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Sudeep's stand on Hindi revives memories of Dr Rajkumar's 'Kannada first' agitation

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The Kannada film industry and political leaders have rebutted Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn for his comments against the statement of Kannada super star Kichcha Sudeep regarding Hindi as a national language.

The assertion against Hindi imposition is not new-found after the success of southern movies, including ‘KGF Chapter-2’, and it dates back to 1980s.

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Kannada cinema legend Dr Rajkumar led the Gokak agitation launched demanding first language status for Kannada in the state in 1980.

The agitation was launched by Kannada litterateurs and activists, and got the support of lakhs of people after the entire Kannada film fraternity joined the agitation led by Dr Rajkumar.

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The historical movement forced the then state government to immediately accord first language status to Kannada in Karnataka.

Resistance to Hindi imposition has always been there in the state, say experts.

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Anil B. Nachappa, actor and producer, while speaking to IANS underlined that Bollywood should accept the new reality. It is no more “central” to Indian cinema like it was all these years.

In this changed scenario, anyone can become a superhero provided he gives the best content, Nachappa said.

“Five to six years back, southern cinema did not get support, as only Hindi movies were projected and promoted by the central government. There was no platform or support in the tax system for regional cinema to be released in other states,” he said.

While the entire country celebrated movies like ‘Sholay’ and ‘Dabaang’, southern movies are now celebrated throughout India, especially in the north.

Now, whoever gives the best, whether it is from Bollywood, regional cinema or from the northeast, it will become successful at the national level, he explained.

In fact, the film world took notice of Kannada cinema with the ‘Tithi’, which was released before ‘KGF Chapter-1’. The movie was made on a very low budget, and won the Golden Leopard Award, the top prize at the Locarno International Film Festival.

Jael Varma, poet and assistant vice-president at a private bank, said, “Hindi imposition wasn’t there earlier. What should be understood is that there is someone powerful behind this imposition. It is the ruling BJP’s strategy to carry out politics of religion and language. Those who do not have work will fall prey to it. Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn is not so busy.”

Hindi is a beautiful language, but there is no place for its imposition, she added.

Differing to the views, actress and producer Anitha Bhat asked why anyone should feel discomfort about Hindi.

“I don’t want to get caught in the star war of Kichcha Sudeep and Ajay Devgn. Sudeep has not spoken anything against Hindi. He has acted in Hindi movies. The Kannada film industry is expanding and we will all get good work. Why should Hindi be rejected or envied upon,” she asked.

“I studied in a government school. On the blackboard everyday it was written that our national language is Hindi. Why is the opposition now,” she asked.

–By M K Ashoka

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