A commemorative stamp featuring Rajkumar was issued in 2009

At a time when the country is celebrating the centenary of Indian cinema, the Kannada film industry finds itself poorly represented on postal stamps in India.

Except the late Rajkumar and the late Vishnuvardhan, none figure on postal stamps.

Pioneers of Kannada cinema also do not feature on stamps.

Vishnuvardhan, who died three years ago, acted in over 200 films.

He is the lone Kannada celebrity to figure in a new set of stamps depicting 50 iconic personalities, released by IndiaPost to commemorate the centenary of Indian cinema.

President Pranab Mukherjee released the set of 50 commemorative stamps on important celluloid personalities of the country on May 3 this year. The stamp featuring Rajkumar was issued in 2009. The stamps released earlier this year were in six sets of miniature sheets.

While the first two sheets consist of nine stamps, each carrying pictures of winners of Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the other four sets have eight pictures each of famous film celebrities from across India.

While most of other States are well represented, Kannada and Malayalam are represented by only Vishnuvardhan and Prem Nazir, respectively.

While the Hindi film industry dominates the list of 50 celebrities, Bengali, Tamil and Telugu follow.

Recalling the history of commemorative stamps on Indian cinema, M.R. Prabhakar, president, Karnataka Rural Philatelic Association, said that the first such commemorative stamp was released on the father of Indian cinema, Dada Saheb Phalke, in 1971.

In 1989, IndiaPost issued a commemorative stamp to mark 75 years of Indian cinema. In between, the department released commemorative stamps of Bimal Roy, Mehboob Khan, Satyajit Ray, Madhubala and Nargis.

Asked why Kannada cinema has been poorly represented in philately, Mr. Prabhakar attributed it to lack of initiative from elected representatives, organisations and film bodies.

“While governments, elected representatives and those of film bodies elsewhere have impressed upon the postal department to bring out stamps by sending proposals, there was no such concerted effort in the State,” he said.

Echoing Mr. Prabhakar’s statement, a senior official in the postal department asked: “What can the department do when there is no proposal from people and organisations?”

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