Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who had seen Puneeth since his childhood, became emotional and was seen kissing his forehead before the last rites.
IMAGE: Ashwini Revanath, Puneeth Rajkumar’s wife, and her daughters Vanditha and Dhrithi, bid their final farewells to a beloved husband and father. Photograph: Shailendra Bhojak/PTI
IMAGE: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai pays homage to Puneeth Rajkumar in these and the following photographs. Photographs: ANI
IMAGE: Bommai hands over the national flag, that draped her husband’s body, to Ashwini Revanath and her daughters. Photograph: Shashidhar Byrappa/ANI
IMAGE: Shiva Rajkumar, Puneeth’s eldest brother (in black) weeps as he bids farewell to his brother for the final time. Photograph: Shashidhar Byrappa/ANI
Kannada film star Puneeth Rajkumar was laid to rest with full state honours on Sunday morning at the Kanteerava studio in Bengaluru, next to his parents.
Considered Kannada cinema’s reigning star, Puneeth, the youngest of thespian and matinee idol Dr Rajkumar’s five children, passed away at the age of 46, after suffering a cardiac arrest on Friday.
The final journey of the actor’s mortal remains began at about 5:30 am from Kanteerava stadium, where it was kept since Friday evening for thousands of fans and well-wishers to pay their last respects, to Kanteerava studio, the final resting place, covering a distance of about 13 km. The mortal remains reached the studio at about 6:30 am.
Puneeth was laid to rest in the early morning hours, much ahead of the schedule of 10 am.
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 Mministers 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.
Bommai, who had seen Puneeth since his childhood, became emotional and was seen kissing his forehead before the last rites.
Due to security reasons and space constrains at the studio, access to last rites was restricted to select dignitaries and family members.
IMAGE: Telugu megastar Chiranjeevi pays homage to Puneeth Rajkumar. Photograph: Shailendra Bhojak/PTI
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 Tricolour 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 will be conducted with state honours at the 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 host of family members paid a tearful tearful adieu to their beloved.
Though the final journey and last rites took place in the early morning, hundreds of his fans had gathered in front of Kanteerava studio and on the procession route to say their final good bye.
Thousands of grieving fans had flocked to the city’s Kanteerava stadium since Friday evening from different parts of the state to pay their last respects to their favourite actor.
IMAGE: Kannada actor Arjun Sarja pays his last respects to a much loved colleague. Photograph: Shailendra Bhojak/PTI
IMAGE: Chief Minister Bommai lays a wreath on the bier.
Bommai, it is said, was very fond of Puneeth and meant to discuss plans for the Karnataka Rajyotsava celebrations on November 1 with the actor on Friday, October 29, but that was not to be.
When Bommai returned home after being elected chief minister in July, family members had sung the Puneeth hit song Bombe Helutaite to welcome the announcement. All Photographs: ANI
IMAGE: Fans pay their last respects at the Kanteerava stadium on Saturday night.
IMAGE: Siddaramaiah, former chief minister and the current leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka assembly, right, condoles with Shiva Rajkumar (in black), Puneeth’s eldest brother.
IMAGE: Prabhudeva, right, pays homage.
IMAGE: Nandamuri Balakrishna, centre, with Prabhudeva, left, and Shiva Rajkumar.
IMAGE: Rana Daggubati pays homage.
IMAGE: Divya Spandana, Kannada actress and former Congress spokesperson, at the Kanteerava stadium.
IMAGE: Fans with a picture of Puneeth Rajkumar outside the Kanteerava stadium.
IMAGE: Family members at Puneeth’s bier.
IMAGE: Fans at the Kanteerava stadium.
Photographs curated by Manisha Kotian/Rediff.com