Grieving fans go on rampage

Rajkumar fans denied access to thesp's home

Police fired tear gas to clear hundreds of grieving fans trying to force their way into the Bangalore home of vet Kannada-language thesp Rajkumar, who died of a cardiac arrest in a hospital in the southern Indian city on Wednesday.

The fans, who wanted to pay their last respects to the thesp also known as Annavaru (Big Brother), went on a rampage, damaging or setting fire to police vehicles, buses and private cars.

The actor’s body was later moved to a public park to allow fans a final farewell. The regional government will give Rajkumar, who was 76, a state funeral in Bangalore’s Kanteerva Sports Stadium today. The state has declared a holiday for schools, colleges and government offices; two days of mourning will end today.

Theaters shuttered as a mark of respect for the man, born Mutturaju Singanalluru Puttaswamayya, who acted in more than 200 films.

His last outing was in “Shabdavedi” in 2000 when he was kidnapped by a bandit for a few months. Ill health prevented him from returning to the screen.

Rajkumar is survived by his wife, producer Parvathamma, and actor sons Shivrajkumar, Raghavendra Rajkumar and Puneet Rajkumar.