Actor Dhananjaya’s latest movie Head Bush has courted controversy after a section of people took offence to a fight scene involving characters dressed in Veeragase costumes. The film has been accused of showing people who practice the folk art in a poor light—allegations that the filmmakers have rubbished.
Dhananjaya came under fire after some people took offence to a fight scene in which the film’s protagonist beats up rivals who try to kill him. The issue, however, is that the bad guys who take the beating come dressed in Veeragase costumes, which is a staple in Karaga Utsava, celebrated annually in Bengaluru. According to media reports, the Karaga Utsava Samithi has planned to approach the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce demanding alterations to the scene which they deem insulting to their sentiments.
The controversy has also led to widespread support for Dhananjaya and the makers of Head Bush. #WeStandWithDhananjaya became a trend in opposition to the hashtag campaign #BoycottHeadBush. Many supporters of the film have alleged that Dhananjaya is being systematically targeted for his outspoken liberal views. The controversy is touted to be a ploy to silence the contrarian voices in Kannada cinema.
Actor-filmmaker Prakash Raj also expressed his solidarity with Dhananjaya in light of the controversy.
— Prakash Raj (@prakashraaj) October 26, 2022
“If you observe the fight sequence, there will be some people in Veeragase make-up to attack Jayaraj. When the fake Veeragase guys attack, the real Veeragase artists step back. Another thing, while performing Veeragase, one should not wear footwear. When Jayaraj is attacked, he notices that those who attacked him are wearing footwear, and then he realises these are not real artists. And Jayaraj only fights those guys. Technically, Jayaraj is beating those who are insulting Veeragase. We have clearly shown that difference in the movie,” Dhananjaya explained during an interview with TV9 Kannada.
Dhananjaya became a household name after his breakthrough performance in the 2018 gangster drama Tagaru. He played the main antagonist nicknamed Daali, which later also became the actor’s calling card in the industry. From the supporting cast, he later graduated to lead roles in movies such as Popcorn Monkey Tiger and Badava Rascal. He will also be seen in Tollywood superstar Allu Arjun’s upcoming movie Pushpa 2.
His latest film Head Bush is inspired by real events that happened in the 1970s in Bengaluru. The movie is based on the memoir My Days in the Underworld by Agni Sreedhar, a former gangster.