29 November 2014
In his reel-life journey spanning nearly four dec ades, superstar Rajini kanth has been mobbed by lakhs of fans for autographs. But the only autograph the actor ever sought in his life was that of Kannada matinee idol Dr Rajkumar.
At a function organised on Saturday to mark the inaugura tion of the Rajkumar Memorial at the Kanteerava Studio, he said, “I was in primary school and around 11 years when I learnt that he (Rajkumar ) had come near the temple at Kempambudhi lake (in Bengaluru's Kempe Gowda Nagar ). I took an autograph from him, and till date I have not taken one from anyone else."
Rajinikanth has a strong Bengaluru connection dating back to his days when he wasn't into films yet. The function was attended by Telugu film star-turned-politician Chiranjeevi , Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah and Rajkumar's family.
Recalling the various roles donned by Rajkumar on the silverscreen , Rajinikanth compared the late actor to a stallion full of energy and said: “A lot of saints, asuras (demons) and even James Bond have mounted the stallion (referring to Rajkumar ). I guess he was the favourite of all saints. After him, no other stallion, including me, have had the strength to play such roles. The only regret that Rajkumar expressed was not playing the role of Bhakta Ambareesha.“
Rajinikanth also shared an anecdote about Rajkumar's humility: “One evening I took him in a car for an evening walk at the Tata Institute (referring to IISc ). En route, the car met with an accident. As we waited alot of people did namaskara to him; first it was a groundnut vendor, then an auto driver, a bus driver, a man in a car and his driver, and finally a woman made her three-year-old kid do a namaskara to him with folded hands. Later, while walking he asked me if I observed how he was respected by them. I said “yes“ and added: “If not you who else would they give so much respect to.“ He looked at me and said, “You mad guy, they are not giving me respect.They are respecting the Saraswati (talent) in me.“ He taught me to respect talent.“
Chiranjeevi described how he was fond of Rajkumar . “I once got an opportunity to see Rajkumar on the sets. I went to him and greeted him. He not only enquired my well-being, but also sought to know how the people of Andhra Pradesh were doing. I was inspired by him. He was full of humility and was very down-to-earth.“
Chiranjeevi recalled how he was lauded by Rajkumar when his movie Gharana Mogudu played to packed houses in the Kannada-dominated Hubballi region.
CM Siddaramaiah said he was inspired by Rajkumar and pledged to donate his eyes.