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Dr. Raj Kumar - Unraveling Karnataka's Icon


This page provides links to commentary and perspectives on the late Dr. Raj Kumar, Karnataka icon nonpareil, and recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Life Time Achievement.


Dr. Raj was (and continues to be) the biggest popular-culture icon of Kannada- speaking Karnataka. Concurrently, the phenomenon of Dr. Raj has also proved to be a great enigma for many, and most visibly those who are part of the newly prominent city of Bangalore, and who have not belonged, themselves, to the Kannada-speaking or Kannada-sympathetic worlds. He has been viewed, variously and warily, by these sections, as a motivator of chauvinistic pride, anti-'outsider' sentiment, a 'law-and-order' menace, and so on. The real Raj Kumar story, we believe, is more multi-layered and nuanced than this. Dr. Raj was, by every account, and despite the undeniable kitsch of some of his work, a disarmingly humble human being, an endearing actor and a giant of Kannada cinema. We hope that by creating this "meta-text" of what has been said & written about him - will emerge a more sympathetic, better informed and more realistic impression of this extraordinarily important personality.

We will be pleased to receive pointers to other writings, impressions and analysis that we could link to, from this page, on Dr. Raj Kumar