Dr. Rajkumar (real name: Singanalluru Puttaswamayya Mutturaju) (April 24, 1929 – April 12, 2006) was one of the most popular actors of movies made in Kannada, the language of Karnataka, a southern state of India. He was an icon in Karnataka and was seen as a role model to millions of Kannadigas. "Dr. Raj" or "Annavru" (big brother) to millions of his fans, he was sometimes called the John Wayne of South Indian cinema. He acted in more than 200 movies over 50 years in Kannada. Some of his popular films include Bangaaradha Manushya (The Golden Man), Kasturi Nivasa, Gandhadha Gudi,Gandhadha Gudi and Jeevana Chaitra. He was also a well-known singer, as a playback singer as well as of devotional songs.
Rajkumar was born in Gajanur, a village near Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border in Tamil Nadu, India. He was born to Puttaswami who was a famous Kannada dramatist. Rajkumar's mother tongue was Kannada. He was the eldest son of his family. His official name was S.P. Muthuraju, which was named after Lord Muthathi-rai (Lord Hanuman). His name was changed to "Rajakumar" (meaning Prince) when he entered films, by H.L.N. Simha who directed Rajkumar's first movie Bedara Kannappa. The title of Doctor in his name came after he was awarded a doctorate by Mysore University for his contribution to films.
Dr. Rajkumar was also a famous singer. He won the national award for the song "Naadamaya" of the movie Jeevana Chaitra. His singing career started with the song "Yaare Koogadali" in the hugely popular movie Sampathige Savaal. Later he went on to sing for most of his movies and for many private albums which were mainly devotional albums. His song renditions would range from pure classical to disco and fast numbers to pathos.
Although his singing was greatly appreciated, his fans of the days of black-and-white movies in 1960s and 1970s, swear by the fact that his true identity was P.B. Srinivas, who did the playback singing for most of Rajkumar's movies, until Rajkumar himself started to sing. P.B.Srinivas continued singing for him in many of the movies in which Rajkumar starred in double/triple roles.
In his final years, Rajkumar had lent his voice to a few other actors and sang many background solos. One such song which holds a unique distinction was for the movie Muddina Maava wherein he had provided playback to the legendary singer S.P.Balasubramaniyam, who had acted in the movie. This is probably a rare occasion where an actor sings for a singer, which is probably unmatched in the world of cinema. He had sung many devotional songs on Hanuman and Sri Raghavendra Swamiji. One of his most famous songs was "Huttidare Kannada Nadalli Hutta Beku". The last movie he acted in was Shabdavedi, in which he co-starred along with the famous actress Jayaprada.