Kannada actor-producer Shivarajkumar recently promoted his upcoming film Ghost, directed by M. G. Srinivas, in Mumbai. Here, Shivarajkumar opened up about the difficult time he and his family endured as they grieved Puneeth Rajkumar‘s untimely death in 2021.
When asked how he’s coping with Puneeth’s death, Shivarajkumar, the late actor’s elder brother, told indianexpress.com, “It was very difficult. For the whole family, it was very difficult to digest because he is the youngest in our family. Especially for me, he is my little brother. He is younger to me by 13 years, so sometimes it hurts, but life should go on. We have to keep him alive with his good memories. I don’t want to go and do a pooja at his samadhi always and forget him. I want to have Appu always with me and try to show Appu in me to the people.”
Puneeth Rajkumar, the youngest son of matinee idol Dr. Rajkumar, was one of the most popular Kannada actors. He was lovingly called Appu. Puneeth died after suffering a heart attack. He was 46.
Shivarajkumar’s Ghost is set to release on October 20 in five languages — Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and Malayalam. The film will face competition at the box office from Tamil star Vijay’s Leo, which hit screens on October 19.
On clashing with Vijay‘s Leo, Shivarajkumar said, “It is not a clash. I don’t feel it is a clash because we are all friends. Everybody opts for the holiday as everybody wants to take advantage of the day. Same thing with us. We announced (the release of Ghost) back in July. We had to encash on the holiday time because Dussehra is for everybody. Dusshera holiday almost lasts two to three weeks, so everybody wants to take advantage of that. So, we don’t think of it as a clash. We all will get an advantage of the holidays, and every film will do fairly well.”
While there is a camaraderie between Shivarajkumar and Vijay, their fan clubs are at loggerheads. However, the 61-year-old appeals to the fan clubs to “keep it healthy and positive”.
He said, “If they fight, there should be a healthy competition, not a jealousy competition while speaking about others. I don’t appreciate that. They should follow (a decorum). If someone is your favourite hero, you support him. Vijay and I are friends, Shreeni (M. G. Srinivas) and Lokesh (Leo director Lokesh Kanagaraj) are friends. We have to think positive about everything and just cool down and support the hero in whatever way one wants. Support in a positive way, otherwise it won’t be healthy. Let it be healthy.”
Shivarajkumar also opened up about why he chose to be a part of Ghost and the challenges that followed as he plays three versions of his characters — from age 25 to age 55. On this, the actor said, “At the age of 61, doing variation roles is not easy. I play three variations in the film, one is of 55 years, another is around 35 to 40 and then 25 to 30. Playing these three variations was a challenging factor for me. Of course, there is VFX and de-ageing. But for an actor, it is a challenging role because at this age, you can’t have the liberty to talk too much or smile too much for the younger version roles. For the middle age, you can easily take a little liberty and show emotions. How these emotions connect in each of these versions was challenging.”
“I like the story because of that. There is a beautiful pattern. I liked the narration, so I thought it would be a good thing to do this film. Then there is action. The film is set in a prison, so there are lots of action sequences shot inside and outside. And there was a difference in the technique of doing it and it was challenging to do it in all the different versions I have played. The patterns change, the style changes,” Shivarajkumar concluded.