Thousands of grieving fans, actors and politicians flock to Bengaluru’s Kanteerava Stadium to get a last glimpse of Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar, with last rites to be held on Sunday with full state honours at Kanteerava Studio. Puneeth is to be laid to rest close to matinee idol and father Rajkumar’s grave at Kanteerava Studio.
The actor’s mortal remains are likely to be moved to Kanteerava Studio by 6 am on Sunday.
Puneeth’s elder brother and actor Raghavendra Rajkumar, too, thanking fans for cooperation so far clarified that last rites will be during the first half on Sunday.
The late actor’s family and the government had earlier planned to perform the last rites on Saturday evening after Puneeth’s elder daughter Dhriti returned from the US. Drithi reached Bengaluru and paid respect to her father’s mortal remains at the Kanteerava Stadium by evening. However, after consultation with the actor’s family, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the last rites would be performed on October 31.
“As per tradition, we do not perform funeral after the sunset. His last rites will be performed at Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru tomorrow,” Bommai said.
Bommai also said that the crowd at the stadium is ever-increasing and many people want to pay last respects to Puneeth.
“So we have made an opportunity for more people to pay their last respects till tomorrow morning. I appeal to his (Puneeth’s) fans to pay their last respects with patience and by maintaining peace, as there is time till tomorrow morning,” he added.
Several film and political personalities have paid their respects to the departed soul.
Karnataka Governor, CM among several politicians, pay tribute
Karnataka Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot accompanied by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and other ministers of the state cabinet, Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah visited Kanteerava Stadium and paid their respects to the deceased actor.
Union ministers Shobha Karandlaje and Prahlad Joshi and former Union minister SM Krishna too reached the stadium and paid tribute to Puneeth.
Chiranjeevi, Jr NTR, Prabhudeva, Yash visit stadium
Actors Chiranjeevi, Venkatesh, Srikanth, Balakrishna, too, visited the stadium to pay last respects. Prabhudeva, who collaborated with Puneeth recently in Lucky Man, also visited the stadium.
“It is a very sad day. I have no words to explain this loss, he says,” Prabhudeva was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.
Actors Junior NTR and Yash also paid tributes to the deceased actor.
Posters in streets, chants of ‘Appu’ in Bengaluru, Mysuru
Countless admirers of Kannada superstar Puneeth Rajkumar have put up large posters of him with garlands at major public places in Bengaluru and Mysuru as they mourn his sudden demise, news agency PTI reported.
Many of these posters showed Puneeth in a smiling pose and several of those also carried images of his late father, much-loved matinee idol Rajkumar.
In the state capital, from the Bangalore Golf Club to Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), their entrances carried a tribute poster each in Puneeth’s memory.
Shopfronts on Mysore Road to a car garage near the Bangalore University area, carried images of the actor. Small banners were hung on various electric poles, one such poster depicting a smiling Puneeth with s pigeon perched on his shoulder.
Mortal remains wrapped in Tricolour
Considered as the Kannada cinema’s reigning star, Puneeth, youngest of the five children of yesteryear actor Rajkumar, passed away at the age of 46, after suffering a cardiac arrest on Friday.
Mortal remains of the actor, wrapped in the national Tricolour, have been kept at the Kanteerava stadium, to enable fans and well-wishers to pay tributes. A steady stream of people from across the state has been pouring into the arena since last evening.
The government has announced that Puneeth’s last rites will be conducted with state honours at Dr Rajkumar Punyabhoomi in Kanteerava Studio, next to his father and mother.
The late actor is survived by his wife Ashwini Revanth and daughters Drithi and Vanditha.
The Chief Minister made repeated appeals for peace given the backdrop of the large-scale violence that took place in the city, following the death of Puneeth’s father Rajkumar in 2006.
(With inputs from agencies)