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September 22, 2000
Karnataka MPs will seek PM's intervention
M D Riti in Bangalore
A delegation of all the 28 MPs from Karnataka will go to New Delhi next week to meet the prime minister and ask for quick action in releasing Dr Rajakumar from the clutches of Veerappan, says film-star turned politician Ambareesh, now an MP from Mandya, the district from which Rajakumar was kidnapped six weeks ago.
"Perhaps only the central government's intervention, apart from a change of heart by Veerappan himself, can hasten the release of Dr Rajakumar," says Ambareesh, who sports a long beard that he swears he will shave only after Rajakumar returns. He is not the only member of the Kannada film industry to sport a beard. Many others, including the abducted star's three sons Shivarajkumar, raghavendra and Puneet, all have six weeks of facial hair growth.
So too do ageing superstar Vishnuvardhan, once perceived as Rajakumar's rival, Ravichandran, a mega star of Tamil origin and several others. "Anyway we have no work, with the industry at a standstill," jokes Ambareesh. "Might as well remain fully unoccupied, by saving ourselves even the effort of shaving! However, some stars have changed their minds and shaved, purely because you cannot dye your beard. People will immediately know how grey an actor is, and therefore how middle-aged he must be!"
However, the mood of the Kannada film industry, the fans of Rajakumar in Karnataka and especially the family of the kidnapped actor, is far from light-hearted just now. The general feeling is that the Centre is treating the whole issue very lightly.
"If Mahatma Gandhi is the father of the nation, Appaji is the father of Karnataka," said a red-eyed Shivaraj yesterday, just before he joined the procession that he and his brothers led of Rajakumar fans and members of the film industry. "Let the law-makers, politicians stay in the jungle for even a day themselves, before they condemn another to three weeks there without reprieve."
His brother Raghavendra is much more outspoken. "Let Veerappan keep us three brothers and release our father," he says emotionally.
Parvathamma has made one more broadcast from her bed to Rajakumar and Veerappan now. "I haven't seen you for so long, that's why I must be ill now," she says emotionally to her husband. Addressing Veerappan as "Annavargale," she breaks down as she pleads for her husband's quick release. Parvathamma is still in hospital, but doing much better, according to her physician..
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