TV Southern Stars on CNN-IBN features actor Puneeth Rajkumar on September 15 at noon and 8 p.m.
Southern Stars is a 13-part episode on CNN-IBN featuring actors, filmmakers, musicians and singers from the Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada film industries. While the previous episode highlighted the rise of actor Dhanush, the following weeks will feature the likes of Kamal Haasan, Suriya, Nagarjuna, Venkatesh and Mammootty.
This week, actor Puneeth Rajkumar talks about his career, his journey and his father. Though he came with the pressure of being Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar’s son, Puneeth has held his own over the years. But then, that’s no surprise considering he has faced the camera since he was a boy of five. In fact, he even won a National Award in 1985. At 37, he is one of the top stars in Kannada cinema.
Being a child actor
I did 13 or 14 films as a child actor, and those films have always reminded me of my childhood. Since my dad was so busy with films, these projects helped me spend more time with him. Back then, I had no idea what fame or acting was about. I perhaps saw film shooting as a routine. In fact, I have no concrete memories of how acting was or what I had to portray back then.
Master of all trades…
I’ve always wanted to try out different things. I tried my hands in granite business, construction, and eventually entered the family business — distribution, and working as a manager for a couple of my brothers’ and dad’s films. I was keen on not acting. But then, it was perhaps impossible to be Rajkumar’s son and not enter the film world. Since I had tried everything and my family too wanted me to pursue acting, I decided to give it a shot
How it began
In 2001, Puri Jagannath narrated a story to me, my brother and my father. The film was called Appu, which, incidentally was how my family called me. And, that’s how I entered the industry again.
Dad’s the word
I have watched almost all my father’s films. In fact, some of the films have left a lasting impression on me. After I became an actor, my father would come to the sets of my films and watch me. He would never correct the way I acted. I’d like to think he liked my first film a lot. He never told me I’d done a great job, but then, I learnt that he’d watch my films at all the theatres. So I assume he liked my films. When my father was around during the shoot of a stunt sequence, I’d want to show him I could do it. Till he was alive, he had attended all my film shows. What I learnt from my dad is that we must be good human beings.
Treading a new path
I don’t mind singing. If people say ‘he has a good voice’, I don’t really mind singing at all.
(Catch this week’s programme at noon and 8 p.m. on September 15 and at 1.30 p.m. and 10 p.m. the next day)