Radhakrishna was the driver and personal aide of Dr Vishnuvardhan for 33 years. He performed the last rites of the actor on December 31. In his own words, he recollects his association with the Sahasa Simha. "I come from a place called Uarkala near Trivandrum. I was a teenager when I went to Bombay with my brother-in-law. He got a job in Dubai and I dremt of going there for work myself . After that I came to Bangalore in 1976 and met Mukunda, the brother of Bharati Vishnuvardhan. I was taken to Vishnu sir's home and he instantly liked me. He was very down to earth and gave me fruits to eat. I was just 15-16 years old then.
"Over the years, I became his personal driver and aide. He fulfilled my every dream. He took me on a holiday to Dubai years later. He knew about my old dream of working in Dubai. But working for him was more than going anywhere else in the world. He got me married in 1993 and I was more like a family member than anything else. He even gifted me an Ambassador car 20 years ago.
"My day would start early. If there was a shooting schedule, I would reach sir's home at 6 am. He would already be awake by then and come out just hearing the sound of my bike. He preferred to sit in the front seat even when I insisted that he should sit in the back so that fans would not mob the car. In the early days I was afraid of even turning to the left because he was seated there. But slowly I lost my apprehensions.
DRIVING FOR HIM
"After I started working for him, I would never let him drive himself. But he loved sports cars and had a large collection of imported ones. We dropped Dharmendra to the airport in one of Vishnu sir's imported Fiat sports car. While driving him around, I would be very cautious. But he would insist on stopping whenever fans waved to him and called him out. If the shooting was nearby or in Mysore only he would come. Otherwise bhabhi (smt. Bharati Vishnuvardhan) and the children would accompany.
"I had to decide the route and take him on time. He was very disciplined and would never like to go late for any work. If we were being delayed he would not say anything but just give a fake cough and I had to understand to drive faster.
"I carried his mobile phone when he was shooting or meditating. So, I would receive all the calls made to him and inform him later. I would leave for home after he went to sleep. My wife very understood about my work. In the last 33 years I have not taken a personal holiday except when I went to meet my mother. I would be with him all the time and knew what he needed without him telling me.
"On December 29, I was in Bangalore and spoke to him at 9.30 pm. He said he will come to Bangalore only if I drove him. I was travelling to Mysore that night to get him back in the morning when I got the call that he was no more..."