The streets of Bangalore may be infamous for its traffic which comprises around 85,000 autorickshaws. Yet, one autorickshaw manages to stand out in the crowd.
Proudly sporting the bright yellow and red Karnataka flag, this autorickshaw, adorned with nearly 60 posters of ‘Annavaru’ (the legendary Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar ), belongs to 47-year-old Satish.
Dressed in a crisp white t-shirt and pants, Satish even sports the flag and a photograph of Dr. Rajkumar on his nameplate and watch.
No wonder that his autorickshaw has caught the fancy of people. Like a celebrity , Satish gets requests to pose for photographs from people along with his autorickshaw.
This class five dropout says he has been a die-hard Rajkumar fan for close to two decades now. Although he has been riding an auto for 25 years, he says his life took a turn when he watched the film Sampattige Saval. “Every dialogue in that movie that our Annavaru delivers has given me strength in life,” he says, as he touches the photo of Rajkumar to his eyes.
So ardent is his affection for the superstar that Satish says he fasted several days until Dr. Rajkumar returned from the forest when he was kidnapped by the forest brigand Veerappan.
Satish got to meet his idol twice and has even made him sit in his auto. “The warmth he showed to me during those two times has made me believe in myself more. I want to achieve everything that my Annavaru set out to do. I want people to take pride in Kannada,” he says.
His attempts to make people who are new to Bangalore learn Kannada has won him mixed responses. “While some agree, some others just smile and click pictures with me and go home.”
His other proud moment was when he appeared in the film Raj in which Dr. Rajkumar’s son Puneet played the lead. “In the film, I had to come out of the theatre and say the tickets are over. It was a small role but I am thrilled to have shared screen space with Annavaru’s son,” he says.