Google Doodle, for the first time, came out of its Hindi-centric bias and honoured Kannadiga’s hero and actor Rajkumar on his 88th birth anniversary.
Born as Singanalluru Puttaswamayya Muthuraju, but known mononymously by his stage name Rajkumar, he was a legend figure in Kannada film industry and he was also one of the great singers who received a national award.
A highly talented actor in the the history of Indian Cinema, he acted only in Kannada films (except one Telugu film titled Sri Kalahasteeshwara Mahatmyam) and promoted Kannada culture throughout his career with titles such as Nata Saarvabhouma, Bangarada Manushya, Vara Nata and Rajanna for the industry.
He started his career at the age of eight as a child drama artist with his father who was working for Gubbi Drama Company, and entered the film indsutry as a lead actor in the 1954 film Bedara Kannappa. He never looked back and acted in more than 220 films, most of them epics and the last film was Shabdavedhi in 2000.
He was known for his highly disciplined and simple lifestyle practising Yoga, Pranayama and taking active part in Carnatic music festivals and literary events. He is the only Indian Super Star who stayed away from acting the vicious acts of drinking, smoking and uttering swear words throughout his 50 years of film career.
The fate had something else designed for the man of deeds that in 2000, he was kidnapped from his farm house at Gajanur by notorious Veerappan and was released after 108 days of captivity, shifting him from one forest to the other, posing challenge to the police and government.
Later, he remained shun from the public glare and in a couple of interviews, described himself as Muthuraju and not as Rajkumar. The impact of his captivity in the hands of veerappan took its toll and he died of cardiac arrest at his residence in Bangalore on 12 April 2006 at the age of 77.
The elgendary Kannada actor received 11 Karnataka State Film Awards, 10 South Filmfare Awards, two National Film Awards and a National Film Award for Best Playback Singer for song "Naadamaya". He was also honoured with the NTR National Award in 2002 and is a recipient of the Padma Bhushan in 1983 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner in 1995 for the lifetime contribution to Indian Cinema.