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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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.

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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.