More than 75000 spectators witnessed Vishwa Kannada Sammelana (VKS, World Kannada Summit) live, while crores of viewers watched it on TV across the state. Many had expected that Kannada-born Bollywood babe Aishwarya Rai Bachchan would enlighten them with her sweet Kannada words. But their expectations turned out to be mere a dream, when the B-Town actress struggled to squeeze out a few Kannada words from her heart. The question that bothers me a lot is that: Did she really deserve the special guest chair on the occasion? Or Rajinikanth would have brought more meaning to it?
I really do not know whether the organisers had invited Karnakata-born Tamil actor Rajinikanth or forgotten him for his colour. But I have a strong gut feeling that bringing Rajini could have added more colour to this starry-glitzy event. We all know that the Tamil Super star was born and brought up in Bangalore and served as a conductor in BMTC. Moreover, he started his acting career with Kannada film Sahodarara Savaal, but shifted to Tamil cinema following the suggestion of late Dr. Vishnuvardhan.
Even after acting in hundreds of Tamil, Telugu and Hindi films, he has not forgotten Kannada. He has graced several Kannada functions. He has lot of love and respect for Kannada language and tradition. He has treated several Kannadigas by speaking Kannada, when they visited his residence in Chennai. Moreover, we have read and heard about his visits to Bangalore in disguise to meet his friends and to visit Raghavendra Temple in Bangalore.
What about Aishwarya Rai Bachchan? We have hardly heard or read about her doing anything for Kannada. Leave it aside, She is born and brought up in Mangalore, Karanataka. She does not even remember Kannada language. She struggled to read a few Kannada words, which were written for her on the occasion. Her speech did not long last for one minute. Read the following quote to know what she said in her guest speech:
Aishwarya stumbled many times during her shortest Kannada speech. She began, "Mananiya Mukya Manthri Yadyurappanavare, videkeya ella ganyada vyaktigale hagoo samasta Kannadanavare ellarigoo Nanna preethiya Namaskar. Neevu nanna preethi abhimanadinda illi nadeyuthiruva Vishwa Kannada Sammelanakke karesi gowarvisiddare adakke nannu abhari. Antha helitu... Sorry. Antha helutta samastha Kannada janathege vandisuttene. Jai Hind, Thank you."
However, her speech did not last more than one minute and she concluded it with her Hindi words. She added, "Mananiya Mukya Manthriji aur manch par upstith sabhi adharniya athithiyonko mera namaskar. (to audience) Aap sabhi logon ki bhi mera namaskar. Mai danyavad dhethi hun ki aap logon ne mere ko itna pyar diya, itna samman diya, mai is din ko khabi nahin bhoolungi. Dhanyavad. Jai hind."
Was it enough for Kannadigas those who had lot of love, respect, pride and expectation about Kannada girl Aishwarya? Was it really difficult for her to utter some more Kannada words? Was it really necessary for somebody to scribble some Kannada words for her? Has she really forgotten Kannada? Or did she look down upon talking proper Kannada would might brand her as Kannadiga in National level? If so, then do we need such a Kannadiga to grace such a grand never-before Kannada event?
Let me tell you another thing that there was person named BR Shetty. He is actually from Mangalore district, but he has been staying in Dubai for nearly 50 years and heading the 'Kannada Balaga' there. Though he stubbled, he delivered his Kannada speech so nicely and it had lot of love and respect from the bottom of his heart. Moreover, he requested all Kannadigas to preserve language and culture. Meanwhile, he also assured his support to preserve Kannada.
Being born in Karnataka, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan might have just spent not even ten years in Bollywood. In such a small span of time, has she forgotten Kannada? Then she does not deserve love and respect from us - Kannadigas. Let us better honour Rajinikanth, who was born in Karnataka and is still a Kannadiga at heart. Let us better respect non-Kannadigas like Chiranjeevi and Mammooty, who have acted in Kannada movies like Sipayi and Shikari respectivly and despite not knowing Kannada they have dubbed in their own voice for these Kannada films. What do you say? Write you comments below.
Watch Aishwarya Rai's Kannada speech at VKS