Bengaluru: Kanteerava Stadium reverberates with cries of ‘Appu’ | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: Although hemmed in by barricades that made for a makeshift pathway, there was very little of the pushing and jostling normally associated with crowds, as lakhs of fans waited patiently to pay their last respects to ‘Power Star’ Puneeth Rajkumar as the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Friday. The mood was sombre.
“He made us laugh, cry, think, love and live life without regrets through his movies,” said a still-shocked Shanthkumar, as he waited his turn. “Now he is silent. Wake up Appu..Appu..Appu,” he sobbed.
In fact, the air around the stadium in Bengaluru’s central business district reverberated with chants of ‘Appu’, as the actor was popularly known. Men, women, children – they came from across the state and elsewhere too, to see their hero for one last time. Their common refrain was that he had taught them family values and the importance of caring for others through his movies.
Shreyas Singh, who studied at a private college in Bengaluru, said he flew from Mumbai on hearing of the demise of his favourite actor. “My college mates loved him and they took me along to watch his movies. His acting grew on me,” said Singh. “It was because of him that I made an effort to learn Kannada so that I could understand his dialogues better.”
Achal Kumaran, from Kerala, waited for over three hours from 6.30am to get a glimpse of his favourite Sandalwood actor. He had a similar tale to tell. “I worked in Bengaluru for over 10 years and most of my friends were fans of the Rajkumar family. They took me to their movies,” said Kumaran.
Being influenced by his peer group, Kumaran fell in love with the language and learnt it in less than a month. “For a Malayalee to learn Kannada is not easy, but I feel very happy while speaking to my friends in Kannada,” he said.
Kushalappa, 32, who is differently abled, rode piggy-back on his brother Shankarappa to pay tribute. “I had a bad polio attack and can’t stand, but I told my family I want to be here,” said Kushalappa, who travelled from Bidar. Shankarappa waited for over two hours in the queue with his brother on his back. A police constable who saw them, took them to a special queue.
After ‘Doddamane Huduga’, which has a North Karnataka dialect, Puneeth gained several fans from the northern districts. Raju, a resident of Holalkere, said more than 20 people from his taluk had travelled together to see their star. “During the promotion of the film ‘Doddmane Huduga’, he visited our taluk, danced and sang songs. He spoke in our language and we felt connected.”
Manjunath R, a carpenter from Lakshmeshwar taluk in Gadag, said: “My favourite film is ‘Arasau’, where Appu plays the role of a guy from a rich background who falls in love with a girl from a poor background and undergoes hardship to woo her: My friends and I are from economically weaker sections and when our favorite actor enacts what we go through, it feels special.”
It wasn’t just fans. Police on duty too took turns to pay their respects. R Rajshekar said he decided to become a cop after watching ‘Ranavikrama’. “Puneeth’s movies are not just entertaining, but they also send out a strong public message. That’s why he is a ‘Power Star’,” Rajshekar said.
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Sagar Biswas

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