BENGALURU: Anyone’s mind would have gone blank staring at the barrel of the gun held by notorious forest brigand Veerappan. But not the steely Parvathamma Rajkumar.
On the fateful night of July 30, 2000, when Veerappan barged into Rajkumar’s house in the remote Gajanur village to abduct him, it was Parvathamma who held her composure and offered money to stop the kidnapping.
It was she who rushed to Bengaluru by 2 am and urged then Chief Minister S M Krishna to take immediate measures for the safe return of her husband.
Several individuals who have been acquainted with the ‘only female producer’ in Kannada cinema over the years, recalled how she remained calm in the face of overwhelming adversity. Former DG&IGP C Dinakar, who has chronicled the Rajkumar kidnap episode in his book ‘Veerappan’s Prize Catch: Rajkumar’, also felt the same.
He said Parvathamma was respected by everyone. Recalling the kidnap episode, he said she constantly pressured politicians to speed up measures and ensure the safe release of the actor.
She got fans to keep their cool
A M R Ramesh, director of the movie ‘Attahaasa’, which is based on the life of Veerappan, said Parvathamma’s strength came into the fore during the period. “During the course of the negotiations, the fans were getting ready to barge into the forests to secure the actor from the clutches of Veerappan. It was Parvathamma who sent out a strong message to them to stay calm,” he recalled.
During the 108 days when Rajkumar was in captivity, she never expressed her pain before the public or the media or even with family members. She stood firm and comforted the family members. She regularly communicated with then Chief Minister S M Krishna regarding the situation,” Ramesh said.
Former chief of the Tamil Nadu Special Task Force K Vijaykumar also recalled the role played by Parvathamma in his memoir ‘Veerappan — Chasing the brigand’. When Veerappan kidnapped Rajkumar and subsequently told Parvathamma that her husband will be safe and handed over a tape to give to chief minister S M Krishna, Parvathamma expressed concern about her husband’s health.