Staff Correspondent

It went back to his theatre days when he was trying to make ends meet

HUBLI: "Huttidare Kannada nadinalli huttabeku, Mettidare Kannada manna mettabeku... " This evergreen number sung by Rajkumar in the Kannada film Akasmika, which was shot at Kittur Channamma Circle and Siddharoodh Math here, is not the only thing that connects the thespian to the city.

His association with Hubli dates back to his theatre days. In fact, Siddharoodh Math provided shelter to the great actor when he was still a teenager and was finding it difficult to make ends meet.

According to sources in the math, the actor, then called Muthuraj, along with his siblings and relatives, stayed at the `kailas mantap' of the math when he first came to Hubli in search of work. It is said that during his stay at the math he came under the influence of Sri Govinda Swamiji, disciple of Sri Siddharoodh Swamiji, who taught him yoga and music.

Muthuraj then joined the drama troupe of Gubbi Veeranna, which was camping in Hubli. He went on to work in other drama companies.

Entry into films

It was in 1953 that he entered the film industry, and it was Shivappa Kubusad, a general manager working in the Navayuga newspaper in Hubli, who acted as a sort of mediator between the actor and Karnataka Gubbi Productions, a Gubbi Veeranna company.

He was selected for the role of Bedara Kannappa, and the company sent a copy of the agreement to him.

The actor asked Shivappa Kubusad to explain the details of the agreement, as it was in English. Muthuraj objected to the line that stated "I further agree to assume any role that is assigned to me by you." He clarified that unless the role of Kannappa was assigned to him as agreed earlier he would not sign the document.

It was Shivappa Kubusad who corresponded with the company, which was by then named The Karnataka Films Ltd.

Thus began the film career of Muthuraj, who entered the film industry under the name Rajkumar.

These letters of correspondence and related documents are now the prized possessions of the Kubusad family.

After his entry into the film industry, Rajkumar paid several visits to Hubli, especially to the Govindaswamy Math and Siddharoodh Math, according to office-bearers of the math.

A member of Dr. Rajkumar's family visits the two maths every year to offer puja to the `gadduge,' they said.