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Rajkumar’s life history, in a two-volume, 2,148-page book

Kannada filmdom’s iconic superstar Rajkumar has so far been the subject of at least 75 published works of writers and film-makers, including his youngest son and actor, Puneet Rajkumar.

Yet, each of them pales before Doddahulluru Rukkoji’s new Kannada book, slated to be released on a grand scale here on Thursday — be it in size, content, quality of publishing or the lengths to which the author has gone for the work.

On Tuesday, Mr. Rukkoji had the copies of the two-volume biography, Dr. Rajkumar Samagra Charitre (Rajkumar: a complete biography), weighing a humungous 10 kg, ferried here in three trucks all the way from the press in Sivakasi.

The first volume chronicles his early life, times and family details. The second volume delves into the more than 200 films in which Rajkumar acted.

Mr. Rukkoji says it took him over 15 years of research before he could complete the 2,148-page work. He travelled to Chennai, Mysuru, Nanjangud, Singannallur (Rajkumar’s family town), Muttatthi, Bidadi, Dharwad and Hubballi to source material and pictures. Over 140 persons, including directors, producers, artistes and technicians and family members of the thespian, were interviewed.

He amassed over 20,000 exclusive pictures, of which he has included 8,700 in the two volumes. They present the complete details of all the films of Rajkumar.

It cost Mr. Rukkoji Rs. 87 lakh to print and publish the book. Help came from a few friends. “They lent me money without interest,” he said.

He said he chose to get them printed at Sivakasi as the town was known for the quality of its printing.

For all his efforts, the writer himself has become the subject of an 80-minute documentary that screen writer J.M. Prahlad decided to produce on The making of Dr. Rajkumar Samagra Charitre.

Prominent personalities from various fields complimented the work after browsing through a sample of the volumes. Rajkumar’s wife, Parvathamma, Puneet Rajkumar, other actors and Rajkumar’s former leading ladies Harini, Jayanthi and Sowkar Janaki have given their views about the volumes.

A pre-release promotional booklet brought out a few months ago contains reactions of stalwarts from the literary, film and cultural areas. It records Pandit Rajiv Taranath, Chandrashekara Kambara, Girish Kasarvalli and Baraguru Ramachandrappa hailing the opus as one of its kind in the history of the Kannada film industry.

Mr. Rukkoji originally started researching Rajkumar for a Ph.D. thesis under writer Siddalingaiah. He subsequently decided against restricting Rajkumar to a thesis, and did an elaborate work on him. “Now it has become a reference material for those who want to do research on Rajkumar,” he observed.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 4:52:02 PM |

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