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Vishnuvardhan gave politics a wide berth

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Friendship knot: A file photo of Vishnuvardhan with his friend Ambareesh during an election campaign in Mandya Assembly Constituency.
Friendship knot: A file photo of Vishnuvardhan with his friend Ambareesh during an election campaign in Mandya Assembly Constituency.

Shankar Bennur

But he was more than ready to help his friends when they were in the poll fray

MYSORE: Despite being a hugely popular film star and enjoying considerable fan following in Karnataka, actor Vishnuvardhan did not plunge into politics. He always kept a distance from it and was only seen at election campaigns, that too only when his close friend and actor-turned-politician Ambareesh was in the electoral fray.

In the past, political parties in the State reportedly made “unsuccessful bids” to rope Mr. Vishnuvardhan, into politics by fielding him in either Assembly or Lok Sabha elections. However, the actor was content in the world of cinema.

There have been many success stories of Kannada film stars making it big in politics. They include Ambareesh (three-time MP from Mandya Constituency), Ananth Nag (represented Malleswaram Assembly Constituency in Bangalore and was a minister in the J.H. Patel Cabinet), actor Shashikumar (represented the Lok Sabha from Chitradurga on Janata Dal-United ticket), ‘Pranayaraja’ Srinath (BJP MLC), Jaggesh (represented Turuvekere in the Assembly on Congress ticket and is now a BJP leader).

Like Kannada thespian Dr. Rajkumar, Mr. Vishnuvardhan was not lured into politics.

Several film stars in the Kannada industry tested their fate in politics. Some tasted success while others failed. It was only Ambareesh, popularly known as ‘Mandyada Gandu’, who has a successful track record in it. Dialogue King Saikumar’s dream of entering the Vidhana Soudha remains unfulfilled following his loss in the 2008 Assembly elections from Bagepalli Constituency in Kolar district on the BJP ticket. Even yesteryear actor Jayanthi’s brush with politics was unsuccessful.

The face of Ambareesh’s election campaign was Mr. Vishnuvardhan. He and his actor-wife Bharati had campaigned for Ambareesh, who shared a close bond with him. They entered the silver screen together with the Puttanna Kanagal-directed landmark film “Nagarahavu”.

After the film’s stupendous success, the duo never looked back and emerged as Kannada cinema’s popular actors. They continued their close bonding in their 37 years in Kannada cinema.

In spite of having a friend like Ambareesh, who was a political heavyweight, Mr. Vishnuvardhan was not attracted to politics though he was well aware that he could make it big owing to his popularity.

Another close friend comedian Dwarakeesh’s entry into politics was a disaster when he lost the elections from Hunsur Assembly Constituency in Mysore district under Kannada Nadu party.

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