As a kid, I loved watching films. Since it was usually the Rajkumar starrers that were telecast on Doordarshan (going to the theatres caused lots of procedural delays), I saw each and every one of them in wonderment, just like how my son today watches those lions, aircrafts, ‘amazing videos’ and rhinos on Discovery Channel. Gradually, I got fascinated by the techniques the film makers used (after hearing elders say words like ‘that’s a dupe’, ‘see the separation between the 2 Rajkumars, ‘look at the lighting’…), – specially during a fight, or a scene where an actor is playing double and sometimes a triple role. Nowadays, there is no real thrill in seeing these scenes (unless you are a student of animation) as we all know there is an extensive use of ‘computer graphics’. No wonder the heroes are appearing in multiples of 10 roles!
Going back, I think the first film I saw an actor in a triple role was, of course, Rajkumar in ‘ShankarGuru’. There were a few films that I saw later where there were two Rajkumars on the screen. But nothing could match 3 Rajkumars on a single screen. And the game I played (with myself) was to see that thin differenciating line between the two Rajkumars! And during the shots where the two hug each other, I would be inching closer towards the screen to see the dupe. I would also wait for those fighting scenes where the hero, villain and his chamchas (dark skinned with a fully shaved oily head) would jump from ground floor to first floor, or from the top of a car to the roof of the heroine’s house. Again, the game was to see the face of the hero’s ‘dupe’ who jumped or somersaulted thrice while kicking a dozen of the villain’s chamchas, and vanished. But alas, the dupe always managed to keep his face away from the camera, and I had to wait for another week for another episode of ‘Chitramanjari’ or ‘Chitravali’, or the film to be telecast again on Doordarshan.
So, I think you have now guessed why the above picture sequence! Today (Apr.24) being Annavru’s 80th birth anniversary, I thought of paying homage by posting these pictures where Rajanna has not only sung an amazing classical number in Raaga Kharaharapriya, but also acted superbly as a Singer, Flute, Veena, Mridanga and Ghatam player. I can hardly see that separating line between each of those shots (Masking technique used). And the timing and synchronisation between each of those 5 Rajkumars is simply Sakkath!
To quote from an earlier post of mine:
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.”
The first time I watched this song probably in 1980 (Kapali Theatre [yes, after the procedural delays]), I simply couldn’t wait till I watched it again and again to my heart’s content. Hats off to the actor, and all the technicians (director, cameraman, editor, light boys, make-up guys, setting team, sound engineer, and all assistants to name a few) who have worked behind the scenes of this wonderful song.
- When DD started in Bangalore, I vaguely remember seeing a programme where Rajkumar sang ‘Aaradhisuve Madanaari’ with an orchestra in a studio setting. Never seen that video again.
- Every time I hear this song, I am in awe of Rajkumar’s singing skills. And every time I see this song, the picturisation where the 5 Rajkumars are in a single frame reminds me of the song ‘Shivashankari’ set to Raaga Darbari Kaanada (*ing NTR, Film: Jagadeka Veeruni Katha, Music: Pendyala Nageswara Rao, Singer: Ghantasaala and Lyrics: Pingali). The lyrics went hand in hand with Ghantasala’s highly talented singing.
- Since Rajkumar was trained in music, his acting in this song (as the singer and accompanists), and in Sanaadi Appanna (as a Shehnai player), looks more authentic and natural, than NTR in the song ‘Shivashankari’ (For eg., the NTR playing Tamburi has not touched all the 4 strings as the song progresses), and Sivaji Ganesan as a Mridanga player in ‘Mirudanga Chakravarthi’ (Unrealistic portrayal).
For quite a few days now, there is news that a Stamp will be released in Rajkumar’s honour. Seeing the delay, I thought of designing and releasing one here at RwB! And feels nice to be doing that on Raj’s b-day 🙂
- Aaradhisuve Madanaari (Babruvaahana)
- Shivashankari (Jagadeka Veeruni Katha)
- A scene from Mirudanga Chakravarthi
- Karedaru Kelade (Sanaadi Appanna)
Visit Dr. Rajkumar page on RwB.
Update: Fever 104 ran a contest ‘Duplicate Rajkumar’ this week. I spoke a dialogue and sung a song from the film Babruvaahana. Just now Fever 104 FM called up to say that Puneeth Rajkumar has picked me the winner amongst scores of contestants. Feeling really excited. To win it on Annavru’s B-day, sooper alwa?!