Puneeth Rajkumar

  • Actor, Singer

Mar 17, 1975  in Karnataka, India

Also Known as: Puneeth Rajkumar

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Puneeth Rajkumar, son of Kannada cinema`s most celebrated actor Rajkumar, is an actor, playback singer and television presenter, who predominantly works in the Kannada film industry. Puneeth started acting as a child artist and eventually expanded his career to singing and television presenting. His commercial successes are Abhi, Aakash, Arasu, Milana, Vamshi, Jackie, Hudugaru and Anna Bond.

Early Life
Puneeth Rajkumar was born in Madras, Tamil Nadu. He is the son of legendary Kannada actor Rajkumar and Parvathamma Rajkumar who is a film producer and distributor. His brothers are actors Shivarajkumar and Raghavendra Rajkumar.

Personal life
Puneeth tied the knot with Ashwini in the year 1999. The couple first met through a common friend and kept in touch after that. They were friends for a long time and later fell in love. They have two daughters Driti and Vandhita.

Movie career
As an Actor
Puneeth Rajkumar made his first silver screen appearance when he was just six months old, in director V. Somashekar`s Premada Kanike, in 1976. The movie starred Puneeth`s father Rajkumar in the lead role. When he was one year old, he was seen in Vijay`s novel based film Sanaadi Appanna, followed by Thayige Thakka Maga again by director V. Somashekar. His other movies as a child artist are Vasantha Geetha, Bhoomige Banda Bhagavantha, Bhagyavantha, Chalisuva Modagalu and Eradu Nakshatragalu. In 1984, he starred in the thriller Yarivanu and also sang the song Kannige Kaanuva. As a child artist, his biggest break was in the drama film Bettada Hoovu directed by N. Lakshminarayan. For an innocent role as a boy born to a poor family in the movie, he won the National Film Award for Best Child Artist at the 33rd National Film Awards. Next was Parashuram in 1989 alongside his father which was the last film in which he appeared as a child artist.

In 2002 came his debut as a lead actor in the romantic masala film Appu, directed by Puri Jagannadh opposite Rakshita. This movie, which saw him play a college boy, was a huge success at the box office and was a huge musical blockbuster. He sang the song Taliban Alla Alla in Appu and was also praised for his dancing skills. After this superhit movie, in the very next year, he worked in Dinesh Babu`s Abhi, again as a college boy. The film was based on a real life story and Puneeth was appreciated for his screen presence, dialogue delivery, and stunt performances. The actor was then seen in the 2004 drama Veera Kannadiga paired opposite debutant Anitha, in which, he was again applauded for his exceptional dancing and stunt skills. This was followed with the family drama Maurya, directed by S. Narayan. In the next year, he had two releases - Mahesh Babu`s action-drama Aakash, where he was paired opposite Ramya, and Veera Shankar`s action film Namma Basava where he appeared alongside Gowri Munjal. Both were moderate successes but Puneeth was praised for his performances. His 2006 movie was Ajay, where he was seen as a professional kabaddi player. All these performances got audiences develop a huge craze for him, getting him the title of "Power Star" of Sandalwood from his fans.

In his next film Arasu, Puneeth essayed the role of an NRI businessman. Produced under his home banner, it won him his first Filmfare Best Actor Award. He then starred in the movie Milana, where he played a radio jockey, earning him his first Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actor. He won the South Scope award for Prakash`s Vamshi and Prem`s Raaj - The Showman, in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Other movies around this time were Raam opposite actress Priyamani and Bindaas alongside Hansika Motwani.

Puneeth gave two back-to-back blockbuster hits in 2010. First was the Jacob Varghese directed political thriller Prithvi, in which he played a bureaucrat. Critics claimed his performance in the film to be his best. The other release was Duniya Soori`s action packed Jackie. The film earned him his second Karnataka State film award. Subsequent to this, Puneeth co-starred in Hudugaru alongside Radhika Pandit. He won his second Filmfare Best Actor award and first SIIMA award for Best Actor. This was followed with Yogaraj Bhat`s travelogue Paramathma and Duniya Soori`s action film Anna Bond. The latter got him the Suvarna Best Actor award and a nomination at the IIFA awards. He then starred in Yaare Koogadali, a Kannada remake of the Tamil film Poraali.

After having no release in 2013, Puneeth was seen in Jayanth C. Paranjee`s romance film Ninnindale opposite Erica Fernandes, in 2014. His character in the film was of an adventure enthusiast based in New York. The role earned him critical acclaim, but the movie failed to succeed at the box office. Later, he worked on another remake film Power opposite the famous southern actress Trisha. Power, which was a remake of the Telugu blockbuster Dookudu was a big hit in the Kannada industry too. In 2015, the Kannada - Malayalam bilingual film Mythri saw him in a guest role as himself. Another release in the year was Pawan Wadeyar`s action packed entertainer Rana Vikrama, co-starring Adah Sharma and Anjali.

His 2016 releases include M. Saravanan`s Chakravyuha, Duniya Soori`s Doddmane Hudga and Chethan`s James. His 2019 release includes Natasaarvabhowma.

As a Singer
Puneeth`s first song was Taliban Alla Alla in the movie Appu got him appreciation as a singer. He sang Jothe Jotheyali in the movie Vamshi, which was a duet with Shreya Ghoshal. In 2010, he rendered a fast-number Edavatt Aytu in the movie Jackie. He then went on to sing Hotappa Hot Sakkath in his brother`s film Lava Kusha. He further expanded his playback singing career by rendering songs in movies like Shyloo, Zoom, Sidlingu, Ale,Tirupathi Express, Sharan`s Adyaksha, Jai Maruthi 800 and Krishna-Rukku.

Television career
Puneeth Rajkumar impressed television audiences when he hosted the quiz show Kannadada Kotyadhipati in 2013, inspired by the Hindi show Kaun Banega Crorepati. The show was sucessful with high TRP ratings throughout the season. His 2020 release includes Mayabazar 2016, directed by Radhakrishna.