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Vishnuvardhan memorial project hits a roadblock

Muralidhara Khajane

Land ownership dispute crops up at Abhiman Studio


Late Balakrishna set up Abhiman Studio where the memorial is planned

A land dispute has arisen among members of Balakrishna's family




Legal hassle:The samadhi of actor Vishnuvardhan at Abhiman Studio in Bangalore where the Government plans to build the memorial.

Bangalore: The Vishnuvardhan memorial project has hit a roadblock because of a land dispute at Abhiman Studio at Uttarahalli in Bangalore. The State Government had planned to construct a memorial for the actor who had carved a niche for himself in the 77-year-old Kannada film industry. He had acted in 220 films of which 200 were in Kannada and the rest in other languages.

For the purpose of overseeing the construction of the memorial, Vishnuvardhan Memorial Trust was formed with the Chief Minister as its chairman, and managing director of Kanteerava Studio N.R. Vishukumar, as member secretary, besides representatives of Vishnuvardhan's family as its members.

After paying tributes to Vishnuvardhan on his first death anniversary at his “samadhi” at Abhiman Studio, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa had said that there would be no further delay in the construction of the memorial.

However, even after one-and-a-half years after the death of the thespian, there has been no progress in the work on the memorial as Abhiman Studio is embroiled in a dispute over land ownership. In fact, the studio is privately owned and was established by the actor late Balakrishna, who was popularly called Balanna.

Mr. Vishukumar told The Hindu that a dispute has arisen among members of Balakrishna's family over the ownership of the land. Though the Government offered to pay compensation of Rs. 1 crore for an acre of land, work on the memorial cannot start till Balakrishna's family members resolve the issue.

On its part, the Government released Rs. 5 crore of the Rs. 10 crore that it had promised the trust for the construction of the memorial. “Who should the Government pay compensation to take possession of the land when there is dispute over its ownership?” Mr. Vishukumar asked. The Government has asked Balakrishna's family members to settle the matter amicably and come forward to claim compensation for the land. “Once the ownership issue is settled, work on the project will commence as the design is in place,” Mr. Vishukumar said.

Bharati Vishnuvardhan, wife of the actor, regretted that work on the memorial has been delayed. She said, “Except for a ‘mantapa' that I built over the ‘samadhi', no other work has been done for the memorial. The Government is cooperating and making attempts to clear legal hurdles. I hope the dispute over ownership will be settled soon and work commences.”

The design

The trust plans to build the memorial as well as a park, fountain and meditation centre on two acres of land in Abhiman Studio. The memorial has been designed in the shape of “Sri Chakra”, which is formed by nine interlocking triangles. The design was chosen as Vishnuvardhan, who was spiritually inclined, is said to have had a special liking for the “Sri Chakra”, which is believed to be a symbol of positive energy.

Chief architect of the Government finalised the design in consultation with Bharati Vishnuvardhan.

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