Six years after his death, the city is set to have a 13-foot statue of the late actor Rajkumar by the end of the month.
After looking for an ideal location for four years, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) finally decided to install the bronze statue right next to it, opposite the Sir Puttanna Chetty Town Hall and Canara Bank headquarters.
Cast by C.J. Nagaraj, the statue had been waiting in a shed for the past four years. The sculptor said BBMP’s tender for a 13-foot figure with one tonne of metal was awarded to him soon after the thespian’s death in April 2006. “The tender was for Rs. 13 lakh. However, I had to use 1,500 kg of metal to complete it and spent an excess Rs. 6.5 lakh.”
Ever since he completed the statue four years ago, it has been lying in his friend’s shed in Sunkadakatte, near Magadi Road. “I could not keep it in my shed as the statue is too tall. It was only recently that the BBMP officials informed me it would be installed,” he said, hoping that BBMP reimburses the excess amount he spent on the work.
N. Nagaraju, Ruling Party Leader in the BBMP Council, told The Hindu the BBMP would reimburse the sculptor. “We have proposed to install the statue on a seven-foot platform. We will landscape the area and fence it.”
The sculptor said the statue is a likeness of the actor’s character from one of his most famous films, Kasturi Nivasa. He is in a suit, complete with bowtie, caressing a pigeon. “I chose this as it is one of his iconic films. Everybody identifies with his character.”
Sources said the BBMP had been scouting for a location for the statue for the past three years. “Former mayors S.K. Nataraj and Sharadamma had shortlisted some six locations. However, proposed [infrastructure work] such as road widening or underpass in these locations made them unsuitable.”
The BBMP later proposed to install the statue next to that of Kittur Rani Chennamma next to the Town Hall. However, it would have obstructed the queen’s statue and the High Court said no.