Indian actor Rajkumar, whose success helped strengthen cinema in the Kannada language, died in Bangalore April 12 of cardiac arrest. He was 76.
Riots broke out in Bangalore as crowds tried to get into his home to see his body, which was moved to a public park so fans could pay respects. It was the second time the thesp caused civic unrest — his 2000 kidnapping also led to rioting in his home state of Karnataka.
Rajkumar began acting with the travelling Gubbi Veeranna Drama Company, where he met Narasimharaju, Balakrishna and G.V. Iyer, who went to act with him in his debut feature “Bedara Kannappa” (Hunter Kannappa, 1954).
Rajkumar, who went on to act in over 200 films, from mythology to spy thrillers, was often compared to John Wayne.
His noteworthy roles include “Bhukailasa” (1956), “Kittur Chennamma” (1962), “Hannele Chiguridaga” (Rejenuvation of the Dried Leaf, 1968), Malammana Pavada (Miracle of Malamma, 1969), Kavirathna Kalidas (1983), Ondu Muthina Kathe (A Pearl’s Story, 1987).
His last outing was in the 2000 film “Shabdavedi.” He is survived by his wife, producer Parvathamma and three sons, Shivrajkumar, Raghavendra Rajkumar Puneet Rajkumar, all actors.