Late Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar awarded Karnataka Ratna posthumously; Rajinikanth, Jr NTR attend ceremony
On the occasion, Rajinikanth gave a message of unity in Kannada by stating that he would pray before Rajarajeshwari (Hindu goddess), Allah and Jesus that everyone should live like brothers
The Karnataka government conferred the Karnataka Ratna award to late Kannada superstar Puneeth Rajkumar on Tuesday, at a grand function held on the premises of the Vidhana Soudha. According to sources, thousands of fans witnessed the programme amid rains and cheered the recognition of their star.
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Tamil superstar Rajinikanth, Telugu actor Jr NTR, and Indian author, educator, philanthropist and chairperson of Infosys Foundation Sudha Murthy also attended the function along with Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and his cabinet colleagues. The award was received by the wife of the late actor, Ashwini Puneeth Rajkumar, who thanked the people of the state and the government for the award.
On the occasion, Rajinikanth gave a message of unity in Kannada by stating that he would pray before Rajarajeshwari (Hindu goddess), Allah and Jesus that everyone should live like brothers. “Everyone must live together in peace, harmony and happiness without the differences of caste and religion. I seek the blessings of Rajarajeshwari, Allah, and Jesus for that,” the actor said. Sources stated that the statement by Rajinikanth assumed importance in the wake of recent social unrest in the state.
The actor also called Puneeth ‘God’s child’ saying, “In Kali Yuga, Appu (Puneeth) is like Markandeya, Prahlada, Nachiketa. He’s God’s child. That child lived among us for some time. He played with us and made us laugh. And again that child went back to God. His aatma is with us.”
Rajinikanth's speech was cut short due to the rainy weather. “It is raining and I can't take much time. I will talk about Appu when I come here in the future. I heard that when the Karnataka Ratna award was given to his father Dr Rajkumar, it rained. I congratulate the Karnataka government on behalf of Puneeth's fans for conferring him this award,” he added.
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Jr NTR, who also spoke in Kannada, stated that Puneeth won the entire state without ego and without waging war. “A person inherits family legacy and surname from his elders. But, individuality has to be earned. If there is anyone who has won over an entire state with just his personality and smile sans ego, arrogance and war, it’s only Puneeth Rajkumar. He’s the people’s superstar of Karnataka. A great son, a great husband, a great father, a great friend, a dancer, and a singer. And above all these, he was a great human being. The wealth in his laughter cannot be found anywhere else. That’s why he’s called the king of the smile. That’s why he’s getting this award. But, don’t mistake me. According to me, Puneeth Rajkumar is the very definition of Karnataka Ratna,” Jr NTR said.