S. SHIVA KUMAR

The first quarter of the year has seen the triumph of emotion over mindless mayhem with My Autograph prevailing over Suntaragali

The dust has settled. The whirlwind has passed. It is clear who the winner is in what was touted to be the battle of the badshahs. Suntaragali, expected to raise a storm at the box-office sank, while My Autograph is an average grosser. It is a minor triumph of sensitivity over mindless mayhem. It is common for our audiences to worship a vagabond and Darshan plays to the gallery for the nth time. He plays the typical jobless hulk, protected by politicians. When he is not beating up the baddies he is serenading a sexy siren who is servile to boot. Darshan's choice of films would probably have been better if Ramu in which he played a blind singer had done well.

Well-received

Sudeep deserves the accolades he is receiving even though My Autograph is a remake. The original in Tamil, directed by Cheran is considered a classic. His style of narration is influenced by Malayalam cinema and is rich in emotional content. The collections of the Kannada version did drop but women have loved the film and are thronging the theatres. Sudeep honoured Cheran at his hotel Sarovar. He is also reported to have bought the rights of Cheran's Thavamai Thavamirundhu, a heart-warming but languidly told tale of a father's love for his children. Sudeep will only produce the film. He will neither act in nor direct the project.The first couple of months this year have not been too good as far as collections go for Kannada cinema. Mata, Jaggesh's 100th film is attracting what in filmi parlance is known as "mixed reactions". Debutante director Guru Prasad's amateurish take on the intrigue in a religious institution is doing well at Kalpana but is average everywhere else.When one calls up Puneeth to enquire about his father's health, a cheerful Puneeth says: "He is much better." One can hear the typical din of a film set in the background. "We are wrapping up Ajay. It will be ready for release by the end of April. Ajay is the remake of the Telugu hit, Okkadu. There is the ubiquitous Prakash Raj too who played a pivotal character in the original.Director Mahesh who made the pleasant Akash is launching his next film, Arasu again with Puneeth. Parvathamma Rajkumar produces this romantic entertainer. "Vardanna (Raj Kumar's brother who passed away recently) told me this will be a challenging venture," says an emotional Mahesh. Appu, Abhi, Akash, Ajay and now Arasu. Is the letter A as important to Puneeth as the letter K is to Karan Johar? Or could it be because Maurya and Namma Basava flopped? "I don't know," says Mahesh. "Shivanna has named both my ventures." Puneeth is not amused. "I am not superstitious. Anyway I don't suggest the title for my films."