“I would never want to lose Puneeth’s smiling face"
Veteran actor Rajinikanth opened up on why he did not attend the funeral of Kannada film star Dr Puneeth Rajkumar.
Puneeth was posthumously awarded the Karnataka Ratna on the 67th Kannada Rajyotsava.
The event was attended by the likes of Rajinikanth and Jr NTR. Both attended as chief guests.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai was also present.
Speaking at the event, Rajinikanth got emotional and revealed why he did not attend Puneeth’s funeral, despite being close to his family.
He said he found out three days after Puneeth’s death due to his own health issues.
Rajinikanth said: “I had undergone an operation and was in the intensive care unit (ICU).”
He went on to say that even if he had known about his death immediately, he would not have been able to travel due to his health.
Rajinikanth added: “I would never want to lose Puneeth’s smiling face from my memory.”
At the event, Rajinikanth remembered the late actor as “God’s child”.
“In Kali Yuga, Appu (Puneeth) is like Markandeya, Prahlada, Nachiketa.
“He was God’s child. That child lived among us for some time. He played with us and made us laugh. Later, that child went back to God. His aatma (soul) is with us.”
Puneeth’s wife Ashwini Puneeth Rajkumar received the award on behalf of the actor in front of family members.
The award comprised of a silver plaque and a gold medal.
Puneeth passed away at the age of 46 in October 2021 after he complained of uneasiness to his wife. He died on his way to the hospital.
The reason for his death was declared to be cardiac arrest.
Puneeth, widely recognised as a ‘power star’ and ‘Appu’ by his fans, made his debut when he was just six months old.
He won a National Film Award for Best Child Artist for his role of Ramu in the film Bettada Hoovu.
He also won the Karnataka State Award for Best Child artist for Chalisuva Modagalu and Eradu Nakshatragalu.
Puneeth returned to acting in 2002, starring in Appu.
His last film Gandhada Gudi, a documentary-drama focusing on the wildlife of Karnataka, was released on October 28, 2022, to coincide with his first death anniversary.
The film was well-received by fans.
In addition to films, Puneeth was also a playback singer and television host.