About the Book
Kannada (one of the Indian language) film industry has a glorious history of over 70 years. When its first-ever film SATI SULOCHANA(Sulochana, the saintly lady) was released in 1934, no one ever predicted that a legendary star would rise on the horizon of the Kannada silver screen after 20 years of its inception.
A phenomenon called RAJKUMAR entered the threshold of Kannada filmdom, in 1954 with a memorable role in the film BEDARA KANNAPA(Kannappa- the Hunter), and rode it like a Colossus for over half a century. A new era in Kannada film had begun by his entry.
Though the history of Kannada films is resplendent with Universal appeal, there was no concerted effort to chronicle its progress in a systematic way. In this backdrop, the book BANGARADA MANUSHYA(The Virtuous person) authored by A.N. Prahlad Rao stands out as an authentic reference volume on the history of Kannada Film Industry in general and on the movie life of inevitably Dr. Rajkumar in particular, the life and works of Dr. Rajkumar are linked with the growth and progress of Kannada Film Industry itself. This book has emerged as a classic on Kannada cinema and about Dr.Rajkumar. Dr. Rajkumar was a living legend and icon of Kannada pride. He was known for his simplicity and bountiful human values. He reigned the kannada screen for five decades from 1950 to 2000. BANGARADA MANUSHYA(The Virtuous person) is a well researched work on the life and films of Dr. Rajkumar. This is assiduous and enduring work of art. This has adopted distinct and striking methodology in unraveling the life and films of a megastar which are entwined with masses.
Until 1954 the year in which Dr. Rajkumar entered the films, there were only 41 Kannada films produced, even though the industry was two-decade old by then. His maiden film BEDARA KANNAPPA (Kannappa- the Hunter)was the first Kannada film, which won the National award. This work is divided into 16 chapters easy for reading. The book chronicles the thespian’s progress in filmdom and elaborates on many issues including the role of Dr.Rajkumar in many pro-people and linguistic movements that determined the scope of Kannada language of the State.
A chapter about the abduction of Dr.Rajkumar by the notorious forest brigand Veerappan sheds new light on the whole episode.This book can also be a reference volume on Kannada film industry, as it has lot of details on the growth and development of the industry, containing the names of all Directors, Music Directors and Heroines who have acted with Dr.Rajkumar, and some old photographs of archival value.The first 9 chapters chronicle the story of the thespian under the canvass of the Kannada film industry’s earlier history.
Details about the advent of Cinema in India and also tags on to the similar development in Kannada cinema. Though Sati Sulochana (Sulochana, the saintly lady)is recorded to be the first ever Kannad Cinema, the book tries to date this event still further. According to the author Mrichcha katika (The Clay Cart)— a silent movie was the first ever attempt by kannnadigas.
The entry is the title of the second Chapter. Mutturaj son of Singanallur Puttaswamaiah enters into the tinsel world through the film SRINIVASA KALYANA (wedding of Lord Srinivasa) albeit in a minor role as part of a group. And then moves to become the hero of legendary BEDARA KANNAPPA(Kannappa- the Hunter) which catapulted the drama artiste of the professional theater into a towering film personality. In the next seven chapters different characters played by this great doyen have been classified.
This is the chapter where the details of all the 21 mythological roles played by Dr.Rajkumar have been vividly detailed. The chapter also dwells in detail of all the facts, including the technological aspects of the films like, who directed the film, who was the female lead, who composed music, who choreographed the dances and what was the film about and the viewing trend of the public in those days.
This is the next chapter. Dr.Rajkumar had acted in about 8 films based on historical themes. This chapter also places before us a very different path trod by Dr.Rajkumar and fellow artistes in joining together to produce films in order to pool resources. The result was the production of RANADHEERA KANTEERAVA (Kanteerava, a King of Mysore) a Kannada film based on the heroic deeds of the king of same name who belonged to the famed Wodeyars clan of Mysore.
Films based on the theme of Devotion
This chapter deals with extraordinary role played by Dr.RajKumar. Devotion as the only way to salvation is the principle depicted in these films. Dr.Rajkumar exulted in portraying all the subtle nuances of a true devotee. This chapter has succeeded in bringing out essence of the acting talents of Dr.Rajkumar. It is interesting here to note that the thespian made his foray into filmdom as a devotional hero.
Films based on the themes of Folklore
In the next chapter, it is noted that the early years of Kannada cinema have been documented where only the themes of folklore formed the major ingredient of movie making. Films with social subjects were taboo in those days. The medium of fantasy, graphics and fights were the major components of those films. Dr.Rajkumar played the roles of the hero who was an incarnate of all the virtues and who wins over the bad elements, with great aplomb. In total he had appeared in 22 films of this genre and this chapter vividly depicts the themes of all these films.
Films based on Novels
This chapter details an era, one may say a golden era, in the history of Kannada Cinema where many great novels of the Kannada literary world provided the backdrop. Dr.Rajkumar has done justice to all the characters. The chapter informs us about how the Kannada Literary scene became an integral part of the Film Industry.
Films based on Detective Stories
According to the author, the trend set by the bond movies of the Hollywood has to become the new genre of Kannada Cinema too. He opines that this new shift was a change from the Sociological themes and was well received by the viewers. Dr.Rajkumar has acted in 10 films of this new trend.
This is where the true screen identity of Dr.Rajkumar as the savior of all the good, as the loving son and a dotting brother, of the hero who fought against all oppression, and evils of society was established and a universally accepted image of Dr.Rajkumar as a Good Samaritan emerged. This is described meticulously by the author.
Milk and Honey
Dr.Rajkumar was a true gentleman. He used to interact with every one on the sets with same dexterity and politeness. This chapter depicts the character of Dr.Rajkumar the communicator and his cordial relationship with the costars and the technicians of the industry.
Sweet are these Melodious Songs
This is a rare study of the songs both sung by and enacted by the actor. A rare insight into the quality of lyrics, their impact on the society and the effect they have caused in the minds of the listeners, spectators, their longevity and the reasons for it, and the mellifluous tunes created by the doyens of Music. These songs are elaborately discussed in this chapter. Incidentally, Dr.Rajkumar is the only actor who has sung innumerable Film Songs.
Interaction with the Community
Another humane aspect of Dr. Rajkumar’s character is this: He immediately responds the call of the community at the time of its crisis. This has been vividly dealt with in this chapter. Starting from the year 1961 in which the film actors came out for the first time for the rescue of draught struck people of Karnataka, to the incident in 2004 where in the dispute between the exhibitors, distributors and producers reached a crescendo, Dr.Rajkumar took the lead to fight for the justice and the cause of Kannada. His leading role in many public movements which some times turned the course of the history of Kannada language and the Kannada Cinema is vividly dealt with in this chapter.
Pomp and Pageantry
This is the chronological depiction of the many accolades and awards that were bestowed on the actor and the sociological impact they created by the mere fact that Dr. Rajkumar is taking part in that function. Coronation of Dr. Rajkumar as the KARNATAKA RATNA (Gem of Karnataka), the jubilation of all Kannadigas when he was conferred the Dada Saheb Phalke Award and his grand birthday celebration which was a landmark function in Karnataka and details of many such functions have been described here. The way the book narrates the other aspects of the function, such as the love of people, the humbleness of Dr.Rajkumar, his humility, his innocence are effectively portrayed in this chapter.
Every award received by this veteran actor in his illustrious career, which spans over 5 decades has beenSynopsis of the Book BANGARADA MANUSHYA (The Virtuous person)a Chronicle Work on Dr. Rajakumar by A.N. Prahlada Rao. 5 decades has been detailed. Noteworthy among them is the fact that Dr. Rajkumar earned the best actor award given by the State Government for a whopping 9 times, the feat which is unsurpassed even to this day. He is the only one who has received the Dada Saheb Phalke Award from Karnataka.
Abduction of Dr.Rajkumar by the notorious forest brigand Veerappan is the darkest period in the life of Dr. Rajkumar. He was in the captivity of the brigand for a total of 108 days and those days were of a great turmoil. The grief and anxiety of his large number of fans is unparalleled in the annals of any Film Industry, and this chapter tells us in detail the agony filled days and the jubilation of people when Dr.Rajkumar came back from forest.
Unique Achiever is the Last Chapter
It surmises the achievements of this great man both on and off the screen. This book can also be a referral volume on Kannada film industry, for it is rich in details of the growth and evolution of the Kannada Film Industry.
The book, after its release has to its credit some rare reviews. Prajavani, a leading Kannada daily had acknowledged that the book is very useful to the students of cinema. While Samyukta Karnataka has said that the book is repository information, KannadaPrabha identifies it as a honey pot of humanitarian values. KOLALU, a local daily from Mandya describes the book as an ardent effort of collecting the water of the ocean in an arnate bowl, while ARAGINI- cine weekly published from Bangalore has started that this is a rare and welcome effort, when books on cinema are not at all available.
In quintessence BANGARADA MANUSHYA (The Virtuous person)is a unique attempt in cinema literature. It successfully tries to fill the void and can be acclaimed as the only effort of its kind in Kannada film literature in particular and in Southern India, in general.
The midsection of the book is a photo album having about 80 unusual and rare photographs that include the pictures of the veteran receiving the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award.
This book is much appreciated and praised by Dr. Rajkumar himself.
History Created April 2, 2009 ·
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