Puneeth Rajkumar constantly challenged and reinvented himself

He took to producing new wave films and gave opportunities to many new talents

Updated - October 30, 2021 02:02 pm IST

Published - October 30, 2021 02:11 am IST - Bengaluru

A poster of Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar is hung outside a hotel in Bengaluru, India, following his death on October 29, 2021.

A poster of Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar is hung outside a hotel in Bengaluru, India, following his death on October 29, 2021.

Puneeth Rajkumar was someone who constantly challenged and reinvented himself, industry insiders say. He was also one of the first marquee names to take to the small screen by playing the host of ‘Kannadada Kotyadhipati’, a quiz show modelled on “Kaun Banega Crorepati” and family game show ‘Family Power’. He backed new talents and encouraged new wave Kannada cinema as a producer.

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He set up his production firm PRK Productions and Kannada audio label PRK Audio in 2017. Contrary to expectations, he did not take to producing films starring himself and other actors in his family, a path taken by his parents’ production house Vajreshwari Combines.

He took to producing new wave films and gave opportunities to many new talents. He produced Kavaludaari , Mayabazar 2016 , Law , and French Biriyani . He had three films under production — Family Pack, One Cut Two Cut An Flower is Came , and an untitled documentary about a mudskipper in coastal Karnataka. He was the first producer to release Kannada films — Law and French Biriyani — directly on OTT platforms during the pandemic.

Hemanth Rao, director of Kavaludaari , said Puneeth was keenly interested in all kinds of films and had a larger vision for both the Kannada film industry and PRK Productions. “I remember way back during the filming of Prithvi , I used to give him world cinema which he used to watch and discuss with me. He always backed new talent and wanted all kinds of cinema to flourish,” he said.

Pawan Kumar of Lucia fame, who was supposed to direct Puneeth Rajkumar’s next film Dvitva for which shooting was scheduled to begin in November, said he was keen to experiment even as an actor and accepting to act in Dvitva was proof of that. “I was at the reading of the script with other actors when we heard the sad news,” he said.

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