Kannada News

James: Late Actor Puneeth Rajkumar-Starrer Releases in Over 550 Theatres Across Karnataka

James, the action thriller film led by late actor Puneeth Rajkumar, has released in more than 550 theatres across Karnataka on Thursday, President of Karnataka Film Exhibitors Association, KV Chandrasekar tells Silverscreen India


Directed by Chethan Kumar and produced by Kishore Pathikonda, the film marks Puneeth’s posthumous appearance following his death on October 29, 2021. Popularly known as ‘power star’ in the Kannada film industry, Puneeth died of cardiac arrest at 46.

March 17 marks the actor’s first birth anniversary after his death. James has been released on this day, in the memory of Puneeth. The film also features actors Priya Anand, Sarathkumar and Hareesh Peradi, among several others. 

Speaking to Silverscreen India, Chandrasekar says, “Out of a total of 630 theatres in Karnataka, James opened in more than 550 theatres. Nearly 3000 screens are playing the film. After the first show at 6 am, 99% of the audiences were happy with the film. “

He noted that there won’t be any other films releasing this week and all theatres across the state will only screen James as a tribute to the late actor. 

“In the wake of Covid-19 and subsequent lockdowns, theatres and cinema halls in the state were severely hit. Due to financial problems, around 150 theatres had decided to completely shut down. But they have now reopened for James. With this film’s release and other upcoming big-budget films like RRRwe hope to revive the business.” 

Talking about why theatres decided to shut down operations, Chandrasekar said that during the peak of the pandemic, mainly smaller films were released in a few cinema halls. Owing to limited content and financial losses, many theatres decided to shut down. “After continuous demands, the government has provided us exemption for property tax. We have requested for further assistance and benefits and hope it will be considered soon,” he added. 


Before James, Puneeth was seen in Yuvarathnaa (2021). On November 16, 2021, during an event that honoured the actor titled ‘Puneeth Namana’, Basavaraj S Bommai, the state’s Chief Minister, announced that Puneeth would be posthumously honoured with the Karnataka Ratna Award, the state’s highest civilian honour. On his birth anniversary, Karnataka CM also said that the date to present the award will be decided soon, after consulting with the late actor’s family members.

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 same accolade in 1992, for his contribution to the field of cinema. Further, the award was last given to philanthropist Dr Virendra Hegde in 2009, for his extensive social work.