Public reaction after Dr Rajkumar's demise
Bangalore: Thespian Rajkumar is no more. The 78-year-old actor, who strode the Kannada film world like a colossus, died of a heart attack around 2 pm on Wednesday. He swooned at his house at Sadashivnagar here around 1:50 pm and was rushed to M S Ramaiah Hospital where he was declared 'brought dead'.
The actor, who had portrayed versatile roles in over 200 films, had been keeping indifferent health for the last few years after his abduction by the late sandalwood smuggler Veerappan'in the forests of Satyamangalam six years ago.
Rajkumar is survived by wife Parvathamma, three actor sons Shivarajkumar, Raghavendra Rajkumar and Puneeth Rajkumar and two daughters.
Nata saarvabhowma Dr. Rajkumar ruled the hearts of Kannadigas for decades and fans believe that such an iconic figure never existed and will never exist in future. Always known for his humility, discipline and dedication, he brought about a revolution in Kannada Filmdom.
As the news of his death spread, hundreds of his grief-stricken fans rushed to his residence, where his body was brought from the hospital.
Police had a tough time controlling the crowd trying to have a last glimpse of their 'Annavaru' (elder brother). The crowd indulged in violence both at the thespian's house and also elsewhere in the City.
The frenzy led to shifting of Rajkumar's body first to the Palace Grounds and. later back to the actor's Sadashivnagar residence, only to be taken again to Kanteerava Stadium to enable the lakhs of fans to pay homage. Teargas shells were lobbed to contain the mob.
Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, State ministers and film personalities visited Rajkumar's residence where his body lay in state.
The State government declared a holiday on Thursday and a two-day mourning on Wednesday and Thursday in honour of Rajkumar:
The State Cabinet, at an emergency meeting on Wednesday evening, decided to accord State funeral-for Rajkumar at a place and time to be decided by the thespian's family members, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy told reporters after the meeting.
All the State government offices, courts, schools all colleges were closed on Apr 13, he said. The national flag would be lowered to half-mast during the two-day mourning period and there would be no government-sponsored entertainment programmes.
The Cabinet also decided to issue the customary black-bordered gazette announcing the death of Raj and expressing State's condolence, he said.
The Chief Minister assured the best of arrangements to enable the public to pay their last respects to the doyen of Kannada cinema at Kanteerava Stadium where Raj's body would remain in State for public darshan on Thursday. HDK, who himself is a Raj fan, also stated that the government would build a grand memorial for Rajkumar on the outskirts of Bangalore and celebrate his birthday there every year as a public function, "We want his name and fame to remain eternal".