Puneeth Rajkumar, fondly called as Appu is one of the most consistent actors in Sandalwood. He has acted in 25 films until now, in which almost all have been success ventures. Even if four to five films have not worked, they have not been big losses to producers. However from past few years, he has not been able to give a blockbuster. His last blockbuster can be called as “Hudugaru”, which released in 2011. After this film, almost all his films have underperformed.Starting his career in 2002 with “Appu”, the film was a big hit. He continued his success streak with films like “Abhi”, “Veera Kannadiga”, “Mayura”, “Arasu”, “Ajay” and so on. His first film which failed to make a mark was “Raaj-The Showman”. The film which was released with much expectation failed to do as well as expected. However, he came back with a bang with films like “Raam”, “Prithvi”, “Jackie” and “Hudugaru”. This period can be called as the best period of his acting career. These films not only got him commercial success, but also critical acclaim.
As they say nothing lasts permanent in tinsel town, same happened with Puneeth. The darling of masses failed with “Parmathma”. The film met with mixed response upon release. His next film was “Anna Bond”, which also met with same fate. The star who was known for giving blockbuster was giving average ventures. This disappointed his fans. He did not have a release for a first time in 2013. His first release in 2014 was “Ninnindale”. The film which was promoted big time failed at the box office. Puneeth then chose the “safe route”, by acting in the remake of Telugu blockbuster “Dookudu”, which was titiled “Power” in Kannada. The film was a hit at the box office, but it did not achieve a blockbuster status. He was next seen in “Mythri”, which was much appreciated. Even though the film was not a big hit at the box office, it won critical acclaim. His next “Rana Vikrama” just managed to make decent business.
Puneeth has now completed 23 films. He decided that his 25th film will be “Chakravyuha”, which will be directed by a Tamil director. It met with criticisms by certain section of fans as they felt the film is the remake of a Tamil film and a Kannada director must helm his film. The film was completed soon and it became his 24th release. Upon release, it was clarified that it was a remake. It did not do well as expected.
And then came his 25th film “Dodmane Huduga”. The film released with so much hype and craze. The film performed very well in the first two weeks, but failed to maintain momentum in succeeding weeks. The film was his biggest hit in the last five years. However, it still did not meet the expectations.
Now what is the problem? Is it the high expectations which Puneeth himself has set? Or is it his poor selection of scripts? Puneeth is known to act under other industry directors. However, none of these films have managed to get success as films directed by Kannada directors. Except for his debut film “Appu”, all his other films directed by non-Kanandiagas have not been loved as expected (“Ninnindale”, “Yaare Koogadali”, “Ajay” and “Chakravyuha”).
Puneeth also takes the safe route of remake whenever his films do not meet expectations. He has now signed remake of “Poojai”, which has saddened his fans. The plot of “Poojai” is similar to “Dodmane Huduga” and the Tamil version did not have any wow factor. Until a big change is made in screenplay, we cannot expect the film to be a blockbuster. The only hope which Puneeth fans are on is “Raajkumara”, which is his next release.
The film has been directed by Santosh Anandram, the director who gave industry hit “Mr & Mrs Ramachari”. There are many expectations from the film. The film looks like having all the ingredients to become a blockbuster, which his fans have been waiting all these years. But will the film come over the expectations or will it falter like his last few releases.
The problem which Puneeth is facing is similar to what Shah Rukh Khan is facing in Bollywood. Both the actors are not in best phase and once upon a time were numero uno stars in their respective industries. They did not have any competition for their numero uno status. But Aamir and Salman Khan rose and their films started to perform better than SRK’s. Similarly actors like Yash, Sudeep and Darshan’s films are performing better than Puneeth’s now. Another similarity between SRK and Puneeth is that they have always been consistent. Even in their worst period, all the films at least earn money for the producer. This is due to their hardcore fan following.
Puneeth Rajkumar needs a blockbuster badly. All eyes are on “Raajkumara”. Let us see how the film fares.