Puneeth Rajkumar: The one and only Natasaarvabhowma in Karnataka is Rajkumar
In a freewheeling chat with CE, the actor traces his journey from the time he debuted as a hero in 2002, his attempts to build his own brand and what drives him
The release of a star film is nothing short of a celebration for fans. With Puneeth Rajkumar’s Natasaarvabhowma, directed by Pavan Wadeyar, already having hit theatres (first show was on Wednesday at 10 pm), his fans are going all out to create a festive atmosphere. However, this is not new for Puneeth, who has grown up in a household of stars, consisting of his father, Dr Rajkumar, and his brothers, Shivarajkumar and Raghavendra Rajkumar. Even so, the actor says he enjoys the adulation, and believes his fans' excitement stems from “immense love and respect towards the family.”
“I meet so many people every day, who have words of praise for my father. This makes me feel blessed,” says Puneeth, who recalls his early days of working as a distributor. “When I worked in Vajreshwari Combines with my mother, it was a practice that every time a film from our production house released, we would hold an early morning puja, get to the theatre and ensure that the morning show would release at the right time. At that time, we used to get feedback by 9 am, but now, with shows starting at midnight, the verdict is out much earlier.”
He has created a name and a brand for himself, and the actor is now working on building it further. “A robust brand will ensure that I get quality work. Since the time I started off in mainstream cinema in 2002, I've always considered work as worship. I believe that with successful films, you only grow bigger, which in turn gives you a chance to work with different actors, directors and technicians,” he says.
Puneeth tells us he took up Natasaarvabhowma, in which he plays the role of a photojournalist, because he was in the mood to experiment. “It was a different kind of a script, which had a mixture of multiple elements. Working with Rockline Productions was more or less like working under our home banner,” says the actor, who also had the opportunity to associate with stuntmaster Peter Hein in the action-packed entertainer. “He is somebody who goes by the script. It was wonderful to work with a stunt master who has been associated with so many big stars.”
Interestingly, 'Natasaarvabhowma' was a name given to Dr Rajkumar by his fans, when the legendary actor completed his 100th film. Today, the very same name has been used as the title Puneeth’s film. “The one and only Natasaarvabhowma in Karnataka is Rajkumar. This film has nothing to do with appa’s image or character. When they wanted to title the film as Natasaarvabhowma, I agreed since everyone felt that it would go with the story,” says the actor.
After so many years, what drives him in his career? “It is my job and I need to do it. At the end of the day, I am an actor. Whether a film does well or not, I still have to get back to work tomorrow to try out the next big thing,” he signs off.