Looks like Kannada filmmakers have to be careful while choosing titles for their films and making remarks, as any “indiscretion” may land them in trouble.
The recent controversies surrounding Bheema Theeradalli and Dev Son of Mudde Gowda became a major headache for the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) with two communities complaining against the films and seeking “justice”.
The films, both under production, landed in controversy even before their release over alleged references to two communities. While Bheema Theeradalli director Om Prakash Rao came under attack from the Korma community, filmmaker Indrajit Lankesh angered the Vokkaliga community because of the title of his film.
Representatives from both communities complained against the filmmakers to the KFCC and demanded an apology from them.
With ‘Duniya' Vijay and Praneeta in the lead roles, Bheema Theeradalli is about a bandit in north Karnataka. Om Prakash Rao claims to have done extensive research before shooting the film.
During an interaction with the media, Om Prakash Rao's reference to a few characters as “Kalla Koramaru” drew the wrath of the Korma community, which comes under the Scheduled Caste category. Representatives of the community sought an apology from the director for “belittling their community”.
The director, while regretting the remarks, claimed that he did not know that a community by that name existed.
He said he used it thinking it was only a ‘general usage' in the spoken language.
Dev Son of Mudde Gowda is facing the ire of the Vishwa Vokkaligara Vedike for “deliberately humiliating the community and its staple food”.
With Diganth and Charmi in the lead roles, the film is in the final stages of production.
Veteran actor Anant Nag is doing a special role in the film.
Defending his film, Indrajit Lankesh said the movie was about a farmer who groomed his son and made him an important person in society. It had nothing to do with the community or its food habits. Mudde Gowda was a common name in the community and was not meant to be an insult, he said.
The title of the film was cleared by the KFCC, but if any defamatory reference to the community was found, the Censor Board would take a call on it. He also promised to screen the film for the community representatives as soon as its first copy was ready.