Karnataka’s highest civilian award the ‘Karnataka Ratna’ was conferred posthumously on late actor Puneeth Rajkumar on Tuesday, on the occasion of the 67th Kannada Rajyotsava (the state formation day).
He is the ninth recipient of this prestigious honour.
The event on the forest steps of Vidhana Soudha, the seat of state legislature and secretariat in Bengaluru, was shortened and held in a hurried manner, due to sudden rains.
Cine actors Rajinikanth and Junior NTR, and Infosys chairperson Sudha Murty were guests at the event in which Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai conferred Karnataka Ratna on Puneeth Rajkumar.
The Karnataka Ratna award consisting of a full silver plaque and a 50 gram gold medal, was received by the late actor’s wife Ashwini Puneeth Rajkumar, in the presence of his actor brother Shivarajkumar and other family members.
Several noted personalities from the film and literary world, ministers, political leaders, legislators, among others are likely to be present at the event.
With a large number of people descending at the venue, the Ambedkar Road in front of the Vidhana Soudha was jam-packed despite rains, and was closed for traffic. Commuters were advised to use alternate routes by the traffic police.
Considered the Kannada cinema’s reigning star, Puneeth, youngest of five children of thespian and matinee idol Dr Rajkumar, had died of a cardiac arrest on October 29, 2021, at the age of 46.
Karnataka Ratna was last awarded to Dr. Virendra Heggade for social service in 2009.
Interestingly, Puneeth’s late father Rajkumar is among the first recipients of the Karnataka Ratna award in 1992, along with noted poet Kuvempu.
Other recipients of the award are S. Nijalingappa (Politics), CNR Rao (Science), Bhimsen Joshi (Music), Shivakumara Swamiji (Social Service), and Dr J. Javaregowda (Education & Literature).
Puneeth, popularly known as ‘Appu’ and ‘power star’, by his fans, made his debut on screen when he was just six-months old and went on to win a national award as a child artiste for the film ‘Bettada Hoovu’ . He then re-emerged as a lead actor in 2002 and went on to star in 29 films, delivering some big hits.