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Rajinikanth to Jr NTR: Celebs Remember Puneeth Rajkumar at Karnataka Ratna Event

Rajinikanth and Jr NTR pay tribute to Kannada Superstar Puneeth Rajkumar at the Karnataka Ratna event.

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South Cinema
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From Rajinikanth, Jr. NTR, to Kantara fame Rishab Shetty, popular stars paid tribute to late Kannada cinema superstar Puneeth Rajkumar at the Karnataka Ratna Event.

On 2 November, at the 67th Kannada Rajyotsava (State Formation Day), Puneeth Rajkumar was posthumously conferred the Karnataka Ratna, the state’s highest award for civilians. The event was held at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru.

Puneeth is the ninth recipient of this prestigious honour whose award was received by the late actor's wife, Ashwini Puneeth Rajkumar.

Superstar Rajinikanth got emotional as he remembered how he was not able to attend Puneeth’s funeral despite being one of his closest confidants. He recalled when he met him for the first time in 1979, when Puneeth was only four years old.

Rajinikanth and Jr NTR pay tribute to Kannada Superstar Puneeth Rajkumar at the Karnataka Ratna event.

Puneeth Rajkumar as a child artist in Chalisuva Modagalu

(Photo courtesy: Twitter)

The Petta star revealed that he was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), as he had undergone an operation and that he was informed about Puneeth Rajkumar’s death three days later due to his health condition. He was in tears recounting the etched memory of the legend's smiling face.

"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 returned to God. However, his aatma (soul) is still with us,"
Rajinikanth, added.
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The Telugu superstar, Jr. NTR, noted that he was not attending the event in the capacity of his achievements as an actor. But he was there as a friend of Puneeth Rajkumar.

"A person inherits family legacy and surname from his elders. But, individuality has to be earned. If there is anyone who has won over an entire state with just his personality and smile sans ego, arrogance and war, it’s only Puneeth Rajkumar. He’s the people’s superstar of Karnataka. A great son, a great husband, a great father, a great friend, a dancer, and a singer. And above all these, he was a great human being."
Jr NTR, shared.
Rajinikanth and Jr NTR pay tribute to Kannada Superstar Puneeth Rajkumar at the Karnataka Ratna event.

A still of Puneeth Rajkumar.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

"The wealth in his laughter cannot be found anywhere else. That’s why he’s called the king of the smile. That’s why he’s getting this award. But, don’t mistake me. According to me, Puneeth Rajkumar is the very definition of Karnataka Ratna", the RRR star further added.

In a recent interview with a leading English daily, actor-director Rishab Shetty revealed that he approached Puneeth to play the lead role in the blockbuster Kantara

He admitted that he envisioned him acting in his film and believed that the James star would do justice to the character of ‘Shiva’, especially in the scenes of the buffalo race.

Fondly known as 'Appu' and 'Power Star', Puneeth Rajkumar is the son of matinee idol Dr Rajkumar. Appu died in 2021 from cardiac arrest, at the age of 46.

His last film Gandhada Gudi, a docu-drama on the wildlife of Karnataka, hit the theaters on 28 October. The film opened to packed cinema halls with fans and followers walking out of the theaters misty-eyed.

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