The man in this picture is the thespian K.S. Ashwath. In the dusk of his life, a truly gentle man—that’s two words, mind you—a truly gentle man is in dire need. And all that the high-falutin’ Kannada and Culture department of the Government of Karnataka can announce is a monthly pension of Rs 500 to take care of his medical bills.
Meanwhile, a report in today’s Star of Mysore says another Mysore landmark, M.P. Shankar, is ailing and lying in a hotel in Bangalore, penniless. One minister, one MLA, one MLC and one ex-MLA have promised to bring his plight to the Chief Minister’s attention—no less—so that he can get the medical treatment that he so badly needs.
How do our best and finest actors so easily slip into penury? Why does our big-talking film industry have nothing in place to help such stars? Why doesn’t Kannada television, which milks Kannada cinema, do something? And what are all those who have Kannada on their lips doing to help these wonderful gentlemen who have provided us so many hours of entertainment over so many decades?
And, yes, how is it that a no-hit wonder called Radhika can buy a house forRs 12 crore while these men have to look through their hazy eyes to see who will bring the next hundred rupees?