Puneeth Rajkumar turns a year older today. The Power Star is one of the few actors who have managed to look young always, and the secret, according to him, is his fitness routine. “I eat well and pay equal attention to working out too. It’s also thanks to my genes,” says Puneeth. The actor is having low-key birthday celebrations without his fans this year, due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
“For the past 17-18 years, I have celebrated the occasion with my fans. However, it will be different this year. I have never experienced it, but I can’t help it. It’s a time when all of us have to support the government, and we had to take a call. It’s for our safety. It is better to follow the rules and regulations and hope things will settle soon. Of course, more celebrations will come,” says Puneeth, adding that he is not disappointing his fans.
“We had a dialogue teaser of Yuvarathnaa, directed by Santhosh Ananddram, released. A motion poster from James, directed by Chethan Kumar, is also around the corner. Likewise, fans have been nice enough to make songs to wish me on my birthday, and a couple of them have come up with short films. What else do you need, I have already got my gift,” he says.
For an actor who started working in films as a child, Puneeth’s enthusiasm has only increased with each passing year. He doesn’t want to retire from acting. “With age, I will do other characters because I love acting, and it is my profession,” says Puneeth, adding, “I will remain a hero till I have good energy, and for as long as I can look young. After that, I will have to be accepted as an actor.
This is a career where we never feel complete, and that’s a blessing as an actor. We don’t have a retirement age. This is a place where we learn every day. Whether the director is much younger or older than you, they try to teach you something. That’s how I enjoy this job as an actor,” he says.
Up next for him is Santhosh Ananddram’s Yuvarathnaa, made under the banner of Hombale Films. The film has almost been completed, and the team is now left with a couple of songs to shoot. It is one of the most awaited films of 2020, and his fans have been waiting for it with a lot of curiosity. Ask Puneeth whether it becomes stressful when a film’s shoot or release doesn’t go as per schedule, and he says, “It all happens for the best.
Yuvarathnaa comes with a huge cast, and we are definitely out to give a good product. The shooting of a song had to be cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances. The virus outbreak did not allow us to proceed as per the schedule and that has pushed things a little further,” says Puneeth, who will take up the shooting of James next. The actor has also given a green signal to director D Satya Prakash’s project, but official details are still awaited from the production end.
Puneeth is also giving equal focus to his home banner - PRK Production, which is handled by his wife, Ashwini Puneeth Rajkumar. “My mother (Parvathamma Rajkumar) as producer and distributor did so many films, and she did a great job. She stands as a pillar behind Vajreshwari Combines. PRK was something that we started to make a different style of cinema, and that’s happening now. I wanted my wife to handle the job, and it’s good that she came in,” he says.
From the fans
Why are your projects limited to one per year?
“I really want to do more, but it is something that doesn’t have a fixed time or place. Hopefully, this year, I will have two releases, and it will continue next year too.”
Why aren’t the makers exploring action and dance to your potential?
“At my age, I am trying my best, and also looking for better. I hope some good things come my way.”
Can we hope to see you in a mythological story?
“I will never say ‘no’ to be a part of any kind of characters. Mythology is on my mind. I am looking for the right script and if the director can pull it off.”
When will we see you sharing screen space with Shivarajkumar?
“It is a dream for both of us too. I want my two brothers (Shivanna and Raganna), along with me, to be seen in one film. Hopefully, it will happen once we find a great script.”
Will we see you in a movie directed by Prashanth Neel?
“Why wouldn’t any actor want to do a film with him now? We held discussions a long time ago, and we were supposed to a film for which we had even decided on the title, Aahvaana. But it didn’t take off. We will come together in the future, when it works for both of us.”
What do you feel about Kannada films getting a pan-India appeal?
“It is a good thing to showcase the product to the entire country and the world.”