ARVIND SWAMINATHAN writes from San Francisco: A week is a long time in politics; it’s even longer in the film industry, where reputations are made and marred over a weekend. But in Boxoffice Bharat, the fortunes of politicians and filmstars happily and conveniently comingle and collide at the turnstile, come election time.
And so it is in Karnataka, in the year of the bhagwantha, 2013.
Twenty months ago, when “challenging star” turned challenged star Darshan Toogudeep alias Darshan, beat up his wife, stubbed a burning cigarette, tore her dress, bit her ear, threatened their son, and pulled out his revolver and landed up in hospital like a wimp feigning asthma and jaudice, an obnoxious face of the Kannada film industry was revealed.
Homas were conducted, buses were stoned, processions were taken out for his release from police detention. The angels of the industry (including ‘Duniya‘ Vijay, whose own extraordinary marital life recently played out on live TV) put pressure on his wife to withdraw her damning complaint.
The scandal took on a visibly casteist tone, as Vokkaligas jumped into the picture. The “other woman”, Nikita Thukral, was “banned” from acting in Kannada films.
Compromise ensued after “rebel star” Ambarish intervened.
It’s payback time.
As Ambarish, the Vokkaliga leader, contests the elections in Mandya on a Congress ticket, Darshan, his supposed “successor”, is at hand, lending his voice to Sumalatha‘s. And this one picture conveys all there is to be said of the “forgiving nature” of our largely illiterate, star-struck electorate, which can barely make out the difference between art and life and probably doesn’t care.
Meanwhile, Nikita Thukral provides the opium to the unwashed masses on “Bigg Boss“.
Photograph: Karnataka Photo News
2013 election coverage