It would be a hoot and a half if anyone in Hollywood lost their job over allegations of infidelity. By most estimates, Tinseltown would become a ghost town.
Too bad thirty year old Nikita Thukral is based in India, then. The actress and Indian film star -- she has appeared in films produced by four of the top film centers in India -- has been banished from appearing in films for the next three years by the Karnataka Film Producer's Association due to allegedly disrupting the “domestic harmony of a fellow actor.”
Thirty-four year old Tugudeepa Darshan -- known simply as Darshan to his adoring fans -- the fellow at the center of this taudry triangle, is himself in a bit of hot water but not for his alleged infidelities. He's been accused and medical evidence has been presented of his physical abuse against his wife and three year old son.
Seems Mrs. Darshan -- Vijayalakshmi -- wasn't too pleased with Darshan's on-set performances and confronted him about it. Darshan, in return, was none too pleased with his wife’s review.
The interesting tidbit out of all of this is that the alleged lady infidel is the one who has been banished, not the guy. It was just a few days ago that Darshan, a mustachioed action "hero" -- as male leads are referred to in South Asian cinema -- confronted his wife and toddler, gun in hand, to sort out this little misunderstanding. But he has yet to be banned from anything.
Instead, Thukral, a popular actress in films produced in the Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam language film industries of southern India, is dealing with public scorn and accusations of professional misconduct after her name was mentioned in the police report filed by Mrs. Darshan following the shooting. In an interview with Indian media, just after the ban was imposed, Thukral proclaimed to be “shocked at the whole incident” and unfairly “dragged into this” scandal. Thukral, the daughter of a prominent acting family, denies the allegations of adultery.
But according to the President of the Karnataka Film Producers’ Association (KFPA), the body that oversees all film production in the southwest Indian state of Karnataka, she can deny all she wants. “Let her sue us for defamation and we’ll reveal her reality to the world,” said KFPA President Munirathna Naidu.
The moral maestro went on to add that “we have proof about her misdeeds and will expose her if she tries to challenge our decision. Either she has to shut up and accept the ban now, or be prepared to face the music.”
Meanwhile, Darshan – a fiery figure who appears to have taken his art to heart, decided the best way to settle his wife’s misgivings about his latest role would be to do as many a character of his has done: take to the gun. The wife and toddler son sustained injuries in the September 8 incident, but it wasn’t the first time the public has been made aware of Mrs. Darshan’s concern about his three-time co-star Thukral. The Darshans have been battling it out for months now.
Which brings us back to Thukral, who was last heard from while recovering in a Mumbai hospital for illness due to “stress and low blood pressure” associated with the scandal. While Darshan awaits trial in his domestic violence case, several prominent Indian film industry figures, including people who have worked closely with both actors, have spoken out against the ban, with one colleague calling it “ridiculous” and others making reference to the sexism behind banning the unmarried female rather than the married male involved in the fiasco.
To make matters more complicated, Darshan’s recovering wife took a private meeting with the prosecutor in her husband’s domestic violence case this week in which she made what appears to be a sincere attempt to not lie about her husband’s virtues. “He’s 75% good” she told the prosecutor, just days after filing a police report of “attempt to murder”.
Arm in a cast and head hung low in despair, Mrs. Darshan can be seen in photos just after the meeting in which she begged that the charges be dropped. The best estimates indicate that she cried for approximately 30 of the 45 minutes during which she pleaded for her husband’s release.
There’s no sex scandal like a Karnataka sex scandal, they say.
Follow Shirin Sadeghi on Twitter: @ShirinSadeghi
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