Bengaluru: Actor Puneeth Rajkumar, the youngest son of the late Dr. Rajkumar is celebrated as Power Star in the Kannada film industry, but it is his days as a child artiste that he cherishes most.
He started as a child artiste, winning a national award for best performance for his role of Ramu in Bettada Hoovu in 1985 before going on to win several state awards for his later performances.
"Though being a lead actor is satisfying, I really enjoyed my career as a child artiste. I hardly realised the importance of it back then but It gave me the opportunity to work with some of the finest senior artistes and filmmakers in the industry," he says.
There was even a time when they planned a Kannada adaptation of the Black Stallion' with him. The 1979 American film was based on the classic children's novel of the same name by Walter Farley. It is about a young boy, travelling on a ship who becomes fascinated by a stallion on board. After the ship sinks, he finds himself stranded on a deserted island along with the horse.
"I trained for weeks riding a horse bareback for the project,” recalls the actor. “For some reason, it did not take off."
Now Puneeth Rajkumar bats for children's films, which he feels should be made on the same scale as commercial cinema. The versatile actor, who turned producer with Kavaludaari made by his own production house PRK Productions, is planning to produce at least two children's movies in the next one year.
"We are looking for good scripts,” he says. “We have a few wonderful child artistes who have done exceptionally well in recent films.”
He adds that there’s no reason why a children's movie should not be made just like a regular commercial movie. "Such films should be profitable to both the producer and to the film industry,” he says.
Several recent films have attracted Puneeth Rajkumar’s eye, such as Sarkari Hiriya Prathamika Shaale Kasaragod (made by Rishab Shetty), and Girmit. He says he was totally blown away by the amazing performances by the young cast....