Darshans arrest: Why Kannada film industry is not so surprised
In recent years, Darshan has been embroiled in one controversy or the other, be it is alleged affair with Pavithra Gowda to being charged for domestic abuse. Photo: X | @dasadarshan

Darshan's arrest: Why Kannada film industry is not so surprised

No one in the film industry seems surprised by Kannada star Darshan's arrest since he has always been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Not many are sympathetic, only producers, with Rs 100 crore riding on films, are worried

The arrest of Kannada 'star' Darshan Toogudeepa in connection with the murder of Renukaswamy, a native of Chitradurga, has come as a rude shock to the Kannada film industry.

The cinema fraternity is ostensibly not reacting, not out of sympathy for ‘DBoss’ Darshan (his DBoss title being a nod to his 2011 film Boss) but because of the huge investments that are locked in his upcoming films.

As the news of his arrest today (June 11) spread like wildfire, producers are worried about the fate of their investments in his films. A producer, who is backing one of Darshan’s upcoming films, told The Federal, “This is not unexpected, considering Darshan’s behaviour and attitude. But what is worrying us is the huge investments we've made in his films.”

According to film industry sources, approximately ₹100 crore worth of investments are riding on Darshan’s films.

Darshan's arrest

So, what is the case against Darshan? According to Bengaluru Commissioner of Police, B Dayananda, Darshan is currently being questioned by investigating officers in connection with a murder case registered in Kamakshipalya police station on June 9.

The victim is Renukaswamy, a young man from Chitradurga. Police arrested Darshan two days after the case was registered in the police station.

According to police sources, the victim, Renukaswamy was murdered on June 8 and his body was found in a drain in Kamakshipalya in Bengaluru. Sources said that Renukaswamy allegedly sent “obscene messages” on social media to an actress close to Darshan, The crime came to light when Kamakshipalya residents saw stray dogs dragging a body from the drain and alerted the police.

Preliminary investigations led to the arrest of some suspects, who allegedly directed the police to Darshan. The police are now inquiring whether Darshan is directly involved in the murder or whether he was part of the plot.

Controversies galore

In recent years, Kannada film industry's 'Challenging Star' (as he is also known) has been surrounded by controversies. One film industry source minced no words to point out that “the fact remains that Darshan seems to be a habitual offender, his stardom masked all his misdeeds and how he treated women with contempt”.

In the past 14 years, Darshan has been embroiled in one controversy or the other. Be it his public affair with an actress to allegations of domestic abuse.

He hit the headlines for al the wrong reasons in cases such as his remark on the Goddess of Luck as well.

While promoting his movie Kranti, Darshan told the media, “The Goddess of Luck does not always come knocking on your door. So, when she does come, grab her, drag her, and lock her in your bedroom without giving her clothes.” This comment caused an uproar, and a fan hurled a slipper at Darshan at an event in Hospet.

Domestic abuse charges

In 2011, he was booked for assaulting his wife Vijayalakshmi. However, after spending 14 days in judicial custody, he was released after Vijaylakshmi withdrew her complaint. She was allegedly under pressure from the Kannada film industry to do so.

Their relationship has been rocky and again in 2016 she complained to the police about his ‘objectionable behaviour’.

In 2021, he was accused of assaulting a waiter in Mysuru.

“Darshan has changed mainly in the past one decade. He developed an attitude, after his fans started calling him ‘Sultan of Box Office, ‘Challenging Star’ and ‘D’ Boss, etc. He enjoys a huge fan base. His closeness with actor turned politician, Ambareesh and his wife Sumalatha Ambareesh, also elevated his image,” noted a senior Kannada film journalist.

From then on, his attitude completely changed, added the journalist.

Though producers were wary about working with Darshan, his box-office image made them invest in him, said a former office-bearer of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce.

Darshan’s background

Darshan comes from a humble background. Unlike other actors, he had no Godfathers in Kannada cinema. His father Toogudeepa Srinivas was an actor and closely associated with Dr Rajkumar’s production house. After seeing his father, Darshan wanted to enter films and got trained in theatre.

He joined the Ninasam Theatre training institute near Shivamogga. To a certain extent, this training helped Darshan carve a niche for himself in films with his commanding screen presence and versatility as an actor. After graduating from Ninasam, Darshan worked as a projectionist and assistant to cameraman B C Gowrishankar.

He faced the camera for the first time for a television soap, ‘Mahabharata’ and subsequently featured in films such as ‘Devara Maga’ and others, but they were mostly insignificant roles.

Darshan made his debut as a hero in the Kannada film industry with action crime thriller ‘Majestic’ in 2001.

The film was a massive success and established Darshan as a leading actor in Kannada cinema. Quickly, he became a household name and some of his prominent films are Kariya, Namma Preethiya Ramu, Gaja, Saarathi, Kranthi Veera Sangolli Rayanna, Bulbul and Yajamana, Katera.

He is currently working on Devil:The Hero directed by Prakash Veer.

More controversies

Darshan has also been in the news for his alleged affair with fashion designer Pavithra Gowda. In January, she created a stir when she shared a video on Instagram to celebrate completing 10 years with Darshan. In the video, she implied that she was in a relationship with Darshan, who is a married man.

Another time he hit the headlines was after the success of his Kaatera, Darshan with Abhishek Ambarish, son of actor Ambareesh, producer Rockline Venkatesh and others partied at a bar in Bengaluru late into the night. He, along with others were issued notices by the police for creating public nuisance.

In another incident, Darshan was accused of setting his dog free on a woman. An FIR was registered against Darshan on the grounds of negligence.

Now he has been arrested in connection with a murder case.

The good and the ugly

Some in the film industry are critical of how Darshan manages to escape the clutches of law “so easily”.

But, those who sympathise with Darshan argue that he is an extremely humble and good human being, despite being rude and short-tempered.

Darshan projects himself as an animal lover. His relationship with another ‘Star’ Sudeep, is not so cordial, and their respective fans have clashed with each other, openly, claiming that their ‘Star’ is superior and a box-office hero. Despite that, both have supported each other in difficult situations.

Now, it remains to be seen whether the star actor will be able to extricate himself from this murder case and return to the sets to complete his half-done films.

“Considering the situation, the chances are bleak,” a senior police officer commented, talking about the case.

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