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Work stopped on Charlie Chaplin's 62-foot statue
R G Vijayasarathy in Bangalore | March 16, 2009 16:42 IST
Theatre artists, noted film and literary personalities, and members of many progressive groups in Karnataka have decided to go on a dharna on March 17 to protest against the attempts of some local Sangh Parivar leaders in Udupi district to stop the construction work of Charlie Chaplin's 62-foot tall statue at Baindoor.
The dharna will be staged in front of Bangalore's iconic structure, Town Hall.
On March 13, a group of protestors stopped the construction work on the statue undertaken by the crew of Kannada film, House Full. The unit wanted the statue as part of a song sequence in the film, a comedy made under the banner of Mumbai [Images] based Maverick productions.
The film features director Hemanth Hegde and Diganth in the lead as well as Mumbai-based Vishaka Singh and Girija Oak [of Taare Zameen Par [Images] fame]. The film's shooting has been completed except for a song sequence which was to be shot at the Ottibele beach.
Work on the statue has been going on for two months at a total cost of Rs 35 lakh under the supervision of art director Chetan Mundadi.
On Friday, local BJP leader Suresh Batwadi stopped the film unit from going ahead with the project, claiming that the land on which the statue was to be erected belonged to the Someshwara temple and that the crew lacked the requisite permissions. Later the activists filled the pit of the statue with soil and threw away all the construction equipments.
Nanda, the film's co-ordinator said that the activists also forbade the construction of Chaplin's statue anywhere in Udupi District.
However, Karnataka Home Minister V S Acharya, who hails from Udupi district, denied that the local BJP leaders had stopped the construction work because Charlie Chaplin was a Christian.
"The local people were against the construction of a permanent statue near the Maravanthe beach because the film unit had not secured permission for a permanent installation from the local authorities," Acharya said.
Meanwhile, Hemanth Hegde said that he had obtained all clearances from all the required agencies like the state government's information department, town panchayat and also from the deputy commissioner's office to construct the statue. He said that he even discussed the shooting schedule with the officials.
"I had apprised the gram panchayat and the Udupi deputy commissioner. The BJP activists questioned me as to why I was not installing Vivekananda's statue," he added.