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Puneeth Rajkumar posthumously awarded Karnataka Ratna by Rajini, Jr NTR; Ashwini Rajkumar accepted the honour

The state government held a big ceremony in Bengaluru on Tuesday (Nov 01) to honour late cinema superstar Puneeth Rajkumar on the occasion of the 67th Karnataka Rajyotsava.

On Tuesday, November 1, Puneeth Rajkumar, who died last year, was given the Karnataka Ratna. Appu's wife, Ashwini, accepted the award on his behalf. Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Tamil superstar Rajinikanth, and Telugu actor Jr NTR all attended the ceremony.

This comes only days after Puneeth's latest film, Gandhada Gudi, was released in theatres on October 28 and earned positive reviews from both fans and reviewers. Karnataka's natural beauty is explored in the documentary.

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Rajinikanth first cut his address short due to the heavy rains in Bengaluru. The actor stated that he would prefer not to keep people waiting in the rain. "Everyone must live together in peace, love, and enjoyment, regardless of caste or religion." "I desire Rajarajeshwari's, Allah's, and Jesus' blessings for it," Rajinikanth remarked while wishing everyone a happy Karnataka Rajyotsava. Rajinikanth later compared Puneeth Rajkumar to various great legendary heroes, referring to him as a "God's child."

To the crowd's delight, Telugu superstar Jr NTR spoke flawless Kannada. The actor stated that he was not attending the ceremony because of his acting accomplishments. He was there, though, as a best friend of Puneeth Rajkumar. 

"A person inherits family legacy and surname from his elders. But individuality has to be earned. Puneeth Rajkumar is the only individual who has won a whole state with his personality and smile alone, without ego, arrogance, or war. He is Karnataka's people's superstar. A great son, a great husband, a great father, a great friend, a great dancer, and a singer. And above all these, he was a great human being. His laughing has riches that cannot be found elsewhere. That's why he's known as the "King of the Smile." That is why he is receiving this prize. But don't get me wrong. "Puneeth Rajkumar, in my opinion, is the absolute definition of Karnataka Ratna," Jr NTR stated.

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Puneeth Rajkumar died of cardiac arrest on October 29, 2021, at the age of 46. On October 28, 2022 his dream project Gandhada Gudi, a homage to Karnataka, was released in theatres. It is a docudrama that examines Karnataka's stunning terrain. It is directed by Amoghavarsha JS, who is well known for the documentary Wild Karnataka.