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Activists object erection of Chaplin statute

Press Trust Of India
Mar 15, 2009 at 12:26pm IST

Udupi (Karnataka): A Kannada film director on Saturday claimed his attempts to install a statue of legendary comedian Charlie Chaplin for the shoot of a movie have met with resistance from an unidentified Hindu group on the ground that the actor was a Christian.

The attempt to install the 67-foot statue at the Ottinene beach in Kundapur Taluk of Karnataka ran into rough weather as activists claiming to represent a Hindu group halted the work, Hemanth Hegde, director of Kannada Film Houseful, told reporters but refused to blame any outfit.

Udupi District Deputy Commissioner Hemalatha told PTI that permission for film shooting has been given but the director has been asked to submit details of the land on which the statue is proposed to be erected and also for scrutiny of adherence to laws including Coastal Regulation Act.

FLIMSY EXCUSE: Activists claiming to represent a Hindu group halted the work of Hemanth Hegde.

Hemalatha said authorities cannot give permission to such ventures without verifying land records and the director had not purchased the land where he wanted to erect Chaplin's statue.

Hegde said he planned to shoot two song sequences of his film using the statue, work on which was expected to be completed by April 5.

This is the second time the project is facing problems, he claimed but refused to identify the group, adding " I don't want to name anyone that they belong to Bajrang Dal or any other organisation".

Hegde claimed those opposed to the statue first said the it would affect the Someshwara Temple but later argued 'Chaplin is a Christian and his contribution to India is nil.'

According to an application made by Maverick Productions Pvt Ltd, a Bangalore based production house, to the Udupi District Deputy Commissioner, it sought permission to "erect set and shoot at Othenani" for the film.

The copies of the letter released to the press by Hegde point out that the film-maker has not sought permission to install the statue permanently.

The Deputy Commissioner has referred the letter to Police and Forest Department for perusal and accord permission for shooting as per rules.

As per norms, no film shooting activity is permissible in forest land without the Department's consent.

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