Dr.Rajkumar: My hero

June 12, 2006

1982. The kid is asleep after waiting for a long time. He has come with his mother and sisters to the Town Hall to have a glimpse of his ‘Hero’. And when the hero finally comes, there is a huge cheer. Our kid is woken up by the whistling and cheering. In his sleepy eyes he just gets a passing picture of whom he had been waiting to see all evening. And when the Hero is on stage, there are plenty of people obstructing the kid’s view.

1984. He starts collecting pictures of his Hero from magazines and newspapers.

1990. The kid now is a little boy. He is with his Akka-Bhava at a marriage hall. And again he is anticipating his Hero. The boy is not interested in anything other than meeting his Hero. The Hero comes finally. When he gets to see him, the little boy speaks to his Hero and manages to get an autograph. This is his prized possession and shows it off to anyone and everyone. A month later, he is excited to see his picture with the newly wed couple and his Hero published in a magazine.

1991. The boy and his mother at a public gathering. The Hero sharing the stage with a Swamiji and a Cabinet Minister. The boy gets to hear his Hero sing ‘Live’ for the first time.

1992. The boy has managed to do a scrapbook of his Hero.

2002. The boy is an adult and the Hero has aged. The young fellow has borrowed a Video-cam from a friend to shoot interesting shots of the city. Accidentally, he comes in front of his Hero’s house. And as luck would have it, the Hero is about to leave in his car. And the young fellow is all the while shooting his idol. The Hero calls him and asks if he is from the ‘Press” to which our fellow says that he is just a ‘fan’. The Hero and our boy have a 2 minute chat and a shake hand.

Our chap has made a few scrapbooks, collages and collected rare posters of his Hero.

2003. He has designed a poster for a famous Music Recording Company that brought out his Hero’s cassettes on his 75th birthday. But the young man’s desire to show his collection of pictures, posters and scrapbooks to his Hero and get them autographed remains unfulfilled.

2005. The young man is now married. But he is lucky that through a relative, he gets to meet the Hero. And has an audience for a couple of hours. He shows his collections. The ‘Hero’ patiently takes a look at the collages and books made on him. He remarks that the fan’s collection surpasses his own. He narrates a lots of anecdotes and stories related to the pictures in the scrapbook. He tells his experience as a hostage. And tells that he enjoyed his days in the forest. The fan listens quietly. The Hero asks about his guest’s profession. And as the young fellow describes his job at an advertising agency, he is surprised to know that his Hero knows a lot of things about ad agencies. The Hero’s better half joins the chat and appreciates the collection. She goes around the house showing the fan’s collection to all the members. The Hero’s daughter and son are over-joyed seeing some rare snaps in the collage.

The fan sees that his Hero is unable to walk comfortably, finds it difficult to move around with ease. He finally accepts that his Hero, RAJKUMAR, has aged. Until then, for the fan, Rajkumar could run, dance and fight with élan. But the fan, i.e. Your’s truly, is simply shocked to see Rajkumar struggling to do simple things like sitting with folded legs. But still, he is happy that ANNAVRU can humourously chat and has so much to share.

rwbrkraj.jpg

Collage: RK

I have a look at the room. The wardrobe is open and all I see is sparkling white silk panches and silk shirts. The room has a huge painting of his parents. There are a few kids playing in the drawing room. An hour has passed chatting and munching snacks with Annavru. A doctor is waiting to treat him. And sitting next to his bed, I get to see how much difficult Annavru is finding it to do what the doctor is telling him. Still, he does all the exercises and the doctor checks his pulse rate. Everything fine. Annavru shows the doctor my collection. The doctor has a word of praise for me. He takes a snap of me with Annavru. And another with Rajkumar and Parvathamma. I get my scrapbooks, posters and collages autographed by the hero. I get up to take leave. He gestures me to sit for some more time. He asks me about my parents. And feels really sad that I have lost them at a young age. And we chat for a while about music and philosophy. Another hour has passed. And I say it is time for me to leave. I put my hand forward for a hand shake. But he opens his arms for a hug. What more can you ask for than a hug from a person whom you have worshipped all your life? And how many fans get this privilege? “Saarthaka aaythu kanayya Ramakrishna Annavra abhimaani aagiddakke” I say to myself.

Rajkumar walks with me till the gate and has that lively smile. He waves his hand and bids me goodbye. I am overwhelmed after coming home that my dream has finally been realised. I realise that Rajkumar is first a gem of a human being, only then a gem of an actor.

A few days later, the government arranges ‘Saarthaka Suvarna’ to honour Annavru. I shoot a few pictures of the entrance having attractive close up shots of Dr. Raj from his popular films. Bearing the pain, he manages to get up everytime someone comes up to wish him. And he is totally tired at the end of the programme when he has to speak. I buy the book brought out by the government on this occasion titled ‘Bangarada Manushya’. I finish reading it in two days.

2006. Nine months after I met him, on April twelfth, at around two in the afternoon, as I am busy designing a web portal, I get a call from my wife’s brother in Hyderabad saying Annavru is no more. I simply close my eyes and remember the day I met him for a few hours. And pray for his soul to rest in peace. I visit The Hindu, which is next to my office to confirm the news. And the reporters tell me that arson has begun. What unfolded later, you all know.

It is exactly two months since we lost a fine human being, an actor non-pareil in the demise of Rajkumar. Very few actors will get the variety of roles that Rajkumar got in his career. And perhaps he was the last hero from the Actor-Singer era. I can hardly think of any hero who won a national award for singing.

Rajkumar certainly deserved a peaceful farewell. But, as the saying goes, ‘Man proposes, God disposes’.

40 Responses to “Dr.Rajkumar: My hero”

  1. anoop Says:

    I vaguely remember about this story, had no idea that it was you who was the ardent fan.

  2. RK Says:

    Anoop: There are a few stories in this post. Of which story did you have a vague idea? Curious to know!
    Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  3. Vidya Says:

    I am happy u got to meet ur idols -Dr. Rajkumar, M.S. Subbulakshmi &
    R K Laxman. Your only regret – u couldn’t meet R K Narayan although u named ur baby ” NARAYAN”

  4. RK Says:

    Vidya: You said it. That regret is less after I met some close friends of RK Narayan like N Ram & TS Satyan and showed them the scrapbook on RKN. One solace is that Laxman saw and liked it very much.
    Never expected to meet MS. But very satisfied I got the opportunity.
    Same with Rajkumar. Didn’t expect to sit with him for a couple of hours.
    I have been really fortunate.

  5. anoop Says:

    I did remember this incident you had mentioned in Muktha thread – 1009th scrap, searched for it. I was not able to remember earlier, ran a google search, got this link from “The Hindu” online article – http://www.hindu.com/2005/08/05/stories/2005080507970200.htm

  6. Srik Says:

    Oh What a great opportunity, and how well have u narrated it!!
    You’ve said it all… and interestingly. Thanks for the same.

  7. RK Says:

    Srik: Glad you liked it.


  8. you put the complete 80s and 90s out there mate🙂

  9. RK Says:

    Dear The Comic Project,
    Actually, I concentrated mainly on the ’80s. By the way, your Project has been a great success. Keep it up. And do visit this blog again. and again.

  10. RK Says:

    Anoop, you ought to be in a Research institute! Thanks for reading it.

  11. Sri Says:

    Kudos on the collage work and Thanks for sharing your experiences with the Emperor.

    All I can say is “The emperor is dead, Long live the emperor !”

  12. rk Says:

    Dear Sri
    Welcome to my blog.
    Thanks for your comments.
    Keep visiting…and keep blogging.


  13. […] We had a lovely time seeing the colourful fountain. There were lots of kids playing accompanied by their parents. The place looked clean and well-maintained. We managed to get a ‘kallu-benchu’ and the grass was fluffy too. There was no music accompanying the fountain. It became one after yours truly sang Naadamaya, the song that won Dr. Rajkumar a national award for singing. […]

  14. Subbaramu Says:

    Bellur,

    That was superb. I could just imagine the feelings you would have experienced and the way you have put it down.

  15. rk Says:

    Subbaramu,
    Welcome to my blog and thanks for your comments.
    Keep visiting often.🙂


  16. namma anna rajkumar ninnage vandanegalu
    raj kumar had not died but we lost humanityviture mutturaj


  17. […] 3. I am obsessed to the Rasipuram brothers, RK Narayan and RK Laxman, the divine singer MS Subbulakshmi and the great actor Dr. Rajkumar. As a personal tribute, have made scrapbooks and collages on all these legends. […]

  18. ravi Says:

    rajkumar matthe kannada naadalli hutti baruttare.

  19. praneshachar Says:

    bellur
    yaru dhanyro irvaralli
    nimmanthgha abhimani padeda a devoro
    anthha devarannu kanda i abhmaniyo
    very difficult to judge
    Dr.Raj must have felt very happy seeing a
    fan of different kind who is RK
    hat off to you once again
    very happy to read the illustrative narration
    as usual by you very happy kudos to you and your wife

  20. Mamatha Says:

    iam very happy to see the story of dr,Rajkumar .

  21. rk Says:

    kiran kumar ctl,
    rajanna will live thru his works.

    ravi,
    nannadu adhe abhilashe.

    pranesh,
    thanks you for those lovely words,sir.

    mamatha,
    i am glad you liked the story. thanks for commenting. please visit again.

  22. greatunknown Says:

    Sir, the sum total of what you’ve written is simply mind boggling! I am at a loss to explain the simplicity and power behind your words and the manner in which you have narrated your experiences with that giant of filmdom, Dr. Rajkumar.

    I think all of us have exhausted adjectives in describing this great man and his down-to-earth persona. I think that’s what endeared him to millions of his admirers and that’s what made him an enigmatic figure too!

    “Saarthaka aaythu kanayya Ramakrishna Annavra abhimaani aagiddakke”

  23. rk Says:

    anand,
    thank you very much for the encouraging comment.

    I think all of us have exhausted adjectives in describing this great man and his down-to-earth persona.

    very true.

  24. greatunknown Says:

    You’re welcome, Sir. I also wish to add that I designed a a full page on the day Dr. Raj passed away.
    It was a strange turn of events that led me to decide on what was carried in the paper that day.
    I am waiting for the date of his demise to approach and then I shall post that experience on my blog, with a photo of the front page of that paper!

  25. rk Says:

    wow! eager to see that front page design!

  26. greatunknown Says:

    Sir, I want to take your permission for posting this link on my blog as part of my Dr. Raj article.

  27. satish Says:

    Kannadigara thare site http://www.tharegalu.coz.in and vote to your favourite star in Top Ten section

  28. rk Says:

    anand,
    sorry for replying late.
    please go ahead.

  29. greatunknown Says:

    Added, Sir:)


  30. […] another tribute, a classy, first-hand account on Rambling with Bellur: Dr.Rajkumar: My hero Posted by greatunknown Filed in […]


  31. […] read: Dr.Rajkumar: My hero Ustad Bismillah Khan was a gentle genius Sadaa nanna kanna thumba, ee […]


  32. […] Full story here: Dr.Rajkumar: My hero […]


  33. […] When I met Rajanna a few months before his death, I had asked him which his favourite role was. He smiled and remained silent for a few seconds. “Kumbara, Kalidasa” he said. He told me that when he watched his movies, he felt very embarrassed seeing his acting. But then he also told me that there were times when he said to himself, “Baddi maga, parvagilla, acting baratthe ivanige.” […]

  34. suhas Says:

    ANNAVRU IS EVER GREEN SUPERSTAR………NO

    ONE EQUALS 2 HIM IN DIS WORLD……….

    HE IS A KING………

  35. suhas Says:

    RAJKUMAR IS ONLY D BEST ACTOR N SINGER IN D WORLD………..

  36. gajee Says:

    nice article on annavru….we miss him😦

  37. shivu Says:

    Does annavaru still own a house in chennai……

    i want to see it as i live in chennai


  38. 2015 – I want to buy that book you are going to write on Rajkumar. As a fan, you do have the responsibility to write that book. If you need lot of pestering to get started, I can be glad to help on that front!🙂


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