Artists up in arms over cultural policing

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Bangalore, Mar 17 (ANI): A regional language film director, whose plans to install a statue of famous comedian Charlie Chaplin ran into a controversy, received permission to hold a protest rally against cultural policing.

The controversy arose after director Hemanth Hegde planned to install a 62-feet-high statue of Charlie Chaplin as a backdrop to a song sequence in 'House Full', his Kannada language film.

Activists belonging to the Hindu Jagrana Vedike, a radical faction claiming to protect the cause of Hindus, forced the workers to halt the construction of the pedestal, saying the statue of a Christian was being put up too close to a Hindu temple at the Ottinene beach near southern Udupi. egde took police permission to hold a protest against the Hindu radicals on Monday.

Hegde said he would hold the rally with support from the film and theatre fraternity.

"I have come here to take the permission because we are planning to hold a protest rally on March 20 near Mahatma Gandhi statue. I want to involve the artist fraternity, my colleagues, youngsters who protest against this kind of behaviour. Everybody who is against cultural policing would be part of us," said Hegde.

Hegde also expressed his sorrow at politics encroaching the domain of art.

"We are artists and we have nothing to do with politics. I was constructing the statue in an artistic manner. I never intended to hurt any religious sentiments. I am really hurt because politics should never mix with art," said Hegde.

The statue was to be set up an estimated cost of 3.5 million rupees.

The British-born Charlie Chaplin was one of Hollywood's first and greatest stars and a pioneering filmmaker, perhaps best remembered for his "Little Tramp" character.

Hindu Jagrana Vedike is also linked to the attack on a Christian school in Karnataka during May 2008. (ANI)

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