World Kannada Meet starts tomorrow

The "Vishwa Kannada Sammelana" (World Kannada Meet) will be held in this town bordering Maharashtra with software icon N R Narayana Murthy declaring the three-day extravaganza open.

Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will be gracing the inaugural ceremony as a special guest in the event, which will be attended by Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and acclaimed Kannada poet G S Shivarudrappa among others.

A packed cultural, literary and entertaining feast has been planned, as the state looks back on its growth and development, with an eye on the future in the backdrop of modern and globalised times.

"Troupes from the US, UK and Dubai are staging performances," Special Officer of the meet, I M Vittala Murthy, told PTI today.

The Karnataka film industry has declared a five-day holiday from yesterday, and a 1,000-member team from "Sandalwood" would be one of the key attractions.

Kannadigas from the state as well as almost 150 of them from overseas are expected to be in attendance of the Rs 30-crore event alongwith others.

The run-up to the meet has witnessed controversy, with a section of Kannada litterateurs opposing the choice of Murthy and some labeling him "anti-Kannada". Murthy has denied the charge.

While Maharashtra continues to stake claim over Belgaum this event will "send out a clear message" that that it is an integral part of the state, a state official said.

The first "Vishwa Kannada Sammelana" was held in Mysore in 1985.

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