Vishnuvardhan fans demand that icon's statue be erected

Sep 19, 2011, 07:20 IST | Sheetal Sukhija
Fans of Sandalwood legend Vishnuvardhan gathered in droves to celebrate the late stars 61st birthday celebrations and as the city wore a festive look of sorts, some parts witnessed unruly scenes.
Hundreds of angry fans protested outside the Abhiman Studio and thereafter headed to the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC), claiming that their idol wasn't being shown enough respect by the government.

The protest turned ugly when KFCC officials failed to come outdoors to answer the fans gathered outside the studio gates.

Supporters of Vishnuvardhan demand that their icon receive
the same status as Rajkumar since both were superstars in
the Kannada film industry

The police had already made arrangements to manage the crowd, but had to depute an additional 40 constables to manage the situation and were forced to resort to a mild lathi charge.

"We are here just to reiterate the point that Dr Vishnuvardhan should receive the same status as Dr Rajkumar. Both were superstars of the Kannada film industry, so why is the KFCC now discriminating between them?" said protestor K Samartha.

Meanwhile, a group of Vishnuvardhan fans brought a bronze bust of weighing 90 kg and costing Rs 1.3 lakh to the KFCC.

"When Dr Rajkumar's bust is in the KFCC compound, a place should also be made for our iconic idol's bust. We do not want to protest violently, but this is unfair and the government should hear our pleas," said S Harish, a fan.

As the protest grew noisy, Vishnuvardhan's son-in-law Anirudh arrived at the KFCC to calm the protesters down, but he also expressed disappointment over the matter.

"The protesters are angry because the government has not fulfilled its promise.

Dr Rajkumar and Dr Vishnuvardhan were the two eyes of the industry and there should be no discrimination," he said.

Anirudh added that their simple request is for their icon's statue to be installed wherever there is a statue of Dr Rajkumar.

Furthermore, he said that the government had claimed it would work on a memorial, but till date even the land for the project has not been registered.

"We had also asked for a branch of the Film and Television Institute of India to be built in the city," Anirudh said.

The star's wife on the other hand was quite shaken by the entire issue. "My husband never believed in getting things done by force.

I cannot comment on the protesters' demands, but I don't think we should push for a space where we are not welcome," said Bharati Vishnuvardhan.

Protesters further argued that the government has not yet named the road in Sarjapura-Kengeri after Vishnuvardhan, as promised.

Meanwhile, all KFCC members remained unavailable for comment and sources within the chamber revealed that plans are on for a meeting on September 24 to discuss the matter.

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