Take this exhausting list of imports in Kannada films-Juhi Chawla, Jayapradha, Lakshmi, Suhasini, Sonali Bendre, Pooja Gandhi, Jennifer Kotwal and most recently, Sonal Chauhan of Jannat fame. So do directors just look north to find actresses? DJ Vishnukanth, director of Ganga Kaveri in which both heroines were from the north says it is all about availability. He justifies himself and says, “When I approached Kannada actresses, they were either not interested or didn’t have the dates. In such a situation, I was left with no other choice.”
Another trend emerging of late is Hindi television artistes making their big screen debut through Sandalwood. Sanjeeda Sheikh (Kya Hoga Nimmo Ka), Suhani (Ek chabi hai pados mein) and Surveen Chawla(Kahin tho hoga) are examples of this.
Viewers of Kannada films have mixed feelings towards this trend. Chaitra blames the lack of passion in Kannadigas. She adds, “It can be a good thing. It provides visibility to Kannada films even outside the state. But our girls should get a fair chance. Talent should be the only criteria for selection. The situation is similar to the one in playback singing where established Bollywood singers like Sonu Nigam, Udit Narayan and Sunidhi Chauhan are preferred to local talent.”
Multi-cultural participation in art has always been appreciated. And as Sandalwood fans point out, it does not matter if the artist is a local or an outsider as long as talent and art triumph.