You'll be missed, Puneeth

You'll be missed, Puneeth

Puneeth unconditionally supported new projects, ideas, initiatives and fresh talents

Puneeth Rajkumar. Credit: Special Arrangement

I have been scrolling through my social media timeline over the past few days — all I see is sadness and grief around Appu’s death across class, gender, age group and faction. As a cinephile, the last time I saw such unequivocal mourning was for Irrfan Khan’s death.

So many flex boards and posters around... that familiar smiling face, but this time with the garlands on, is giving me a strange vibe. It is neither his birthday nor an upcoming big release. I am just numb, finding it so difficult to process this loss.

Puneeth was of our generation, our age group — just like one of our own cousins. He was an icon, a superstar and a beautiful soul we all associated with. In Bettada Hoovu, Puneeth's portrayal of Ramu, a kid who sources rare orchid species from the western ghats to help Shirley madam, a British botanist and painter, for her research was won him accolades and got him the national award.

Puneeth’s larger impact was through his entry into the small screen and into our living rooms through successful programs like Kannada Kotyadhipati and Family Power. His humility and simplicity made him an instant hit with the TV audience. This undoubtedly expanded his female fanbase and garnered him an unofficial ‘mane maga’ cult status.

Puneeth carried forward his father's legacy of singing, with many memorable songs. His remuneration for singing outside his home banner went completely into charity and donations. Puneeth's association with the Karnataka government in popularising a lot of government initiatives to reach the larger mass is exemplary.

However, what stands tall about him is his selfless, unconditional dedication and support in promoting new projects, ideas, initiatives and talents. PRK Audio and PRK Productions have associated with many new talents and promoted them by providing the necessary platform for the launch. PRK Productions has released four movies so far and had a lot more in the pipeline while PRK Audio collaborated with several other production houses and independent artistes to host and promote audio albums on their YouTube channel.

Untimely deaths of the ones we can relate to, leave deep voids in our hearts. One more such death was of Shankarnag — he died in a road accident on September 30, 1990, at the age of 36. Like Puneeth, he was also a dreamer, a great visionary who would have helped the industry grow with fresh initiatives.

Puneeth's untimely passing has certainly created a void in the Kannada film industry, and it takes time for this wound to be healed. You will certainly be missed, Puneeth.