Several users have come out in support of actor Dhananjaya on social media after the actor’s recent film ‘Head Bush’ was accused of hurting the religious sentiments of practitioners of Veeragase, a folk art form popular in Karnataka.

Dhananjaya in Head Bush Screengrab/ YouTube
Flix Controversy Thursday, October 27, 2022 - 16:51

Actor Dhananjaya’s Kannada film has sparked a controversy after allegations of hurting the religious sentiments of practitioners of the folk art form Veeragase. Actor Dhananjaya essays the role of MP Jayaraj in the recently released Kannada film Head Bush, which is based on Agni Sridhar’s book Dadagiriya Dinagalu (My days in the underworld). The film focuses on the rise of MP Jayaraj and Bengaluru underworld in the 1970s and 80s.

The movie courted controversy after some social media users and Right Wing groups called for its boycott over the depiction of Veeragase, a folk dance form of Karnataka, which is predominantly practiced by the Lingayat community. As per reports from Kannada news channels, representatives of Karaga Utsava Samithi had also said that they would file a complaint with the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce. They have also demanded deletion of some scenes from Head Bush.

Responding to the allegations over representation of Veeragase, Dhananjaya said in a tweet on October 25 that he is a devotee of Veerabhadra Swamy and has ensured that the film does not insult Veeragase dancers. “I request the critics to watch the movie and then review it,” the tweet read.

Dhananjaya said that in the movie scene, a group of thugs disguise themselves as Veeragase dancers and attack Jayaraj, the protagonist. When the thugs blend along with a group of real Veeragase dancers to hide from Jayaraj, the latter gets confused. However, the protagonist later identifies the thugs and fights them off, since the thugs are seen in footwear, unlike the real Veeragase dancers. Sharing the explanation, Dhananjaya clarified that he has not disrespected the tradition or the practitioners of the dance.

As per media reports, the president of the Karaga Utsava Samithi has also said that one of the scenes from the film allegedly passes disparaging remarks about a renowned member of the community.

After Dhananjaya posted an explanation, several users have posted tweets in support of the actor. Actor Prakash Raj had put out a tweet on October 26, voicing his support to Dhananjaya. Some believed that the actor is being targeted for his progressive political beliefs. For instance, a user had re-shared an earlier tweet posted by actor Dhananjaya against Hindi imposition, and had opined that the actor is being targeted now for his political stance.

Kannada film Head Bush hit the big screens on October 21. Bankrolled by Dhananjaya and Ramco Somanna, the film also stars actor Payal Rajput in the lead. Helmed by filmmaker Shoonya, the technical crew includes music composer Charan Raj, cinematographer Sunoj Velayudhan, and editor Joseph K Raja, among others.

Watch the trailer of Head Bush here:

READ: Head Bush review: Dhananjaya’s charisma cannot save this sinking ship

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