stand one day in 1953, renamed him Rajkumar, and cast him as a Lord Shiva devotee in Bedara Kannappa (1954).
Throughout his career he only acted in Kannada movies except one Telugu film – Kalahasti Mahatyam, a remake of his first film Bedara Kannappa.
The actor played lead roles in 205 movies. He also owned a production company called Sri Vajreshwari Combines under the banner Dakshayani Combines. His 100th film was Bhagyada Bagilu, his 200th film was Devatha Manushya, and his last was Shabdavedhi.
A few of his popular roles include a young villager in Anna Thangi, a villager who becomes the mayor in Mayor Muthanna, an honest farmer in Manina Maga, and a revolutionary in Mayura.
He got into historical roles with movies like Ranadheera Kanteerava, Immadi Pulikeshi, Sri Krishnadevaraya and Mayura. He played the role of four prominent kings of Indian history, including Kanthirava Narasaraja I, Pulakeshin II, Krishnadevaraya, and Mayurasharma – representing kingdoms such as the Mysore royalty, The Chalukyas, The Vijayanagara Empire, and The Kadambas respectively. The actor also starred as Bijjala II in Jagajyothi Basveshwara as well as Raja Mallasarja in Kittur Chennamma.
He died on 12 April 2006, in Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.
In 1983, he received the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in India. In 1995, he won the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, and in 1992, he received the Karnataka Ratna.
On 24 April 2017, Google celebrated Rajkumar’s 88th birthday with a doodle.
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