The state government on Tuesday organized a grand program in Bengaluru to honor the departed on the occasion of the 67th Karnataka Rajyotsava. Film icon Puneet Rajkumar, During the event, Puneeth was posthumously awarded the Karnataka Ratna, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the state of Karnataka. Superstars seen at the ceremony Rajinikanth and Jr NTR as a special guest.
Rajinikanth at first shortened his speech due to rain. The actor announced that he would not like to keep people waiting in the rain. “Let everyone live together in peace, harmony and happiness without differences of caste and religion. I seek the blessings of Rajarajeshwari, Allah and Jesus for him,” said Rajinikanth, while wishing everyone on the occasion of Karnataka Rajyotsava.
Rajinikanth later compared Puneet Rajkumar to several exemplary mythological characters, calling him a “child of God”.
“In Kaliyuga, Appu (Puneet) is like Markandeya, Prahlad, Nachiketa. He is God’s child. That child stayed with us for some time. He played with us and made us laugh. And that child again went to Parameshwara. His The soul is with us,” Rajinikanth later concluded his speech with a promise to talk more about Puneet.
Next the mic went to Telugu actor Jr NTR, who spoke Kannada fluently to the delight of the audience. The actor said that he was not attending the event in the capacity of his achievements as an actor. But, he was present there as a friend of Puneet Rajkumar.
“A person inherits family heirloom and surname from his elders. But, individuality has to be earned. If there is anyone who has conquered the whole kingdom with ego, arrogance and war without his personality and smile, then he is only a virtuous prince. He is the superstar of the people of Karnataka. A great son, a great husband, a great father, a great friend, a dancer and a singer. And above all he was a great human being. Wealth cannot be found anywhere else in his laughter. That’s why he is called the king of smiles. That’s why he is getting this award. But, don’t mistake me. According to me, Puneeth Rajkumar is the definition of Karnataka Ratna,” said Jr. NTR.
Puneet’s wife Ashwini accepted the honour. Later, Rajinikanth had a change of heart and decided to deliver the full speech he had prepared for the occasion. He recalled that the first time he saw Puneet as a young boy during a pilgrimage Chennai, then Madras. He remembered the young boy’s infectious warmth, which got along well with everyone.
Rajinikanth also recalled watching Puneeth’s debut film Appu (2002) as the lead. “After watching the film with Annavaru (Dr Rajkumar), I told him it would go on for 100 days. And he told me that if it happens then I should take part in its success event. And I came here and honored Appu in the celebration of 100 days. He was the hero of that event as he is now. But, he is not (physically) present with us,” the ‘superstar’ added.
Rajinikanth said he had an operation and Puneeth was in the intensive care unit at the time of Rajkumar’s death. And given his health condition at that time he was not given the sad news for three days. The actor said that even though he would have been healthy and able to travel at that time, he would not have come down to see Puneet’s mortal remains. “I would never want to lose that child’s smiling face from my memory,” he said.
Puneet Rajkumar dies of cardiac arrest On 29 October 2021 at the age of 46.