Movies and the man
The pride of Kannada cinema, RAJKUMAR, will soon be seen on screen in a triple role. MICHAEL PATRAO on the actor’s movies
AFTER a long sabbatical of five years, Natasarvabhouma’ Rajkumar will be seen again on he celluloid in Bhakto Ambarisha, a mythological film in which he plays triple roles, that if the saint and his two sons. His last film was Odahuttidavaru, re eased in 1994.
The script will he written by writer-producer H V Subba Rao and will be directed by Dorai Bhagwan who have directed several Raj movies.
Music-director and lyricist Hamsalekha has been signed not only to compose the music but also to write the lyrics. The shooting of this film is likely to commence on April 24, which is the )birthday of the thespian.
Having come from a theatrical background and having acted in devotional, mythological and historical plays, films with the same ;subjects have remained Rajkumar’s core strength. Even when Kannada films were at the height of mediocrity, the films of Rajkumar was one stabilising factor or.
He has played historical characters in some unforgettable films. In Randheera Kanteerava (1960), a historical movie about the intrigues of Mysore kings, he played he role of Kanteerava. The scheming Dalavayi Vikrama Raya kills the king and places Kanteerava, a newcomer on the throne. But Kanteerva proves to he a hard nut to crack. He goes to Tiruchinapalli and defeats an invincible wrestler and brings back Doddi, a dancer, to the palace. Dalavayi plans to kill Kanteerva and Doddi. Kanteerava escapes, but Doddi becomes a victim of the scheme.
In Tenali Rama (1955) he portrays the renowned jester. He plays the illustrious Vijayanagar ruler king in Sri Krishna Devaraya (1970), and the ingenious poet in Kaviratna Kalidasa (1983). Arguably his most popular role was that of Mayura Varma in the historically inspired Mayura.
Among the devotional films in which he has acted, he has represented several saints in films like Bhakta Kanakadasa (1960), Bhakta Cheta (1961), Santa Tukaram (1963), Bhakta Kumbhara (1974) and the role of Guru Raghavendra in Mantralaya Mahatme (1966).
In the mythological film Bhakta Prahalada (1983), he played the anti-hero role of Hiranyakashipu and that of King Harishchandra in Satya Harishchandra (1965). In Bhabruvahana (1977) he played the dual role of Arjuna and Bhabruvahana. But it was his role of a hunter in the mythological film Bedara Kannappa (1954), which brought him into limelight.
In this mythological film, Manimanta and his wife are celestial beings born on the earth due to a curse. Their rebirth is in a tribe of hunters and they are now known as Dinna and Neela. They get married and as if ordained they are thrown out of their tribe The couple tries to take shelter in a temple, hut the priest who is misusing the temple accuses Dinna of stealing the temple jewels. Dinna, who is taught the ritual of worship by Kashi, the priest’s son, turns out to he a great devotee. He is tortured by the soldiers on the charge of stealing the jewels. He is tested by god, time and again and he comes out successful. Kashi exposes his father and Dinna is accepted as Kannappa, the hunter.
This film turned out to be a landmark in Kannada cinema for more than one reason. It was the first film in Kannada to win recognition at the national level by getting a certificate of merit. But most important of all, it launched Rajkumar, one of the greatest artistes of Kannada cinema.