Rajakumar finds a reason to sing again!
Not only is superstar Rajakumar back among the people who love him, but he is also singing to them.
"Nagunagutha nee baruve, naguvinale mana seleve
(You will come laughing and steal my mind with your laughter)," he warbled at the first public function organised in Bangalore to celebrate his safe return.
Choked with emotion at being back beside his fans, the thespian said he had greatly benefited from his exile in the jungle. "I was not inconvenienced in any way by Veerappan. It gave me the chance to commune closely with my inner self and pray to God.
"I looked at my face for the first time in 3 months only at the guest house, after I emerged from the jungles. And I could not fully believe that it was really me!"
Rajakumar, who was lifted on to the stage by a crane in the presence of 20,000 spectators, was greeted the usual way at the function: with boisterous crowds and police lathi charges. In the presence of Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna, Home Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge and all the members of Rajakumar's family, the crowds were unmanageably buoyant.
Information Minister B K Chandrashekar revealed that Congress president Sonia Gandhi had telephoned Rajakumar's wife Parvathamma at least thrice during those three months to console her.
With vivid recollections of Rajakumar's three overwrought star sons cruising the streets in silent protest over the months, the crowd was exuberant to see them on stage with their father.
Politically correct actor
Relatively unknown to many is that the late J H Patel had several connections with the Kannada film industry.
Fifteen years ago, Patel co-produced and starred in an award-winning film, Avasthe. The film, inspired by Socialist leader Shantaveri Gopala Gowda's life, was based on a novel by the legendary writer, U R Ananthamurthy.
However, the film was embroiled in controversy when Gowda's widow criticised it for incorrectly depicting her husband's lifestyle.
At that time, Patel told this correspondent that the only reason he acted in the film was because some of his colleagues in politics were acting as well and that left to himself, he had no great ambitions to see himself on the silver screen.
As power minister in Ramakrishna Hegde's government, he shocked the industry in the mid-1980s when, in an attempt to improve the quality of films, he suggested that Kannada films should be banned for 10 years.
As chief minister, he raised the subsidy offered to Kannada films from Rs 450,000 to Rs 1 million, but limited the subsidy to 20 deserving films. Films that won the Swarna Kamal at the national level were awarded Rs 1.5 million. This was Patel's way of trying to improve the falling standards of commercial Kannada cinema.
Interestingly, it was at a television awards ceremony attended in full strength by the Kannada film industry, that Patel made his infamous statement professing fondness for wine and women.
Another time, after awarding thespian Rajakumar at a function in Hampi, he asked the organisers to end the function just when Rajakumar was about to sing a song. Predictably, this sparked off a mini-riot.
He was also responsible for initiating actor Shashi Kumar into politics. Presently, Kumar is the MP from Chitradurga. Yet another star, Anant Nag, was made a minister. But, subsequent to his ministerial tenure, Nag has returned to films.
Second innings for Sudha Rani
W hen leading Kannada actress Sudha Rani married a doctor in California at the peak of her career, her fans believed it was the last they would see of her.
The actress is back in Bangalore and has been on the film circuit for several months now.
First, she accepted director Dinesh Babu's offer to play an important role in Naanenu Madilla opposite Anant Nag. But it was when she played second lead in Sunil Kumar Desai's Sparsha that people decided she might be back for good.
Sudha has signed two more films, one of which is director A R Pasha's Chandanada Chiguru, a movie apparently based on her life.