The bandh called by pro-Kannada outfits on the Cauvery waters issue on Saturday got a touch of glamour when stars of the film industry joined the protest at the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) building here.

The former Union Minister and actor M.H. Ambareesh, Shivarajkumar, Raghavendra Rajkumar, Puneeth Rajkumar, Upendra, Ravichandran, ‘Duniya’ Vijay, Prem, Ganesh, Yogish, chairperson of the Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy Tara, Pooja Gandhi, Dwarakish, Ramesh Bhat, Sudharani, Jaimala, Umasheree, Jayanti, Mukhayamantri Chandru and B. Suresh were present. A host of television artistes, technicians, producers and workers too joined the dharna.

Those who led the protest included producers Sa. Ra. Govindu, Rockline Venkatesh and B.Vijayakumar.

Cinemas closed

Cinemas remained closed and film production activities came to a halt on Saturday. Cable TV operators stopped beaming entertainment programmes, while news channels were aired.

Film personalities who addressed the gathering demanded resignation of MPs and Union Ministers from the State for their “failure” to protect the interests of Karnataka.

Terming Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s directive to release water to Tamil Nadu as “irrational”, Mr. Ambareesh observed that the order on water release should have come after an expert team submitted a report. He underlined the need for evolving a “distress” formula.

Mr. Chandru called upon the people to unite in a similar way to get equitable share of the Krishna and Mahadayi waters. “The protest is not against any language or place. It is for quenching our thirst,” said Mr. Raghavendra Rajkumar. Mr. Upendra called upon activists to lay siege to the residences of elected representatives.

Later, a delegation of 25 film personalities met Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and submitted a memorandum. They urged him to impress upon the Prime Minister, who is also chairman of the Cauvery River Authority, Karnataka’s inability to release water in view of poor storage in the dams in the Cauvery basin.

At the Karnataka Television Association office at Hanumanthanagar, artistes staged a protest and later submitted a memorandum the Governor.

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