Actor Puneeth Rajkumar was buried in Bengaluru this morning in the presence of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and several top actors from the Kannada film industry. Mr Bommai - who earlier oversaw state honour accorded to the actor - gave a "final salute" ahead of the funeral at Sree Kanteerava Studios in state capital Bengaluru.
"It was a personal bonding with the entire family and more so with 'Appu' (as Mr Rajkumar was fondly called). I had seen him as a boy. We had relations since those days. Therefore I am giving him a final salute. Certainly, I was emotional," Mr Bommai said.
The chief minister gave a farewell kiss to the actor whom he had known as a child.
Former Chief Ministers BS Yediyurappa and Siddaramaiah, state Congress chief DK Shivakumar were among those who paid their last respects to the late actor.
Several actors including KGF star Yash, Chiranjeevi, Jr NTR, Ravichandran, Duniya Vijay also attended the ceremony.
Visuals showed a sea of fans at Sree Kanteerava Studios. Some people gathered on terraces of the buildings around the Studios while others climbed trees around it to catch a glimpse of the late actor.
Karnataka: The last rites of Kannada actor #PuneethRajkumar were performed at Sree Kanteerava Studios in Bengaluru today with state honours. pic.twitter.com/mzk5m9GoBR- ANI (@ANI) October 31, 2021
Puneeth Rajkumar 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.
"We cannot believe what has happened. But that is the truth. He did everything very quickly. He made a name for himself quickly, got awards, sang songs. Everything in a short span of time. In the same way, he went at the height of his fame. We will have to carry this pain with us for as long as we are alive," Raghavendra Rajkumar, Puneet's elder brother, said.
Known as Kannada cinema's "Power Star", Mr Rajkumar - son of late actor Dr Rajkumar - died at the age of 46, after suffering a cardiac arrest on Friday.
The cremation - scheduled for Saturday evening - was postponed to today because of the delayed arrival of the actor's daughter (Druthi, who is flying in from New York) and to give more time for fans unable to pay their final respects.
The funeral procession left Kanteerava Stadium (where the actor's body was kept on Saturday) while it was still dark to travel to Kanteerava Studio - his final resting place close to his father, superstar Dr Rajkumar.
Puneeth Rajkumar, known for his social commitment, had donated his eyes like his father who had himself pledged his entire family's eyes back in 1994.