Puneeth Rajkumar, the late Kannada actor, will be awarded the Karnataka Ratna Award, the state’s highest civilian honour, posthumously. Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai made the announcement at ‘Puneeth Namana’, the homage event for the late actor held in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
Puneeth is the tenth recipient of the Karnataka Ratna Award. His father, the legendary Indian actor and singer Rajkumar, was also a recipient of the Karnataka Ratna Award in the year 1992 for his contribution to the field of cinema. The award was last given to philanthropist Dr Virendra Hegde in 2009 for his extensive social service work.
Besides the Karnataka Ratna Award, Puneeth was also a recipient of the Karnataka state award for the film Milana (2007) and the National Film Award for his performance as a child artist in Bettada Hoovu (1985)
Popularly known as ‘power star’ in the Kannada film industry, Puneeth died of cardiac arrest at a private hospital in Bengaluru on October 29. The 46-year-old actor was rushed to Vikram Hospital in Bengaluru after he complained of chest pain but was declared unresponsive when he was brought to the emergency department.
The actor’s last rites were conducted with State honours at the Sree Kanteerava Studios in Bengaluru on October 31. Several thousand fans paid their last respects. The late actor was laid to rest where his Rajkumar and Parvathamma Rajkumar were buried. Puneeth’s eyes were donated after his demise just as his father’s were.
Around 1400 people gathered to pay homage to the late actor at Puneeth Namana, the homage event jointly organised by the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) and other Kannada film associations, at Palace Grounds in Bengaluru on Tuesday. Those in attendance included Kannada actors Yash, Shivarajkumar, Rakshit Shetty and Tamil actors Prakash Raj and Vishal among others. Opposition party leaders and actors and technicians from across film industries also attended the event.