Sunday, November 28, 2004

Film issue: Nanje Gowda attacks ‘family interests’

Film issue: Nanje Gowda attacks ‘family interests’
The Economic Times

COMING out openly against Kannada thespian Rajkumar’s family, though without directly mentioning the actor’s name, senior politician H N Nanje Gowda on Saturday termed the ongoing agitation for a moratorium on the screening of non-Kannada films as “nothing but an attempt to safeguard family interests.” Mr Gowda, who had served as an irrigation minister under the Congress, also has the distinction of being an MP and legislator from both Congress as well as BJP, besides being a key fixture in the different avatars of Janata Dal.

He said that the recent protests by the Kannada film industry under Rajkumar’s leadership and hurling of chappals at Karnataka Chief Minister Dharam Singh and his ministerial colleagues when they went to receive a memorandum and stone pelting at cars was a matter of shame for the people of the state. “The latest incident of forcibly removing the signboard of Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce and replacing with another mentioning Kannada Film Chamber of Commerce is another incident of muscle-flexing by the (Rajkumar) family,” he said, referring to the leading role played by Mrs Parvathamma Rajkumar, the actor’s wife, and actor’s sons, in the whole episode.

Mrs Rajkumar even distributed sweets after replacing KFCC’s signboard and was declared president of the new body, when wiser counsel prevailed and the move dropped, Mr Gowda said, adding: “Today, they have removed the state’s name and substituted with Kannada. Tomorrow, they might resort to naming it after Parvathamma and even Puneeth Rajkumar (Rajkumar’s youngest son).” “Protecting the interests of one family seem to be their priority and not that of Kannada film industry,” he said, condemning the denigration of an elected president of KFCC, who was forced to stage a dharna in front of the building. “The candidates backed by this family had lost miserably in two consecutive elections and now they want to control the body through force,” he said. Pointing out that it would be naive to believe that they can browbeat a government through force, violence and coercion,

Mr Gowda said Kannadigas respected the Kannada film artistes but would not blindly worship them. “They will pay a heavy price if they thought that they can fool the people with glamour,” he said, demanding that the government should reconsider its policy of granting subsidy for making Kannada films as no other state government was offering similar largesse to their respective language films. Indirectly referring to the hue and cry and pressure mounted on the previous S M Krishna regime for the release of Rajkumar, when he was kidnapped by forest bandit Veerappan, even at the cost of “releasing Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu and recognising Tamil in Karnataka,” he said the Kannada film industry never bothered to respond to the plight of hundreds of farmers, who committed suicides due to three consecutive years of drought, and other problems faced by the state except during the Gokak agitation seeking primacy to Kannada. “The Kannada film industry behaved as if it was least concerned with all other problems of the state and its people,” he said explaining that they were now up in arms when their box-office collections fall despite getting hefty benefits like Rs 10-lakh subsidy for Kannada films since 1996, 100% entertainment tax exemption and grant of industry status to Kannada films to avail of easy finance for film making forgetting the fact that their contribution to the development of language or its culture was negligible.


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