‘Kuselan’ released in Karnataka after Rajnikant accepts ‘mistake’

August 1st, 2008 - 1:18 am ICT by IANS  

By R.G. Vijayasarthy
Bangalore, July 31 (IANS) Superstar Rajnikant’s mega Tamil film “Kuselan” was released in Karnataka Thursday night with two special shows organised for the actor’s fans at two theatres here, hours after he accepted his “mistake” for remarks that had angered Kannada activists. But the release of the much-awaited film was preceded by high drama that saw the Tamil film icon, who was stationed in Hyderabad, giving an interview to a channel accepting that he had made a “mistake” in speaking at a protest rally organised by the Tamil film artists association in favour of a water project being built on the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border.

Pro-Kannada activists in Bangalore and other parts of Karnataka began a protest agitation Wednesday to block the release of “Kuselan” in Karnataka, saying the Tamil superstar should apologise for his “anti-Kannadiga” statements. The Kannada activists were not satisfied with the letter written by Rajnikant to the president of the Karnataka Film Chambers of Commerce requesting a trouble-free release of his film.

The Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, headed by Narayana Gowda, had even questioned the authenticity of the letter. “We have doubts about the authenticity of the letter. I think that the Karnataka Film Chambers of Commerce (KFCC) created a letter on its own. The KFCC members somehow want the film to be released,” Gowda had told reporters.

On Thursday, volunteers of pro-Kannada Karnataka Rakshana Vedike headed by Narayana Gowda sat on a dharna in front of the office of the KFCC and demanded that “Kuselan” should not be allowed to be released in the state until Rajnikant makes a personal apology about his anti-Kannada stance during a rally in Chennai for the Hogenakkal project.

A delegation of pro-Kannada activists met Jayamala, the president of the KFCC in her chamber. After nearly two hours of talks with Jayamala, the delegation returned unconvinced. They said the protest would continue and they would stall the release of the film.

Jayamala then contacted Rajnikant, who was in Hyderabad where he had gone to attend the preview of “Kathanayakudu”, the Telugu version of “Kuselan”. A private TV channel was requisitioned for an interview with the actor. The TV channel has its offices in Bangalore where its Kannada channel is established. The actor spoke in Kannada and said that he had “learnt a lesson” from the episode and “will think 10 times” before he is asked to speak in any function. He also reiterated that he had not spoken against pro Kannada activists but only against people who were using violence as a means to achieve their ends.

After the TV interview appeared live on the channel, the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike volunteers felt satisfied and announced that they were taking back their agitation programmes. However, some dissenting voices were still heard.

But Jayamala requested them to co-operate and allow the release of the film.

As earlier planned, “Kuselan” was released Thursday night at the Cauvery and Urvashi theatre and tickets were sold exclusively for fans of the actor.

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