A magical spell of glamour

"How I wish we could be as before!" my friend sighed remembering our outings of the past. Rajyotsava being in the first flush of youth, Kannada sanghas had mushroomed in every nook and corner of the state, spreading their wings in far-off countries like America, England and the like.

Noted Kannada writers, deemed as saviours of the language, would be invited to many events and honoured.

Yes, it was nice to be recognised. But there was one hitch. Invariably, two or three popular actors would also be invited, and accompany us in the car to the event. Many of the lekakiyaru (women writers in Kannada) would resent it, and rightly so, for the glamorous aura of the silver-screen would naturally pervade the whole atmosphere. The actors would also steal the show with their carefully crafted gimmicks, like repeating a saucy dialogue, singing popular songs, sometimes even enthralling the crowd with dance moves from a famous old movie.

Aha! They knew how to snatch the attention of the audience, who would have come to see their favourite stars and hear them. And the conveners would have roped them exactly for that purpose. We writers, would feel like symbols coming into the limelight only when we were introduced perfunctorily, garlanded grandly and gloriously draped in shawls. The actors would clap the most, followed by the audience. The mike would become faulty as we approached it, but would spring to life once the divine beings touched it! Such is the allure of the aura of glamour. And, at the drop-scene, the whole pandal would be emptied, with the audience running after them. Afraid of being stranded at an unknown place, we would also sprint behind them, tightly holding on to the shawl-garland etc (to show off before neighbours and family).

So, once, we deliberately boycotted the charismatic group. Lo and behold! there was absolutely no audience at the venue! As we looked at each other crestfallen, the sportive convener carried the day by dividing us into a mini audience and speakers, turn by turn. What fun we had! using the mike to our heart's content and clapping to each other! Come to think of it, there were some plus points also. We learnt a lot about the life behind the silver screen. I, for one, would go on asking about the heroes and heroines of my younger days, like the romantic pair - Ashok Kumar and Lila Chitnis, the tragic gossip surrounding that legendary hero Tyagaraja Bhagavatar, and about those popular comedians Krishnan and Madhuram, Prithviraj Kapoor etc. I reminisced about all this when recently, I was invited as the chief guest of a Rajyotsava event in Nuggehalli. Before being seated on the dais, I stood stock still - for there was no sign of an actor! Only prim MLAs seated all around!

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