'Old flames' return to set Sandalwood on fire this Diwali

Actors are claiming to have buried the hatchet, but the film fraternity fears that the ghost of their troubled past may impact their performance in Sangolli Rayanna.

Sandalwood is already smouldering in anticipation of the magnificent display of fireworks on the sets of Sangolli Rayanna this Diwali when real life 'old flames' -- Darshan and Nikita Thukral -- enact steamy scenes to set the silver screen on fire.

As the superstar returns to face the camera after getting embroiled in a wife battering case a month ago, the film fraternity looks in a festive mood.

Friends again? Actors Darshan and Nikita in a still from Sangolli
Rayanna. Pic/Manohar R

According to industry experts, when Darshan steps into the sets of the film sometime next week to shoot with Nikita, the ghost of their troubled past may impact their on-screen performance.

"It will be a tough test for Nikita and Darshan as professionals. The very thought of standing in front of your former flame and shooting romantic scenes is enough to make you feel uncomfortable. This, when so much has been said about their dalliance in public that their secret love affair became the talk of the town," said a crew member of Sangolli Rayanna.

Crew members from previous movies of the hit Darshan-Nikita pair recall how both the actors spent time together -- on and off the sets. Now, their line readers, make-up artistes and their co-stars, who would often joke about how both Darshan and Nikita make a good pair, would be hesitant to talk to them.

Wary of the stars' strained real life ties, producers of the movie are invoking divine intervention for peaceful
completion of the shoot.

"They are offering prayers at various temples, hoping all goes well on the sets. The pair has been a hit for years and this is why everyone wants to cast them together. Now, we are wondering if their on-screen chemistry will work wonders this time also, particularly following the ugly scene that unfolded in the past one month," said a leading producer requesting anonymity.

Costliest film so far
The shooting of the Rs 22 crore film, Sandalwood's costliest project so far, was delayed as Darshan got embroiled in the wife battering case. Vijayalakshmi had accused that Nakita was having an affair with her, following which the actress was banned from acting for three years.

As the ban has been revoked now, the producers are praying that the duo do not face discomfort facing the camera together. "We have a song sequence and some scenes are yet to be done. I would not like to comment on whether their chemistry will work wonders this time too, but we are hoping that everything works in our favour. Hopefully, there won't be any ugly scenes on the sets," said Naganna, director of the movie.

Filmy U-turn
The president of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce Munirathna Naidu, who had said that he wouldn't let Nikita act in the industry for three years even if it meant his downfall, is showering praises on the actress. 

"Nikita is a good actress. Darshan's wife Vijayalakshmi has accepted openly that she was wrong and said that Nikita wasn't involved with Darshan in any way. When she has given her a clean chit, how can we not accept it? We hope all goes well and the couple continues to set the silver screen on fire," said Naidu.

Clueless cutie
Asked whether she will comfortable to work with Darshan after last month's episode, Nikita said that she has no idea how she would deal with the situation. "I have always been a very professional actor. I believe in reaching the sets on time, finishing my work and leaving quickly. I will continue to do the same. I don't know how it would be to return to sets and face Darshan after all this. I have just undergone a huge trauma and I really don't know how to deal with it," Nikita told MiD DAY over phone from Mumbai.

Darshan's family too is pleased that he would be returning to what he is good at. Sources close to the family revealed to MiD DAY that the actor is now taking a crash course in meditation and yoga at the Art of Living School at Rajarajeshwari Nagar.

Even as the actors are claiming to have buried the hatch, the industry does not seem to believe so. It remains to be seen whether the pair would be able to re-create that on-screen oomph again.

Curse of Goddess Chamundeshwari?
Darshan's family believes that he has been cursed by Goddess Chamundeshwari. They claim that he had offended the goddess by playing the role of a thief in his last movie Navagraha, where he enacted a scene of stealing gold jewellery from the goddesses' temple during the Dusshera celebrations.

"This belief of ours was proved to be true as he was taken into custody just before Dusshera this year. So after his release, Darshan headed to his home town in Mysore to apologise to the goddess," said a source close to Darshan's family.

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