The late actor Puneeth Rajkumar. (IANS file photo)

BENGALURU — Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar will be honored with the 'Karnataka Ratna' award posthumously, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced Nov. 16.

Delivering his address at the 'Puneeth Namana' programme organized by Karnataka Film Chambers of Commerce to pay tributes to the star who passed away recently, Bommai said, "Puneeth would be awarded the 'Karnataka Ratna' posthumously."

"Apart from this honor, my cabinet will also take decisions on getting national awards and honors for Puneeth. A memorial too would be built in the honour of Puneeth to make his name and memories immortal," Bommai declared.

Recalling his association with Appu, as Puneeth was fondly called, the Chief Minister said, "He was close to me. He was a fountain of talent and it was evident from his childhood days itself. He has the distinction of being the only actor who got the national award as a child artist."

"It was wonderful to watch how Puneeth as a child actor used to incarnate himself in to the character overcoming the father-son relationship while acting with his late father Dr Rajkumar," he said.

Thanking Puneeth's fans for the manner in which they conducted themselves after his death and during his funeral, Bommai said as the saying goes "Sharanarannu Maranadalli Nodu,” see the greatness of a man in his death, it reflected the great character and personality of Puneeth.

The country has a vast history, but there were very few who had the real great character. "Appu has made it to history as a man of such character," the Chief Minister said.

Recalling his gesture of kissing Appu's forehead while he paid his last respects to Puneeth before the funeral rites, which drew diverse comments, the Chief Minister clarified, "it was from my heart. I gave the kiss on behalf of 6 crore people of the state," he said.

Bommai profusely thanked Dr Rajkumar's family members, their fans and personnel of various departments of the government for their cooperation in enabling a smooth and dignified funeral for Puneeth.

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