Leading Kannada actor Darshan has accused former actress Jayamala, who is president of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC), of ignoring his father and other legendary artists while bringing out books on 75 movie personalities during the Platinum Jubilee celebration of the film industry.
Darshan and five other artists and technicians - all sons of past cinema legends - are unhappy that the contribution of their late fathers have been overlooked while selecting 75 luminaries. According to them, the artists like the late Toogudeepa Srinivas, N.S. Rao, Sudhir, Sundarakrishna Urs, Dinesh and Musari Krishnamurthy should have been included among the legends.
"I personally spoke to KFCC president Jayamala and drew her attention to the issue of omissions well in advance ... even before the launch of the Amruta Mahotsava. After I found that many legendary personalities were ignored, I felt like launching a silent protest," said Darshan, whose father was Toogudeepa Srinivas.
"Jayamala chose to speak casually on the matter. Instead of providing explanation for not bringing out books on the life and achievements of the noted artists, she even warned some of my friends that their careers would be in jeopardy," he added.
Filmmaker-actor Nagendra Urs, son of Sundarakrishna Urs, also expressed his unhappiness.
"I would like to ask the KFCC what is the yardstick applied for the selection of the 75 persons for the books. It looks like a big farce when many legends have been ignored. Jayamala and some people have seen to it that their self-interest is fulfilled," Nagendra said.
Darshan and director Omprakash Rao said they tried to meet Jayamala at the KFCC but could not.
"She chose to ignore a meeting with us. She spoke casually over telephone when we spoke to her. Now she is changing track and telling the media that the KFCC is planning to publish some more books. We don't need any charity from the KFCC president. We would plan to publish the books on our own and distribute it freely to the people," said Omprakash Rao.
Jayamala, however, maintained that the omissions were not deliberate.
"I cannot be held responsible for the selection of personalities as a separate committee was involved in the process. The artists have been severely critical of me. I have acted and interacted with their fathers. They were real life heroes off screen, but they only acted as villains on screen," she said.
Noted writer-director Baragooru Ramachandrappa, who heads the Book Publishing Committee of the KFCC, also said that personalities like Toogudeepa Sreenivas and Sundara Krishna Urs had not been deliberately ignored, but that they had a limit to choose 75 personilties.
"It is just that we were told to publish 75 books and our choice was limited. The selection was done after a lot of deliberations. I have advised the film chamber to publish books on many other people who have contributed to Kannada cinema," said Ramachandrappa.
The Kannada film industry marked its 75 years in style with a three-day extravaganza March 1-3 that was attended by southern superstars like Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan.