Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar was laid to rest in Bengaluru on Sunday morning (October 31) in the presence of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, several top actors and politicians from Karnataka.
Puneeth, youngest of the five children of thespian and matinee idol Dr Rajkumar, passed away at the age of 46, after suffering a cardiac arrest on Friday.
The mortal remains of the actor were taken in a procession for about 15 km from Sree Kanteerava Stadium (near MG Road) to Kanteerava Studio (near Yeshwanthpur). As per reports, over 10 lakh people queued up to pay respects to the late actor.
“It was a personal bonding with the entire family and more so with ‘Appu’ (as Mr Rajkumar was fondly called). I had seen him as a boy. We had ties since those days. Therefore I am giving him a final salute,” said an emotional Bommai.
Also read: Bommai recalls close ties with ‘Appu’
Fans climbed terraces of the buildings around the studios while others scaled trees around it to catch a glimpse of the late actor.
Security has been beefed up across Bengaluru for the last two days. The Bengaluru Police have also imposed a ban on alcohol with immediate effect till October 31.
Also read: Puneeth: The ‘Power Star’ who remained affable and humble
The move comes against the backdrop of the violence that took place in the city, following the demise of Puneeth’s father and Kannada thespian Rajkumar in 2006. Also, violence broke out in some parts of the city after actor Vishnuvardhan’s death in 2009.
The cremation, earlier scheduled on Saturday evening, was postponed to Sunday after the actor’s daughter Druthi flew in late from the United States.
According to an official government release, due to security reasons, with the consent of the family members Puneeth’s last rites were performed much before the scheduled time.
Several political dignitaries, including Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, several of his cabinet colleagues, former chief ministers B S Yediyurappa and Siddaramaiah, state Congress chief D K Shivakumar, host of film personalities and members of the Rajkumar family, were among those who paid their last respects to the departed actor.
Due to security reasons and space constraints at the studio, access to last rites was restricted to select dignitaries and family members.
Puneeth was accorded full state honours, as the police band played the national anthem and police personnel fired three rounds in the air, followed by two minutes of silence as a mark of respect.
The national tri-colour that was wrapped on Puneeth’s body was then handed over to his wife Ashwini Revanth by Chief Minister Bommai. Following the actor’s death, the state government had announced that his last rites would be conducted with state honours at Dr Rajkumar Punyabhoomi in Kanteerava Studio, next to his father and mother.
The last rites were performed according to Ediga traditions by Puneeth’s nephew and actor Raghavendra Rajkumar’s eldest son Vinay Rajkumar.
Puneeth’s wife Ashwini Revanth and daughters Drithi and Vanditha, his elder brothers Shivarajkumar, Raghavendra Rajkumar and a host of family members paid a tearful adieu to their beloved.
Puneeth, who was known to be a fitness enthusiast, was rushed to Vikram Hospital after he complained of chest pain following a two-hour workout in the gym, doctors treating him said. He died shortly after. He is survived by his wife Ashwini Revanth and two daughters Dhruti and Vanditha.