As Kannada actor’s wife accuses him of abuse, TV channel runs poll asking ‘who is wrong’

As Kannada actor’s wife accuses him of abuse, TV channel runs poll asking ‘who is wrong’
As Kannada actor’s wife accuses him of abuse, TV channel runs poll asking ‘who is wrong’
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A Kannada news channel has added one more item to the list of crass ways in which the media cover gender.

On March 10, Public TV put up a poll asking its viewers to vote on who they think is “wrong” in the case of verbal abuse that Vijayalakshmi reported to the police against her husband “Challenging Star” Darshan.

On Wednesday night, Vijayalakshmi approached the Bengaluru police, asking them to summon her husband and advise him. He had gone to her house in the Hosakerehalli area of the city in the night and abused her, and allegedly assaulted the security guard working at the apartment she lived in.

A day later, the Twitter handle of a Kannada news channel had pinned a tweet asking its viewers to give their opinion on who they thought was “wrong”.

In 2011, Darshan spent two weeks in jail after Vijayalakshmi complained to the police that she had been assaulted by her husband. Her injuries included a broken arm, a torn ear, cigarette burns on her body. All this is said to have happened in a car. Darshan also allegedly threatened to kill their son.

During this time, Darshan’s fans protested in front of the police station, burned buses.

After the intervention of actor Ambareesh, who is said to be Darshan’s mentor, and other film personalities, Vijayalakshmi withdrew her complaint. The Kannada Film Producers Association went so far as to impose ban (withdrawn soon after) on an actor who supposedly had an affair with Darshan. The idea was that the ‘marital discord’ had been caused because of the ‘other woman’.

At the time, the tone of actors and film personalities was that a ‘compromise’ could be reached in order to ‘save the relationship’.

This time however, Bangalore Mirror reports that the situation is not quite the same. The day after Vijayalakshmi approached the police, the two exchanged barbs at each other through the media. Darshan claimed that Vijyalakshmi has a boyfriend to whom she gifted a car, which was given to her by Darshan.

Although there have been reports that Ambareesh may intervene as he did the last time, Mirror reports that the industry is not too keen on getting involved because of the ‘boyfriend’ claim thrown up by Darshan.

When Darshan allegedly assaulted Vijayalakshmi in 2011, there were photographs of her with her arm fractured, her face drawn.

Although that complaint no longer exists, if it is true that Darshan is an abusive husband, Vijayalakshmi must have support not just from her family, but also from public institutions such as the media, not least because her husband happens to be a famous actor with influence in the Kannada film industry. She has the right to make the decisions of her life, live her life without the media turning it into a cheap tool for its TRPs.

The only upside to these developments is that the television channel in question had just 119 votes. However, 59 percent of these voters said that Vijayalakshmi was “wrong”. But the television media’s coverage of what it calls ‘marital disharmony’ or ‘marital discord’ often perpetuates the already low opinion that society has of women, especially those who accuse their husbands of cruelty. 

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