Puneeth Rajkumar was an Indian actor, playback singer, television presenter, and producer who predominantly worked in Kannada. Some of his most popular films included “Vasantha Geetha” (1980), “Bhagyavantha “(1981), “Chalisuva Modagalu” (1982), “Eradu Nakshatragalu” (1983), “Bhakta Prahaladha” (1983), “Yarivanu” (1984), and “Bettada Hoovu” (1985). Puneeth was in the entertainment field since childhood and he was also a recipient of the National Film Award for Best Child Artist for his role of Ramu in Bettada Hoovu.
Puneeth Rajkumar was born on Monday, 17 March 1975 (age 46 years; at the time of death) in Chennai, India. His zodiac sign was Pisces. He was often called by the name Appu. Being born in a family of actors, he was inclined towards acting and singing since childhood.
Height (approx.): 5′ 9″
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Puneeth Rajkumar was born into a family belonging to the Kannada cinema. His father, Dr. Rajkumar, was a matinee idol, actor, and singer. Puneeth’s mother, Parvathamma Rajkumar, was an Indian film producer and distributor.
Puneeth Rajkumar was the youngest of five children in the family. He had two elder brothers and two elder sisters. Both his brothers; Shiva Rajkumar and Raghavendra Rajkumar, are actors. His sisters Lakshmi and Poornima do not belong to the entertainment industry.
Wife & Children
Puneeth Rajkumar got married to Ashwini Revanath, a Kannada film producer, on 1 December 1999. The couple dated each other for more than one year before getting married. They are parents to two daughters; Drithi (elder) and Vanditha (younger). Puneeth, while talking about his marriage to Ashwini, Puneeth said,
I still remember how nervous I was to broach the subject of my marriage with Ashwini to my parents. I had never spoken to them so freely and openly about such matters. It was the first time I stood before my father and told him I wanted to marry this girl I loved. He then asked me to tell my mother and soon things began falling in place.”
He further added,
My wife is my best critic. There are times when she tells me that I have overacted in a particular scene and that my dance or a fight sequence is not up to the mark.”
Acting (Child Artist)
Puneeth Rajkumar made his first on-screen appearance when he was just six months old. Kannada director V. Somashekar cast him in his thriller film “Premada Kanike.” Next, at the age of one, he became part of a Kannada-language musical film, “Sanaadi Appanna.” The film is based on Krishnamoorthy Puranikthe’s novel Kuniyitu Hejje Naliyithu Gejje, featuring Puneeth, Jaya Prada, Ashok, Balakrishna, R. Sampath, Thoogudeepa Srinivas, Papamma, and Baby Madhavi. In 1980, Puneeth starred in Dorai-Bhagavan directed romantic drama film “Vasantha Geetha” in which he played the character of Shyam. He gained the opportunity to star with his father and legendary Sandalwood actor Rajkumar in the action thriller “Yarivanu.” Puneeth gained huge popularity as a child artist after appearing in the drama film “Bettada Hoovu,” directed by N. Lakshminarayan and based on Shirley L. Arora’s novel What then, Raman?. He also received a National Film Award for Best Child Artist for portraying the character of Ramu in the film.
Acting (as lead)
Puneeth Rajkumar made his acting debut as lead actor in 2002 with the romantic action comedy film “Appu.” Puneeth played the character of Appu opposite Rakshita in Puri Jagannadh directed action film. His performance in the film was highly appreciated by the critics as well as the audience. The film was a huge hit at the box office and proved to be a breakthrough in Puneeth’s career.
In 2003, Puneeth Rajkumar appeared onscreen as Abhi in the romantic comedy “Abhi,” a film written and directed by Dinesh Babu. The following year, he became part of Meher Ramesh directed drama film “Veera Kannadiga.” He was paired opposite Anitha, and the film showcased his dancing skills and stunt in the film. Although the film was badly trolled for its storyline, it was a huge hit on the Box Office in 2004. Thereafter, he appeared in a number of commercially successful films like Aakash, Ajay, Milana, Jackie, and many more.
Puneeth Rajkumar joined the field of singing in 2002. He sang the song “Taliban Alla Alla” for the film Appu. This song was written by Gurukiran and directed by Puri Jagannadh. The duo of Puneeth Rajkumar and Gurukiran emerged as a magical singing duo and delivered a number of hit songs together, which includes “Mama Mama Maja Madu,” “Jothe Jotheyali,” “Mylapura Mylari,” and “Kaanadanthe Maayavadanu.”
Puneeth Rajkumar, in 2012, debuted on Indian television as a host for the first season of “Kannadada Kotyadhipati.” The show was modelled on the British show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.” He received huge appreciation as a host for the show. After the success of the first season of the “Kannadada Kotyadhipati,” he also hosted the second season of the entertainment show. Puneeth then appearedas a judge on Udaya TV and Sun TV’s reality dance show “UPstarters.” The other judges of the show were Dhanush, Rachita Ram, Andrea Jeremiah, Silambarasan, and Amala Paul.
In 2018, Puneeth Rajkumar became host to an Indian reality television family game show “Family Power.” The Pixel Pictures Private Limited produced show aired on Colors Kannada from 25 November 2017 to April 2018. Following this, Puneeth hosted the third season of the Kannada language quiz game show “Kannadada Kotyadhipati.”
Puneeth Rajkumar made his debut as a film producer in the year 2019 with the film “Kavaludaari.” The neo-noir thriller film featured Rishi, Anant Nag, Achyuth Kumar, Suman Ranganathan, and Roshni Prakash in lead roles. The second film under his production was a Radhakrishna Reddy written and directed crime comedy film “Mayabazar 2016.” The story of the film is based on the 2016 demonetization, and it depicts the story of an honest police officer, a small-time conman, a jobless youth, and a corrupt cop who end up crossing each other’s paths when they are in quest of money.
Later, Puneeth became producer of several super hit films including “Law” and “French Biriyani.”
Apart from being an actor and a film producer, Puneeth Rajkumar also worked as a voiceover artist for a number of film. For his debut, Puneeth narrated a Chethan Kumar directed romantic action comedy film “Bahaddur.” Next, in 2018, he narrated “Amoli,” a documentary film based on the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
- 1982: Won the Karnataka State Film Award for Best Child Actor for the film Chalisuva Modagalu
- 1983: Won the Karnataka State Film Award for Best Child Actor for the film Eradu Nakshatragalu
- 1985: Won National Film Award for Best Child Artist for the film Bettada Hoovu
- 2007: Won Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Kannada for the film Arasu
- 2007: Won Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actor for the film Milana
- 2007: Won Suvarna Film Award for Best Actor for the film Milana
- 2008: Won South Scope Award for Best Actor for the film Vamshi
- 2009: Won South Scope Award for Best Actor for the film Raaj – The Showman
- 2010: Won Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actor for the film Jackie
- 2010: Won Suvarna Film Award for Best Actor for the film Jackie
- 2010: Won Udaya Film Award for Best Actor for the film Jackie
- 2011: Won Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Kannada for the film Hudugaru
- 2011: Won SIIMA Award for Best Actor – Kannada for the film Hudugaru
- 2012: Won Suvarna Film Award for Most Favorite Actor for the film Anna Bond
- 2015: Won Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Kannada for the film Rana Vikrama
- 2015: Won SIIMA Award for Best Actor – Kannada for the film Rana Vikrama
- 2017: Won Love Lavike Readers Choice Award for Best Actor – Male for the film Raajakumara
- 2017: Won Zee Kannada Hemmeya Kannadiga Award for Best Actor – Male for the film Raajakumara
- 2017: Won Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Kannada for the film Raajakumara
- 2017: Won SIIMA Award for Best Actor – Kannada for the film Raajakumara
- 2021: Karnataka Ratna Award (announced by Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in November 2021) The Economic Times
On 29 October 2021, Puneeth Rajkumar was admitted to Vikram Hospital in Bengaluru after he collapsed suddenly while working out in the gym. Later, the doctors at the Vikram Hospital revealed that he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest and declared him dead. Puneeth Rajkumar’s sudden demise led the whole nation in shock. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to pay condolences after the actor’s sudden death and called it a “cruel twist of fate.”
- Puneeth Rajkumar, as a tribute to his late father, wrote a biography of Dr. Rajkumar titled “The Person Behind the Personality.”
- In 2010, Puneeth Rajkumar was signed as the brand ambassador of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket team Royal Challengers Bangalore.
- Puneeth was associated with a number of popular brands like Karnataka Milk Federation’s Nandini Milk products, LED Bulb Project, 7 Up (PepsiCo), F-Square, Dixcy Scott, Malabar Gold, and Manappuram.
- Puneeth, who was the face of many social campaigns run by the government, used to endorsed social causes without charging a fee. He leveraged the influence he had to endorse many social causes which includes spreading awareness about the legislation through a series of newspaper and TV advertisements, appealing to parents to send their children to school and worked towards reducing drop-out rates in schools, and many more.
- After the demise of Puneeth Rajkumar, the cornea of his eyes were sccessfully transplanted into the eyes of four patients. The doctor, Dr Shetty, who performed the surgery, explained how he used Puneeth’s corneas to divide among four persons as,
“We planned to split the cornea into half and give the front portion to two people who have front corneal defect. And the back to two who have back corneal defects. We have never done it before with two eyes of one person and all with all 4 people on the same day.”
He further added,
It was a logistic challenge, but definitely worth all the effort. It needs a huge team. A team of 6 corneal specialists operated for almost 8 hours across 3 operation theatres to do this job because he deserved it.”