TALWADI: As fans prepare to mark the 84th birth anniversary of late Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar, there are no signs of celebrations in Gajanur, his native village, as successive governments have done nothing to build a memorial for him.
There were promises to develop Gajanur and Raj’s house into a centre to showcase his six-decade journey from theatre to cinema and his emergence as a leading star in Kannada cinema.
Villagers now fear people may forget Gajanur as there is no structure there to remind them about the thespian, save for Rajkumar’s old house in Doddagajanur and a farm house near Talawadi. The house, which Rajkumar loved, is in a dilapidated state and is being maintained by his relative.
The 50,000 Kannadigas in Talawadi in Sathyamanagalam Assembly constituency of Erode district, have named a circle after Rajkumar and have now built pressure on the Karnataka government to build the memorial and Kannada Bhavan.
Kannada activist Jagadish said the memorial must have an open-air theatre, museum and portraits about the actor’s life. However, villagers have taken up renovation of the centuries-old Beereshwara temple where Rajkumar spent time during his visits.
Rajkumar had made it a point to shoot his hits, including Kavirathna Kalidasa, here. Villagers say Rajkumar offered puja here before a shoot or journey.
Priest Mahadev said Rajkumar’s son Shivarajkumar had promised to build the gopuram of the temple, which will have a hall and garden.
Kannada Development Authority chairman Mukyamanthri Chandru said he has written to CM D V Sadananda Gowda, Kannada and Culture Department and Tamil Nadu government to build a Kannada Bhavan and memorial.