Cauvery Issue

Kattappa killed Baahubali. He apologises to ensure that he doesn’t kill the sequel too

Until Tamil actor Sathyaraj apologised for his remarks on the Cauvery issue, the makers of ‘Baahubali 2’ feared they would pay the price in Karnataka.

Why Kattappa killed Baahubali is no longer the mind-numbing riddle for fans of SS Rajamouli’s epic fantasy adventure. That question, until Friday, was replaced with a tougher one: would Tamil actor Sathyaraj, who plays the abject warrior in the fictional Mahishmathi kingdom in Baahubali, apologise for his remarks on the Cauvery river issue?

The April 28 release of the sequel, Baahubali 2, had run into trouble in Karnataka over the veteran actor’s remarks in 2008 on the sharing of the Cauvery river waters. The festering dispute over the 800-kilometre-long Cauvery river, which originates in Karnataka, has riven the film industries of both states for years. Actors and filmmakers in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have frequently participated in protests and made statements supporting the stand of their respective governments.

In his fiery speech made during a protest that was attended by Tamil film celebrities, including Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, Sathyaraj roundly condemned Karnataka’s demands and declared that Tamilians should not stand mute like a tree on which a dog urinates.

The Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha, led by Vatal Nagaraj, has called for a Bengaluru bandh on April 28. The shutdown has the support of the official bodies of the Kannada film industry. In a previous protest meeting organised by the Nadigar Sangam, which represents Tamil actors, Sathyaraj had called Vatal Nagaraj a comedian.

On Friday afternoon, ANI reported that Satyaraj had apologise for his remarks.

But before this, NM Suresh, secretary of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, told Scroll.in, “Sathyaraaj has made cheap comments about Karnataka and Kannadigas. We are not bothered if it is an old video, it resurfaced three months back. It is a fact and it has hurt us. We have always given solid support to Telugu, Tamil and Hindi films in Karnataka. They have all enjoyed good business here. The same cannot be said about Kannada films in neighbouring states.”

The Kannadiga activists claimed that the state’s exhibitors were also on their side. “We are not against Rajamouli, we respect him but we want Sathyaraj to apologise,” Suresh said. “He does not have to come here, he can do it on Facebook too. It is a question of our prestige.”

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Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion is one of the year’s most hotly anticipated movies and the solo release on April 28. The combined budget is pegged at Rs 450 crore. Baahubali 2 is set to releases on 6,500 screens in India and on 650 screens in the United States alone. It has been made simultaneously in Telugu and Tamil and dubbed in Malayalam and Hindi.

Rajamouli was worried enough about the potential loss of business in Karnataka to release a video in which he spoke in Kannada and pleaded with protestors to allow his labour of love to be released in the state. Delinking his mega-budget film from Sathyaraj’s views, Rajamouli said, “His work in the movie and what he said are not related. It was his personal opinion. He is not the producer of the movie… If you stop the screening of this movie, please understand that Sathyaraj will not be affected in any way. The people who will be affected are the ones who worked on the film over the last five years – the technicians, the crew, the producers, and the Karnataka distributors; not to mention all the movie lovers who appreciate good cinema.”

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SS Rajamouli’s video appeal.

By not releasing Baahubali 2 in Karnataka, the state’s distributors and exhibitors could have faced losses running into crores. “The film was being offered to distributors at rates higher than Rs 45 crore,” said Ramu, a veteran producer of action films. “It is all about business for Rajamouli, finally. The film will not be released in theatres here unless Sathyaraj comes to Bengaluru and apologises to Kannadigas.”

Flared tempers over Cauvery water sharing and riverine projects have singed even Rajinikanth, who was born in Bengaluru. In 2008, the Tamil star was forced to apologise to Karnataka for supporting the proposed Hogenakkal drinking water project in Dharmapuri, which uses Tamil Nadu’s share of the Cauvery river. Rajinikanth had to buy peace to ensure that his movie Kuselan was released in Karnataka.

Sathyaraj and director Bharathiraaja had criticised Rajinikanth’s apology at the time, claiming that rather than capitulating, he should have compensated his producers and distributors for the film’s non-release.

Tamil film personalities have even swallowed losses to their own productions over the issue. In September 2016, protests followed a Supreme Court order to Karnataka to release 12,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. Tamil film industry associations enforced a day-long bandh, damaging the prospects of local releases.

Although the ire of the Kannadiga activists was directed at Sathyaraj, members of the Telugu film fraternity are nervous that other releases will be affected too. Karnataka is an important territory for Telugu cinema, said Rajkumar Akella, head of the anti-piracy cell at the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce. Karnataka contributes 10-15% more revenue for Telugu films than Tamil Nadu, and Telugu stars such as Mahesh Babu, Pawan Kalyan and Nagarjuna have a sizable fan following there, Akella said.

An equally big headache for Arka Mediaworks, the Bahubaali franchise’s producer, is piracy. The movie is being released in new overseas territories such as East Asia, and it has been subtitled in multiple foreign languages. The greater a film’s exposure, the greater the chances of intellectual theft, which is why Arka Mediaworks is working with the Telangana Intellectual Property Crime Unit, private anti-piracy companies around the country, and an in-house anti-piracy unit to ensure that the film isn’t ripped and uploaded on pirate sites.

“The challenge this time is because it has such a widespread release and leaks can happen anywhere,” Akella said. A John Doe order against piracy obtained from courts before the release of the first film will continue to be effective for the concluding part of Bahubaali too.

But before the pirates, it’s Kattappa whom Rajamouli was worried about. “Why did Kattappa kill Baahubali” was a question that had now morphed into, “Did Kattappa kill Baahubali 2”?

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From catching Goan dances in Lisbon to sampling langar in Munich

A guide to the surprising Indian connect in Lisbon and Munich.

For several decades, a trip to Europe simply meant a visit to London, Paris and the Alps of Switzerland. Indians today, though, are looking beyond the tried and tested destinations and making an attempt to explore the rest of Europe as well. A more integrated global economy, moreover, has resulted in a more widespread Indian diaspora. Indeed, if you know where to look, you’ll find traces of Indian culture even in some unlikely cities. Lisbon and Munich are good cities to include in your European sojourn as they both offer compelling reasons to visit, thanks to a vibrant cultural life. Here’s a guide to everything Indian at Lisbon and Munich, when you wish to take a break from all the sight-seeing and bar crawling you’re likely to indulge in.

Lisbon

Lisbon is known as one of the most vibrant cities in Western Europe. On its streets, the ancient and the modern co-exist in effortless harmony. This shows in the fact that the patron saint day festivities every June make way for a summer that celebrates the arts with rock, jazz and fado concerts, theatre performances and art exhibitions taking place around the city. Every two years, Lisbon also hosts the largest Rock festival in the world, Rock in Rio Lisboa, that sees a staggering footfall.

The cultural life of the city has seen a revival of sorts under the current Prime Minister, Antonio Costa. Costa is of Indian origin, and like many other Indian-origin citizens prominent in Portugal’s political, business and entertainment scenes, he exemplifies Lisbon’s deep Indian connect. Starting from Vasco Da Gama’s voyage to India, Lisbon’s historic connection to Goa is well-documented. Its traces can be still be seen on the streets of both to this day.

While the Indian population in Lisbon is largely integrated with the local population, a few diaspora groups are trying to keep their cultural roots alive. Casa de Goa, formed in the ‘90s, is an association of people of Goans, Damanese and Diuese origins residing in Lisbon. Ekvat (literally meaning ‘roots’ in Konkani) is their art and culture arm that aims to preserve Goan heritage in Portugal. Through all of its almost 30-year-long existence, Ekvat has been presenting traditional Goan dance and music performances in Portugal and internationally.

Be sure to visit the Champlimaud Centre for the Unknown, hailed a masterpiece of contemporary architecture, which was designed by the critically-acclaimed Goan architect Charles Correa. If you pay attention, you can find ancient Indian influences, like cut-out windows and stand-alone pillars. The National Museum of Ancient Art also has on display a collection of intricately-crafted traditional Goan jewellery. At LOSTIn - Esplanada Bar, half of the people can be found lounging about in kurtas and Indian shawls. There’s also a mural of Bal Krishna and a traditional Rajasthani-style door to complete the desi picture. But it’s not just the cultural landmarks that reflect this connection. The integration of Goans in Lisbon is so deep that most households tend to have Goa-inspired textiles and furniture as a part of their home decor, and most families have adapted Goan curries in their cuisine. In the past two decades, the city has seen a surge in the number of non-Goan Indians as well. North Indian delicacies, for example, are readily available and can be found on Zomato, which has a presence in the city.

If you wish to avoid the crowds of the peak tourist season, you can even consider a visit to Lisbon during winter. To plan your trip, check out your travel options here.

Munich

Munich’s biggest draw remains the Oktoberfest – the world’s largest beer festival for which millions of people from around the world converge in this historic city. Apart from the flowing Oktoberfest beer, it also offers a great way to get acquainted with the Bavarian folk culture and sample their traditional foods such as Sauerkraut (red cabbage) and Weißwurst (a white sausage).

If you plan to make the most of the Oktoberfest, along with the Bavarian hospitality you also have access to the services of the Indian diaspora settled in Munich. Though the Indian community in Munich is smaller than in other major European destinations, it does offer enough of a desi connect to satisfy your needs. The ISKCON temple at Munich observes all major rituals and welcomes everyone to their Sunday feasts. It’s not unusual to find Germans, dressed in saris and dhotis, engrossed in the bhajans. The Art of Living centre offers yoga and meditation programmes and discourses on various spiritual topics. The atmosphere at the Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Sabha is similarly said to be peaceful and accommodating of people of all faiths. They even organise guided tours for the benefit of the non-Sikhs who are curious to learn more about the religion. Their langar is not to be missed.

There are more options that’ll help make your stay more comfortable. Some Indian grocery stores in the city stock all kinds of Indian spices and condiments. In some, like Asien Bazar, you can even bargain in Hindi! Once or twice a month, Indian film screenings do take place in the cinema halls, but the best way to catch up on developments in Indian cinema is to rent video cassettes and VCDs. Kohinoor sells a wide range of Bollywood VCDs, whereas Kumaras Asean Trades sells Tamil cassettes. The local population of Munich, and indeed most Germans too, are largely enamoured by Bollywood. Workshops on Bollywood dance are quite popular, as are Bollywood-themed events like DJ nights and dance parties.

The most attractive time to visit is during the Oktoberfest, but if you can brave the weather, Munich during Christmas is also a sight to behold. You can book your tickets here.

Thanks to the efforts of the Indian diaspora abroad, even lesser-known European destinations offer a satisfying desi connect to the proud Indian traveller. Lufthansa, which offers connectivity to Lisbon and Munich, caters to its Indian flyers’ priorities and understands how proud they are of their culture. In all its India-bound flights and flights departing from India, flyers can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options, making the airline More Indian than You Think. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalised by Lufthansa to the extent that they now offer a definitive Indian flying experience.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.