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After the exile


The proverbial 14-year wait for KRK Enterprises' Karnana Sampathu (Karna's Assets), launched in May 1991 is over and is slated for release on May 6. Owing to the legal dispute between its producer and a financier, the film did not see the light of day, and now its release means different things for all those involved in the project. For Ambarish, the release at this juncture is valuable, for the political advantages it brings. For the producer, K.R. Muralikrishna, it means reasserting his identity as someone committed to the cause of good Kannada cinema as it is of his own survival. For his elder brother and the Director, R. Shantaram Kanagala, it is the end of a "self imposed exile" and a means to realise his celluloid dreams.

For the problem-prone Kannada film industry, it is yet another inordinately delayed arrival, nevertheless important. The film is about fan culture, its socio-political repercussions, and responsibilities of both the star and his fans. Although Ambarish plays the lead, he is only a representative of all artistes who have a fan following. "His concern for the poor and needy earned him the name Karna and he personally feels his fans are his greatest asset," says Shantaram, one-time disciple of K.Balachander.

Shantaram, a metallurgist active in both traditional and modern Kannada theatre, entered the tinsel world through M.S. Sathyu's Kanneshwara Rama. He later acted in many Tamil films, including the Rajnikant starrer Tappu Talangal (Tappida Taalagalu in Kannada). As a director, he is known for his unorthodox themes. Many senior artistes, including K.S. Ashwath, B.V. Radha, Mukhya Mantri Chandru and Umashri, are in the cast.

K.N. VENKATASUBBA RAO

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