The spat between Kannada actor Diganth and director Priya Bharathi (an NRI from the USA) has taken an ugly turn with the director alleging that the actor was sleeping with two of the film's heroines in the US where the shooting of her film e-Preethi was going on.
e-Preethi was launched 18 months ago in Bangalore. After the initial shoot in Bangalore, the film unit went to the USA.
It all started with Bharathi complaining about the actor in the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce alleging non co-operation and unprofessionalism in allotting dates. She had also charged Diganth with upsetting the film schedules, which paved way for the escalation of the cost.
While she spoke to the media about what she thought had gone wrong with the film's shoot, Diganth remained silent. Later, the producers of the film -- headed by Dr Narayana Hosamane, one of the top cancer research specialists in USA -- backed Diganth and asked the film's director to apologise to him. But the director refused to do so.
When she came out with fresh allegations of him sleeping with the two heroines (Tejaswini and Nina Mahesh) when the shooting was going on in the US, Diganth decided to speak out.
Diganth told this correspondent that he enjoyed the confidence of the producers, artists and technicians of the film, except the director who has behaved in a high-handed manner.
"I doubt whether she intends to complete the film. Only 15 percent of the shooting has to be completed. I am ready to attend the shooting in Bangalore or in the US but now I find the director raising non-issues and not interested in finishing the film. Since she has a long drawn battle ahead with the producers of the film, she is just diverting the attention by making false accusations against me and the other co-artists," says Diganth.
"I hail from a respectable family. Priya should have realised the extent of damage she is causing to my reputation and the reputation of my co-artists Tejaswini and Nina Mahesh, who have also become targets of her unsubstantiated allegations," Diganth added.
Diganth has already taken up the matter with the Kannada film artists association and has met actor-director Ravichandran, the association's president, in this regard.
"I want to file a defamation case against Priya but right now the issue is still being discussed," said Diganth, whose father himself is a well known advocate.
The twist in the tale is that Priyabharathi has sought an apology from Tejaswini and Nina Mahesh for what she calls 'misunderstood and unintended interpretation' derived from her statement made earlier to defend her actions and to point out the unprofessional attitude of Diganth.
'My apologies to Tejaswini for getting her accidentally and unintentionally involved in this through no fault of her own, due to an issue that did not concern her,' Priya Bharathi said in her recent statement released to press.
A pained Tejaswni reacted, "I don't know why I have become a target for such malicious allegations. She has now apologised but the damage has been done. I am really pained that Bharthi behaved in such a manner.'
It appears the drama behind the scenes seems to be more interesting than the film.