‘Power Star’ Keen to Premiere Kannada Movies in Dubai

November 25, 2009

His late father, Kannada filmdom’s legendary icon, 'Annavru' Dr Rajkumar is his role model and still lives in his heart, says Puneet Rajkumar, currently one of the leading stars in Sandalwood. Clearly in awe of his father, who is his inspiration Puneet says that he is following in the footsteps of Rajkumar and most of all loved his humble nature and endearing smile. Though Puneet cannot be compared to his father, one meeting is sure to convince that the actor has inherited the same smile and humble personality.

Thanks to Daya Kirodian, one of the organizing committee members of Karnataka Sangha, Daijiworld got the opportunity meet and chat with this 34-year-old young Kannada actor, who was here as one of the guests at the World Kannada Cultural Convention organized by Karnataka Sangha Dubai on November 20 and 21, successfully.

Kannada Movie Premier in Dubai
Though Puneeth is a regular visitor to Dubai, it is for the first time after 18 years that he attended a public function. He recalls that it was in 1991 he first visited Dubai with his legendary father. He was too young at the time. He expressed his surprise at the very conducive atmosphere here for Kannada movies and wanted to know why no Kannada movies are premiered here.

"I heard that lots of Telugu movies are premiered here, but why not Kannada? I am sure Kannada audiences outnumber Telugu audiences here. I am seriously thinking of releasing my next Kannada movie here. People love Kannada here and love Kannada movies too. I am confident that after passing the initial hurdles, many Kannada producers and directors will come forward to release Kannada movies, Puneet added on a serious note.

"With strengthened Kannada associations, audiences and media like Daijiworld and Radio Spice, one need not make marathon efforts to premiere Kannada movies here" he said. "In the United States of America lots of Kannada movies are released. AKKA, the premier Kannada organization wonderfully supports such initiatives. As far as popularity of Kannada is concerned, UAE stands next only to USA. Australia too has a good number of audiences. My movie, Akash was already successfully released there, he said.

From Lohit to Puneet
He was a child prodigy and had won a national award as a child artiste for the movie 'Bettada Hoovu' in 1986. He was then popularly known as Master Lohit Rajkumar, which was his original name. 'Kanadante Mayavadanu' sung by the star in the 1982 movie, Chalisuva Modagalu is immensely popular even today after over 25 years of its release.

"I really do not know why my name was changed from Lohit to Puneet. I think you need to ask my mother about this," says Puneet with a smile. He agreed to the query that it could well have been a move taken as per his horoscope. It was in 1985 that he was renamed as Puneet Rajkumar.

As a child artiste, he acted in more than 12 movies.

Entry as Hero
Puneeth made a stunning entry into Sandawood in 2002 through Appu in a lead role which proved to be his ideal launching pad as it went on to be a super hit. His next two movies, Abhi and Veera Kannadiga released in 2003 and 2004, respectively too set the box office ringing establishing him as one of the most bankable heroes in Sandalwood. He is said to be particularly choosy about the script. 

So far, Puneet known as Power Star has acted in about 11 films with him as solo lead. His recent release, Raj, the showman was rated a flop both by the media and critics. But Puneet defers with this verdict and says that though the film may not have created the required media hype, I must say its box office collections have definitely proved that it is a hit. Yet, some section of the media has given a thumbs down to the movie dubbing it a flop, which I do not advocate, Puneet clarifies. 

Puneet is an exceptionally good dancer. For the query, "At the moment you are a top dancing movie star in Kannada, do you agree?" he says, “Sir, I am absolutely not. My brother Shivanna (Shiv Rajkumar) is my hero, and will always remain a star dancer, a notch high above all. But its true that I love to dance, but I do not want a tag that I am the best dancer in Kannada film industry today. As far as dance is concerned, I drew a lot of inspiration from pop king, Michael Jackson, adds Puneet. 
'Ram', home production is his next project. It is almost complete and thereafter he will be busy with other three projects namely 'Jacky' and ‘Prithvi'. Another project is yet to be named. He is immensely satisfied as an actor, but says it is a constant learning process. He mostly acts in his home projects, which is looked after by his elder brother Raghavendra Rajkumar and his mother Parvathamma Rajkumar.
'Mungaru Male' Controversy
Mungaru Male is one of the biggest hits in the recent years as far as box office collections and audience popularity is concerned. Though Puneet admits it is true, but rejects the talk that Mungaru Male is the all time hit movie in Kannada filmdom. 
"When you compare the movies released in last two to three years, Mungaru Male is definitely a huge hit. But I must say, Om, my brother Shiv Rajkumar’s movie is sure the biggest hit in the last 20 years. It stood at the top for many years and not for a year or two. However, Mungaru Male is a very good movie and a new star Ganesh emerged from the movie.

Puneet admits that, director of Mungaru Male offered him the lead role and that he rejected the same that he did not the fit the role. He denies the allegations leveled against him that the he refused the role as he did not want to act against rank newcomer Pooja Gandhi. 

“I have no regrets for rejecting the role. Probably the movie would not have had become such a huge hit, If I had agreed to do the role. Perhaps it turned out to be a huge hit as the lead role was played by Ganesh, he analyzes and adds that Ganesh did a great job in the movie.

Puneeth with his wife Ashwini

His Dreams for Filmdom
Puneet dreams of setting up his own studio in Bangalore and also feels that there are no proper training institutes available in the state for young aspiring actors. He predicts a better future for Kannada movies despite tough competition from movies made in other languages. 

"Year 2009 has been bad for Kannada film industry with a marathon 120 movies released so far. The audience have more or less remained the same. Cricket matches too affect movie shows, but if we compete and beat Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam movies, then we have no fear of domination by the outsiders. The recent IT revolution in Bangalore city has had a lot of impact on movies that are released. More and more Hindi and movies of the other languages have found encouraging audiences here. Meanwhile, it is heartening that Kannada movies are still patronized by the loyal fan following which has not diminished, he added. 

Though 'Appaji' late Dr Rajkumar is everything for him, late Shankar Nag too was one of his favourite heroes. To polish his acting skills, he watches a lot of foreign movies made in languages such as Enlgish, Italian, French, German and others. "I never watch my own movies for I always think that I would have performed better,” he says honestly.

Though he sang for couple of his movies, he nurses no passion for singing. "In one way, I can say I was 'forced' to sing for it does not fascinate me as much. Moreover, I am surprised that the songs sung by me like "Taliban" in movie Appu is one of the big hits. I want to concentrate fully on acting in movies," he stresses.

’Sampathige Saval', late Rajkumar’s movie is Puneet’s favourite movie and the song "Yaare Koogadali" is his favourite number. Puneet is happily married to Ashwini for last ten years and is blessed with two lovely daughters.

by Walter Nandalike <br>Pics by Ramcy Fernandes
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Comment on this article

  • kushal, bangaluru

    Sat, Nov 10 2012

    puneeth is one of the great man of all times every one likes him very much .may god bless puneeth sir

  • seena m, kollegal Ganiganur

    Mon, Nov 28 2011

    Hi Punith, I like ur acting in all the movies but you should act in only original stories. All the best for your future.

  • seena m, kollegal Ganiganur

    Mon, Nov 28 2011

    Hi Punith, I like ur acting in all the movies but you should act in only original stories. All the best for your future.

  • Smitha, Kannur

    Sat, Aug 14 2010

    Hello Appu,
    Boy, u r so grown up. The first time I saw u, u were 9 or 10 I gues. I was a then classmate/friend of ur big brother Shivanna (Appaji, we used to call him at film institute. Great to know that u 3 are following ur father's path. I remeber u in Bettathehoo & few songs of urs. pls do keep singing, not everyone is blessed with such talents. May god make ur dreams come true.

  • Anitha, Tumkur

    Fri, May 07 2010

    Hi Appu,
    I am a big fan of you, Im very eager to share my opinions about u and ur movies.All ur movies are very good and songs are ultimate. why cant U interact with your fans in some forum, u look best in movies are vamshi,prithvi,ajay, milana and your hair style in raj never suits you!

  • Anitha, Tumkur

    Tue, May 04 2010

    Appu, U are perfect!

  • appu, banglore

    Fri, Jan 15 2010

    appu is always a superb actor with himmense screen presence.... by birth....i like all his movies ...he is the best.....jai kannadambe .......please see kannada films in theatre only

  • suhas, bangalore

    Mon, Dec 21 2009

    Puneeth You rock.. I like ur dance stunts.. you are amazing on screen. Nic snaps.. Wish u good luck :)

  • Girish, Basavanagudi / Bangalore

    Thu, Dec 03 2009

    Good one Puneet... Good snaps too... Being your fan thought I could give you couple of suggestions, please consider it... Plz plz plz never think about acting in non-kannada movies and remakes.. 2. Please choose your script, I didn't like Veera Kannadiga, Namma Basava and Raaj. God bless you and your family.. hope to see you sometime and take couple of snaps along with you... One of my greatest dreams was to take a snap with Appaji which never came true, hopefully it would be with you...

  • karun joseph, Mumbai/Mangalore

    Wed, Dec 02 2009

    Jai Kanadambe Jai Tippu sulthan..

  • Ashraf,

    Sun, Nov 29 2009

    Hi Punit i like your acting ur the best actor in DR R`s family keep doing the good work and happy to hear, you are releasing the Film in Dubai...

  • Narasimha Prasad, Jeppu,Mangalore

    Sun, Nov 29 2009

    Thanks for an excellent interview with Puneet.Nice photos and content of the interview is very good. His awesome screen presence coupled by tremendous talent in him which has been fully bestowed and blessed by his legendary father are the key to his tremendous success.It can be recalled that Puneet matched his father in each and every film he has acted as a child hero numbering about 15 films.No need to mention that all his films are bigger hits than he admits them to be ie.,his modesty.His legendary father Dr Rajkumar spent most his time with Puneet for neary 30 years until his demise 3 years ago. Best of luck to him in all his endeavours.

  • pavan, native: bangalore, Residence: Dubai

    Sun, Nov 29 2009

    Puneeth, we love you and would like to see kannada movies in Dubai. Your movies are a perfect feast for complete family. Good Job and keep doing the same....

  • Thirumegowda, Bangalore

    Sat, Nov 28 2009

    Hi Punith, I like ur acting in all the movies but you should act in only original stories. All the best for your future.

  • shiva, mangalore/Dubai

    Sat, Nov 28 2009

    What Puneet meant with om is a good movie is that it had held the record of the biggest hit for uite a lomg time.puneet is a great actor and the undisputed badshah of Kannada film land.

  • Manjunatha Bangera, Kasaragodu/Bengaluru

    Fri, Nov 27 2009

    I used to sing the song "kaandadanthe maayavadanu" in my childhood. Puneet does good movies but I dont agree with him that Om is a bigger hit than Mungaru Male. Just because it's his brother's movie he should not tell that. Come on Puneet, be sportive.

  • don patrick lobo,, mangalore

    Fri, Nov 27 2009

    there r lacs of mangloreans in dubai... if they support surely kannada films can not only be screened bt also be comercially do well........ all that we need need is a bit of love towards our mother language like all other indian state people........

  • Shrinath, Oman

    Thu, Nov 26 2009

    In August 2007, I and a producer-director tried to premiere a Kannada Movie at Dubai. But, things didn’t work out as the rent for theatre was high and not sure of getting more Kannada film followers. Finally the movie was a hit at Bangalore. Anyway, good luck.

  • rama murthy, mysore

    Thu, Nov 26 2009

    Hello, i read the interview with punith. punith has improved lot compared to those days, especially in acting. I always advised him to concentrate on story based movies.,like his legendary father. Best of luck for future .


    Thu, Nov 26 2009


  • Rajesh Rao, Mangalore

    Thu, Nov 26 2009

    Puneet is a very good actor with mass followings. Music & songs in his movies are superb. I like his movie milana and Arasu with Meera Jasmine very much. God bless you Puneet and your family. We have been Annavru fan throughout.

  • Kadambaratna, Bangalore/Mumbai(malad)

    Thu, Nov 26 2009

    Wonderfull interview.More content and substance makes different from others

  • Calvin, Surathkal\USA

    Thu, Nov 26 2009

    Yes Nasif, Sonu Nigam got the filmfare award for Ninnindale...Puneeth is the biggest star of Kannada cinema now commanding >2 crores for a film from Raam and its not even the official amount.

  • Kavitha, Mangalore

    Wed, Nov 25 2009

    Hi Puneet, ur movie 'MILANA' is wonderful and ur dance is simply superb. All the best to you.

  • nasif, kaup/abu dhabi

    Wed, Nov 25 2009

    Punneth, urs Ninnindale (milana by sonu nigam) lyrics & music is so famouse than Ganesh's Anisutide (mungaru male by sonu nigam). And also i know sonu came downsounth to collect best singer award for ninnindale. so your our real hero.

  • Suresh, Hassan Karnataka

    Wed, Nov 25 2009

    Puneet is an awesome star. currently the biggest star in Kannada. i have seen all his movies and like the way he choses his subject. long live puneet.

  • Calvin, Surathkal\USA

    Wed, Nov 25 2009

    Mr Walter. I congratulate you for this great interview with our power star Appu. Really, one must see his films to appreciate his all round talents. His martial arts stunts and acrobats will have you wondering how can a well built guy be so nimble? He is a great actor and a great son of his legendary father. Once again thanks for this. We have to support our Kannada films. Remember he holds a record of having 13 consecutive 100 days films and Milana broke the national PVR record of 400 days screening.

  • Thomas Dsouza, Gorigudda/Israel

    Wed, Nov 25 2009

    Thanks Mr.Walty for Exclusive interview of puneet..And Thanx to Ramcy for nice photographs.Keep it up!!

  • Murali, Pune

    Wed, Nov 25 2009

    Puneeth we love u very much ..pls try doing more movies in an year and pls do not act in any remakes

  • derick sm, mangalore

    Wed, Nov 25 2009

    hi puneet good luck

  • Mohamed Haneef Ali, Kundapur

    Wed, Nov 25 2009

    Hi, Puneet I liked your acting in a movie called milana. It was good movie by the way keep it up your good acting skill which is their in your blood from your great father. One more suggestion why you can't try some other lanugage movies like malayalam, tamil, telgu and of course in Hindi movies. However all the best to you and your family.


    Wed, Nov 25 2009

    Thank you for publishing the interview with Puneet.As a chilr artist he has acted in one of the greatest hits of Natasarvabowma late Rajkumars moveie Sanaadi Appanna as his grand son in a memorable role .The role played by late rajkumar as a shehanai vaadak was admired by none other than the world famous shenai vaadak Master Ustaad Bismillah Khan.


    Wed, Nov 25 2009

    Mr Puneeths expression is right..."mungaru male" would not have had become such a big hit if Puneeth acted in that.

  • Fredrick Correa, Nairobi, Kenya

    Wed, Nov 25 2009

    What a humble and down to earth star!

  • Zamir, Bangaluru/Dubai

    Tue, Nov 24 2009

    Hi Appu, Kannada film industry desperately need actors like you…keep doing good films…all the best..we love U..

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