Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday, August 5 said that Kannada film star Puneeth Rajkumar, who died last year, will be conferred with the 'Karnataka Ratna' award posthumously, on November 1, which happens to be Kannada Rajyotsava, the state's formation day. He will be the 10th recipient of the state's highest civilian honour.
"We have decided to confer Karnataka Ratna award to Puneeth Rajkumar on November 1, we will be forming a committee consisting of Rajkumar family members to prepare for it, it will be conferred with full honour," Bommai said. He was speaking after inaugurating the annual Independence Day flower show at Lalbagh's glass house in Bengaluru.
This year's flower show pays a special floral tribute to Kannada thespian Dr Rajkumar, and his son and actor Puneeth Rajkumar. Considered Kannada cinema's reigning star, Puneeth, youngest of five children of Dr Rajkumar, died of a cardiac arrest on October 29 last year at the age of 46.
The Chief Minister had made an announcement to confer the award on the late actor in November last year, at the ''Puneetha Namana,'' an event to pay homage to Puneeth Rajkumar, organised by the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC), in association with Sandalwood film actors' and technicians' associations.
The 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 Karnataka Ratna award in 1992, along with poet Kuvempu.
Other recipients of the award are S Nijalingappa (Politics), CNR Rao (Science), Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty (Medical), 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-emerge as a lead actor in 2002 and went on to star in 29 films, delivering some big hits.
Noting that the flower show has been on since 1922 and attracts a large number of people, Bommai said this being the 75th year of India's Independence it has a special significance and from tomorrow lakhs of people will be coming for next ten days to witness the show.