Kannada action hero Darshan's wild side

We had heard that namma kannada actor Darshan is crazy about pets and hadn’t realized how much until we visited the actor’s home recently. It almost resembles a mini zoo. 

“I’ve been passionate about animals since childhood. I like being surrounded by them because they’re the most faithful and loveable creatures on earth,” says Darshan.

Both the kannada actor darshan and his wife Viji love pets, which is why a cockatoo lives in their dining room. “He’s very possessive about us and somebody has to keep talking to him all the while,” says Viji. And then there are the African Macaus -- the largest variety in the parrot family -- who’ve made the living room their home. “They breed only on river banks and so far only one man in Chennai has been successful in breeding them,” Darshan informs us. Then there’s a Labrador and a St Bernard who eat sausages for breakfast!


We know how actors indulge in luxury goods and property. But have you heard of them splurging big bucks on exotic pets? Everybody in the Kannada industry knows of Darshan’s love for animals. But not many are aware that not only does the actor house a dozen dogs at his sprawling Bengaluru bungalow, but also has a farm in Mysore which has animals that he can’t accommodate at home. There are horses, a variety of birds, some more dogs and even a camel. When we met the actor recently, he told us that an ostrich has just joined the gang!

Sonu Nigaam

WHEN he last visited namma Bengaluru, he promised local fans that he’d make an album exclusively for them. And Sonu Niggaam has kept his promise. The Anisutide (kannada superhit 'mungaru male') singer is all set to launch his debut music album in Kannada. “This album is Sonu’s way of saying ‘thank you’ to all his Kannadiga fans who’ve enjoyed his songs like Ninnindale, Ee Bandhana and Ee Sanje,” says Jayant Kaikini, who has penned the lyrics for all the nine songs in the album. The veteran lyricist and writer is the man who has penned most of Sonu’s hit songs in Kannada films, including Anisutide.

“All the songs in the album are love ballads that convey different moods of the emotion. It was quite challenging to write the lyrics because they dealt with the same feeling,” he informs us. But writing for Sonu has always inspired him. “He takes a song to a different level. When I write a song, I like to imagine what it’ll sound like. And with Sonu, I know exactly what I can expect. It’s very motivating to write for someone like him,” explains Jayant.

“Sonu’s voice is fresh and sans baggage. There’s no drama in his singing, but his voice captures the emotion in the lyrics so well that you’re actually able to picturise the song,” he adds.

The music for the album has been composed by Mano Murthy, who’s also scored the tunes for all of Sonu’s hit songs. And as an added bonus to all fans, Yograj Bhat, the director of visual treats like Mungaru Male and Gaalipata, will direct two songs from the album. “Sonu will be featuring in both of them and casting is on for a female artiste. We’re trying to rope in a top actress from Kannada films,” Yograj Bhat tells us. “Sonu’s overwhelmed with the response he received from Karnataka and is really looking forward to his first Kannada album. He’s off for a show in London for a couple of days. But once he’s back in July, he will be wholly involved with the promotion and launch of this kannada album.”

From limelight to poverty, this actress saw it all

Renukamma Murgod, the septuagenarian kannada theatre, cinema and TV soap artiste, had worked hard all her life to deliver perfect performance on stage and before the camera.

But her economic condition, for somebody who had won several awards, was never good. She had said she could not even buy medicines from the government.

Kannada artiste Renukamma began her theatre career when she was 13. During the struggle for independence, her theatre career was at its peak. She had performed in several notable films, such as Shabdavedhi, in which she played the role of Kannada veteran actor Rajkumar’s mother. Her last popular film was Nammura Mandaara Hoove, which starred Shivrajkumar.

She has acted in many TV soaps; the recent popular one was Moodala Mane. During the shooting of a film eight months ago in the city, Renukamma suffered an attack of paralysis. She was taken to her hometown at Murgod in Saundatti taluk. Since then, her unmarried brother Shankar had been taking care of her.

Kannada theatre and film artistes, who at one time used to seek her blessings, all turned their backs. “None of them cared to enquire about her health — even the producer and director of the film on whose sets she collapsed,” Shankar said. She was staying at Murgod in a hut designed artistically by using musical instruments.

Renukamma’s family was not economically sound to get her treated in private hospitals in Belgaum and Bangalore, according to her son Ashok, who works at a college in Hubli. “Bailhongal MLA Jagadish Metgud and assembly Speaker Jagadish Shettar called on her last week and assured some aid from the government, but nothing happened,” Ashok said.

Some philanthropists, the previous week, had helped Renukamma get ayurvedic massage treatment at Ankola in North Kanara district. Some also gave financial help. But the Karnataka Nataka Academy and other organisations did not come to her aid, relatives said.

Renukamma was a recipient of the Gubbi Veeranna Award, Rangshri and others. For a fortnight now, Renukamma was surviving on fluids, and for the past three days, she had almost slipped into a coma, unable to injest any solid or liquid food, said her brother Shankar.

Is Trisha in or out?

Ever since famous kannada film director Yograj Bhat announced his new film Lagori, starring Puneet Rajkumar, rumour has been rife that the filmmaker was trying to zero in on actress Trisha for the female lead. In fact, various news portals even reported that Trisha had signed on as she liked the script of the film. But when we called Trisha’s mom to confirm the same, we were told that she was busy with her Tamil movie commitments and had not signed on for any Kannada film. So we called Yograj Bhat. “It is true that we tried to get her to act in the film. The producer, hero Puneet and I were very keen to have her on board. But somehow it did not work out,” says the filmmaker, who is still on the look out for a female lead. “We are now trying for a fresh face to act in Lagori,” he winds up.