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Legendary Kannada actor Rajkumar who also excelled as a singer

The celebrated actor not solely performed a number of roles — from mythological to social — however has also rendered songs of numerous types also made a mark as a playback singer

The celebrated actor not solely performed a number of roles — from mythological to social — however has also rendered songs of numerous types

At a lec-dem held just lately, a konnakkol artiste spoke concerning the significance of language in an artwork kind. He mentioned, “Dr. Rajkumar was an extraordinary actor and you know why? It was not just his acting skills, it was also the way he spoke Kannada; it was music to the ears.” Rajkumar was talked about solely as an analogy in that presentation, however it served as a springboard to nostalgia. The method through which the celebrated actor spoke the language was not simply a testimony to his love for Kannada, however it also encapsulated a unified imaginative and prescient of the language. Unlike some other actor, he reached out to each nook of the State, thereby merging many Kannada dialects into one. In reality, the late author U.R. Ananthamurthy used to say Rajkumar embodied what poet Nrupathunga had expressed in his work, Kavirajamarga, he had created one Kannada.

From the Kannada movie Doorada Betta .
| Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives

Flair for music

Rajkumar’s beginnings have been in firm theatre. No actor then was thought-about worthy if he wasn’t a succesful musician. Most songs within the performs have been based mostly on classical music, therefore actors have been groomed within the rudiments of the artwork kind, some even learnt to play an instrument or two, aside from exacting coaching in diction and grammar. Rajkumar’s use of language and aptitude for music proved the type of coaching that theatre firms of yore imparted. He not solely performed a number of roles — from mythological to social — he also sang songs of numerous types. His singing had imperfections, however it was soulful and charming.

He was an actor a lot earlier than he turned a singer. He made his debut as a singer with the wildly in style G.Ok. Venkatesh composition, ‘Yaare koogadali’ from the 1974 movie, Sampatthige Saval. Kannada movie music trade had a number of the greatest male singers at the moment — P.B. Sreenivos, and S.P. Balasubrahmanyam. Yet, Rajkumar turned a playback singer, and a identify to reckon with.

He was a pious scholar of the humanities. Rehearsals and sadhana have been an integral a part of his efficiency. He spent hours practising his dialogues and songs. Those have been the times of restricted tracks, however of giant orchestras, often an ensemble of 60-75 musicians. The follow classes went on for hours, and even when one member made a mistake it was recorded from once more. “You can imagine how elaborate the process would have been. Even when he had become a star, Rajkumar spent almost the entire day in the studio. He would be there when we demonstrated the tune to the orchestra and while they rehearsed, he would continue to practise in the song booth. Rajkumar was a thorough professional and behaved just like any other musician. One never got the impression of handling a star,” remembers composer Rajan of the Rajan-Nagendra fame. “Sometimes after 20 to 25 takes when would be ready to finalise the song, Rajkumar would ask, ‘Can we do one more take? I feel I could have emoted better in the second stanza…’ he was an extraordinary artiste.” It was crucial for him to know the manodharma of the composer and each nuance of the composition.”

Unlike P.B. Sreenivos, who Rajkumar got here to interchange in a massive manner, his voice may deal with a vary of feelings — vivacious (‘Naa ninna mareyalaare’ or ‘Ellelli nodali’), romance (‘Neenello Naanalle’), devotion (‘Haalalladaru Haaku’), and sarcasm (‘Rajadhiraja’). Every tune he sang gave the impression to be an natural extension of his persona as an actor.

Apart from purity of notice, his versatility and diction contributed immensely to his recognition as a singer. For occasion, in songs such as ‘Haalu jenu ondada haage’, and ‘Hrudayadali idenidu’ , he articulates the language impeccably .

Actor Rajkumar in the film Bangarada Manushya.

Actor Rajkumar within the movie Bangarada Manushya.
| Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives

Rajkumar had publicity to the Carnatic idiom. But, he was also a product of his occasions. Hindi movie music was at its peak, it was also the heyday of the ghazal and bhajan. Theatre firms have been making an attempt to grapple with the favored, and therefore there was the affect of a couple of tradition even of their works. The Kannada movie trade had composers who introduced with them completely different sensibilities. Hence to take a look at Rajkumar’s renditions from a ‘raga’ prism or to suit him into a ‘system’ of music, would maybe be an incomplete studying of the actor’s music. As a singer, he had a liberating sense of fashion.

He rendered ‘Naaninna aase kande’ from Ravichandra within the qawwali model whereas ‘Gelathi baaradu inta samaya’ and ‘Kanneera dhaare’ confirmed the affect of ghazal. Among his greatest are ‘Jeeva hoovagide’, ‘Anuraga enaytu’, and ‘O premada gangeye ilidu baa’ . The true-blue Kannada actor has also sung numbers with a smattering of English such as ‘Love me or hate me’, ‘Mary Mary Mary’ or ‘If you come today’.

Rajkumarwas an actor, singer, public speaker, and a connoisseur of literature and language, all rolled into one.

The Bengaluru-based journalist writes on artwork and tradition.

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