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|Native name||Puneeth Rajkumar|
17 March 1975
Madras, Tamil Nadu, India
|Residence||Bengaluru, Karnataka, India|
|Occupation||Actor, playback singer, television presenter|
|Spouse(s)||Ashwini Revanath (m. 1999)|
Parvathamma Rajkumar (mother)
|Relatives||Vinay Rajkumar (nephew)|
Raghavendra Rajkumar (brother)
Puneeth Rajkumar (Kannada: ಪುನೀತ್ ರಾಜ್ಕುಮಾರ್; born 17 March 1975), is an Indian film actor, playback singer and television presenter who mostly works in Kannada cinema. He has appeared 23 films as a lead actor, prior to which he had a career as a child artiste appearing in films to which his father Rajkumar appeared in lead roles. As a child artist, his performances in Vasantha Geetha (1980), Bhagyavantha (1981), Chalisuva Modagalu (1982), Eradu Nakshatragalu (1983) and Bettada Hoovu (1985) received appreciation. He won the National Film Award for Best Child Artist for his role of Ramu in Bettada Hoovu. His first film in a lead role came in the 2002 in Appu. He went on to appear in other commercial successful films over the years, such as Abhi (2003), Aakash (2005), Arasu (2007), Milana (2007), Vamshi (2008), Jackie (2010), Hudugaru (2011) and Anna Bond (2012), establishing him as one of the successful actors in Kannada cinema.
He is the youngest son of Rajkumar, Kannada cinema's most celebrated actor, and the brother of actors Shivarajkumar and Raghavendra Rajkumar. In 2012, he debuted as a television presenter with the game show Kannadada Kotyadhipati, a Kannada version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. In 2016, he was chosen as one of the brand ambassadors for the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League.
Puneeth Rajkumar was born as Lohith at Kalyani Hospital, Madras, Tamil Nadu, to Rajkumar and Parvathamma Rajkumar as their fifth and youngest child. He grew up there till the age of six, before the family shifted base to Bangalore. A superstar at the time, his father took him to his shooting sets along with his sister Poornima till he was ten years old. His elder brothers Shiva Rajkumar and Raghavendra Rajkumar were popular actors in the 1990s, with the former still acting in films.
Puneeth married Ashwini Revanth on 1 December 1999. They both met through a common friend and the friendship blossomed into love. They have two daughters, Drithi and Vanditha.
As a child actor
Director V. Somashekar first brought Puneeth (then 'Lohith') on-screen when he was six months old, in his thriller film Premada Kanike (1976) starring his father Rajkumar and Aarathi in the lead roles. This was soon followed by director Vijay's novel based film Sanaadi Appanna (1977) when he was one year old and followed it by Thayige Thakka Maga (1978), again directed by V. Somashekar and starring his father Rajkumar. After a brief gap of 2 years, the famous director duo, Dorai-Bhagawan cast him in the role of Shyam in Vasantha Geetha (1980). This was soon followed by K. S. L. Swamy's mythological drama Bhoomige Banda Bhagavantha (1981) as Lord Krishna and B. S. Ranga's directorial Bhagyavantha (1982) in which he also recorded his first popular song "Baana Daariyalli Soorya" composed by T. G. Lingappa. In the same year, he appeared in two blockbuster films, Chalisuva Modagalu and Hosa Belaku both alongside Rajkumar. The former won him his first Karnataka State Film Award for Best Child Actor (Male). In 1983, he appeared in two mythological films, Bhakta Prahlada as the protagonist Prahlada and Eradu Nakshatragalu, which won him his second Karnataka State Film Award for Best Child Actor.
In 1984, he starred in the thriller Yarivanu alongside Rajkumar and also sang the song "Kannige Kaanuva" tuned by Rajan-Nagendra. His biggest break as a child came in 1985 through the drama film, Bettada Hoovu directed by N. Lakshminarayan, based on the novel, "What then Raman" by Shirley L. Arora. His portrayal as the innocent Ramu won him the National Film Award for Best Child Artist at the 33rd National Film Awards. Post this, he took a brief break and later appeared in his early teens in the films, Shiva Mecchida Kannappa (1988) as the young Kannappa, with his elder brother Shiva Rajkumar and wrapped up his child roles with Parashuram (1989) alongside his father Rajkumar.
2002: Debut and success
In April 2002, Puneeth made his film debut as leading man in the romantic masala film Appu opposite another débutante, actress Rakshita. The film, which was directed by Puri Jagannadh and produced by Parvathamma Rajkumar and saw him in a college boy role, proved to be very successful at the box-office and was proclaimed a musical blockbuster. His dancing skills were praised as "electrifying" by the critics. He also sang the popular song "Taliban Alla Alla" which was penned by actor Upendra and composed by Gurukiran. The film's success made the way for its remake in Telugu (Idiot (2003)) and Tamil (Dum (2003)) languages.
Puneeth was next seen in Dinesh Babu's Abhi (2003), portraying again as a gutsy college boy with utmost devotion towards his mother. The film was based on a real life story and was again produced by Parvathamma Rajkumar under his home banner and opposite debutante, Ramya. He was lauded for his screen presence, dialogue delivery and stunts performances.
Meher Ramesh's, Veera Kannadiga was Puneeth's first release in 2004. The film, scripted by Puri Jagannadh, was simultaneously made in Telugu as Andhrawala with N. T. Rama Rao Jr. in the lead role. The film had him paired opposite debutante Anitha and further showcased his dancing and stunt skills. Though the critics panned the film for its violence and lack of story, the film went on to become successful at the box-office. He next starred in S. Narayan's family drama Maurya, a remake of Telugu film Amma Nanna O Tamila Ammayi starring Ravi Teja and scripted by Puri Jagannadh. Though a remake, the film established Puneeth's career further as a full-fledged actor.
Puneeth had two releases in 2005, Mahesh Babu's Aakash was reunited him with Ramya from Abhi, and Veera Shankar's action film Namma Basava opposite actress Gowri Munjal. Though both the films performed moderate at the box-office, his performances were praised. He also recorded his voice for the hit songs in both of these films. His only release in 2006 was Ajay directed by Meher Ramesh and produced by Rockline Venkatesh. The film was a remake of Telugu blockbuster film Okkadu (2003) and saw him as a professional kabaddi player who ensures the protection of a girl in danger by her uncle played by Prakash Raj.
All these achievements established Puneeth as one of the most prominent stars in the Kannada cinema industry and the fans called him the "Power Star" of Sandalwood.
2007–2010: Success and setback
Puneeth's first release in 2007 was Arasu produced under his home banner and directed by Mahesh Babu. He played an NRI Businessman named Shivaraj Urs, who flies down to India to look after his business and is eventually made to denounce all his wealth due to the harsh circumstances. His performance as both the rich NRI and the poor man losing out his wealth earned him his first Filmfare Best Actor award. His other release for the year was Prakash's reaffirmation of traditional family values - Milana - where he played the role of a Radio Jockey, Akash. The film earned him is first Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actor.
In 2008, two of his releases, D. Rajendra Babu's Bindaas and Prakash's Vamshi he won the South Scope Best Actor award for the latter film. In 2009 his first release Raaj - The Showman. The film was directed by Prem and was one of the highly expected venture which could not please both the critics and the audience. But movie is not failed in box office it made huge collection  He won his second South Scope award for this film. The other release Raam opposite actress Priyamani was a remake of the Telugu hit film Ready.
The year 2010 brought Puneeth back to the limelight with two back-to-back blockbuster hits, firstly the Jacob Varghese directed political thriller Prithvi which saw him play as a bureaucrat who gets posted in Bellary district, the place of land mining scams. His performance was considered among his best by the critics. His next release was the action packed Jackie directed by Duniya Soori which earned him his second Karnataka State film award.
In 2011, Puneeth first co-starred in K. Madesh's multistarrer Hudugaru, a remake of Tamil hit Nadodigal. He reprise the role of M. Sasikumar in the original version. The film fetched him his second Filmfare best actor award and first SIIMA award for best actor. Yogaraj Bhat's travelogue Paramathma was his next release which showed his character in search of his love.
He re-united with Duniya Soori in 2012 with the action film Anna Bond which was produced by Parvathamma Rajkumar. His performance was lauded and he landed with Suvarna Best Actor award and with a nomination at the IIFA awards. He starred in yet another Tamil film Poraali remade into Kannada as Yaare Koogadali by Samuthirakani. He played the role of Kumar, who escapes from the mental asylum along with his friend and finds refuge in a man's house. Puneeth did not have any release in the year 2013.
In 2014, he starred in Jayanth C. Paranjee's romance film Ninnindale opposite Erica Fernandes. His portrayal as an adventure enthusiast based in New York earned him accolades from the critics. However the film failed commercially at the box-office. His next release was K. Madesh's Power ***, a remake of Telugu blockbuster Dookudu. Pairing opposite actress Trisha for the first time, he played the role of a tough cop Bharath in disguise. The film made a record collection of ₹22 Crore in 6 Days  and was proclaimed a blockbuster. In 2015, he appeared as himself in a guest role for B. M. Giriraj's Kannada - Malayalam bilingual film Mythri which also starred Mohanlal and Bhavana. The other release of the year was Pawan Wadeyar's Rana Vikrama, action packed entertainer opposite Adah Sharma and Anjali.
It is usual for music directors of his movies to record a song in his voice. From his first movie Appu, he was mostly singing solo. With the song Jothe Jotheyali from the movie Vamshi he sang duets too. In 2010 he sang another fast-number in his movie Jackie after which he rendered voice to his brother Shivrajkumar's film titled "Lava Kusha" and Mylari. Puneeth has also given voice for Ganesh movie Shyloo, Zoom and also for Yogesh's Sidlingu. He is also given voice in films like Ale,Tirupathi Express, Sharan's Adyaksha, Jai Maruthi 800 and Krishna-Rukku; recently he sang in Kunda Kannada for kundapura Kannada Kunda Kannada movie BILINDER
In 2013 Puneeth hosted the quiz show Kannadada Kotyadhipati which is modeled on the Hindi show Kaun Banega Crorepati hosted by Amitabh Bachchan, which was in turn modeled on British show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? hosted by Chris Tarrant. The show had a High TRP ratings all over the season.. After the phenomenal success of season-1 second season followed in 2013.
Puneeth has also involved himself in philanthropic works with his mother Parvathamma Rajkumar and carries this out in an Ashram called Shakti Dhama in Mysore. He also owns the Bengaluru 5s team of the Premier Futsal.
Puneeth's popularity has made him the brand ambassador for Karnataka Milk Federation's Nandini Milk products (No Remuneration Taken Because It Will Help Farmers), LED Bulb project (No Remuneration Due To It Will Help Both Government And People Of Karnataka To Consume Less Current),7 Up (PepsiCo), F-Square, Dixcy Scott, Malabar Gold, Manappuram among others. He was also a brand ambassador of the Indian Premier League cricket team, Royal Challengers Bangalore. In 2016, he was chosen as one of the brand ambassadors for the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League.
Puneeth has won or received nominations at the Filmfare Awards South ceremony for the following films:
Awards and nominations
- 1982–83: Best Child Actor (Male) — Chalisuva Modagalu
- 1983–84: Best Child Actor (Male) — Eradu Nakshatragalu
- 2007–08: Best Actor — Milana
- 2010–11: Best Actor — Jackie
- 1985: Filmfare Best Child Actor - Bettada Hoovu 
- 2006: Best Actor — Arasu
- 2011: Best Actor — Hudugaru
- 2015: Best Actor - Rana Vikrama
- 2011: Best Actor — Hudugaru
- 2012: nominated, Best Actor — Anna Bond
- 2013: Youth Icon of South Indian Cinema (Male)
- 2016: Best Actor — Rana Vikrama
- South Scope Film Awards
- Other awards
- 2010: Suvarna Film Award for Best Actor — Jackie
- 2012: Suvarna Film Award for Most Favorite Actor — Anna Bond
- 2010: Udaya Film Award for Best Actor — Jackie
- 2015: Zee Music Awards For Best Singer - "Adhyaksha"
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