The celebrated actor not solely performed quite a lot of roles — from mythological to social — however has additionally rendered songs of numerous kinds additionally made a mark as a playback singer
The celebrated actor not solely performed quite a lot of roles — from mythological to social — however has additionally rendered songs of numerous kinds
At a lec-dem held just lately, a konnakkol artiste spoke in regards to 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, but it surely served as a springboard to nostalgia. The method wherein the celebrated actor spoke the language was not only a testimony to his love for Kannada, but it surely additionally 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 had been in firm theatre. No actor then was thought-about worthy if he wasn’t a succesful musician. Most songs within the performs had been primarily based on classical music, therefore actors had 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 quite a lot of roles — from mythological to social — he additionally sang songs of numerous kinds. His singing had imperfections, but it surely was soulful and charming.
He was an actor a lot earlier than he grew to become a singer. He made his debut as a singer with the wildly common G.Ok. Venkatesh composition, ‘Yaare koogadali’ from the 1974 movie, Sampatthige Saval. Kannada movie music trade had a number of the finest male singers at the moment — P.B. Sreenivos, and S.P. Balasubrahmanyam. Yet, Rajkumar grew to become a playback singer, and a reputation to reckon with.
He was a pious scholar of the humanities. Rehearsals and sadhana had been an integral a part of his efficiency. He spent hours practising his dialogues and songs. Those had been the times of restricted tracks, however of big orchestras, often an ensemble of 60-75 musicians. The follow periods 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 essential for him to understand the manodharma of the composer and each nuance of the composition.”
Unlike P.B. Sreenivos, who Rajkumar got here to switch in an enormous approach, his voice might deal with a variety of feelings — vivacious (‘Naa ninna mareyalaare’ or ‘Ellelli nodali’), romance (‘Neenello Naanalle’), devotion (‘Haalalladaru Haaku’), and sarcasm (‘Rajadhiraja’). Every tune he sang appeared to be an natural extension of his persona as an actor.
Apart from purity of word, his versatility and diction contributed immensely to his recognition as a singer. For occasion, in songs resembling ‘Haalu jenu ondada haage’, and ‘Hrudayadali idenidu’ , he articulates the language impeccably .
Actor Rajkumar within the movie Bangarada Manushya.
| Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives
Rajkumar had publicity to the Carnatic idiom. But, he was additionally a product of his instances. Hindi movie music was at its peak, it was additionally the heyday of the ghazal and bhajan. Theatre firms had been attempting to grapple with the favored, and therefore there was the affect of multiple tradition even of their works. The Kannada movie trade had composers who introduced with them totally different sensibilities. Hence to take a look at Rajkumar’s renditions from a ‘raga’ prism or to suit him right 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 favor.
He rendered ‘Naaninna aase kande’ from Ravichandra within the qawwali fashion whereas ‘Gelathi baaradu inta samaya’ and ‘Kanneera dhaare’ confirmed the affect of ghazal. Among his finest are ‘Jeeva hoovagide’, ‘Anuraga enaytu’, and ‘O premada gangeye ilidu baa’ . The true-blue Kannada actor has additionally sung numbers with a smattering of English resembling ‘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.