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Friday, April 21, 2006

The Only Star of the Kannada Film Industry

In the Friday Review (The Hindu), Manu Chakravarthy takes a shot at analyzing Rajkumar's position as Kannada cinema's only star:
Rajkumar represents the consolidation of various cultural and political upheavals in the erstwhile Mysore State and the present day Karnataka. Rajkumar who begins his film career without a strong ideological consciousness gets drawn into crucial political and cultural debates because of historical exigencies and cannot escape becoming an icon. Because of these compulsions, the path of the actor branches out in several directions compelling him to play roles not quite matching his basic temperament. It also explains the loss of direction and the disappearance of an organic perspective as far as the Kannada Film Industry is concerned, which, trying to capitalise on the superstar's public image, gives up fundamental political and cultural questions. Interestingly enough, the story of Muthuraj becoming Dr. Rajkumar is also, in a broad sense, the history of mainstream Kannada films.

Rajkumar emerged as a product of the times, symbolising the aspirations of the people. That ethos was captured in Rajkumar's 100th film Bhagyada Bagilu where the superstar declared his omnipresence with the song "Naane Rajakumara... Kannada thaayiya premada kuvara" (I am Rajkumar, the lovable son of mother Kannada).

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