Bengaluru, Oct 20: Kannada film actor Darshan Thoogudeepa hit the headlines during Diwali thanks to an award presented to him in the United Kingdom.
Many television channels and daily news papers in Karnataka reported that the Sandalwood star was officially honoured by the British parliament. Some Kannada TV news channels went on to claim that he was the fourth Indian and first South Indian to be honoured by the British parliament.
An invitation sent by the Indian born British Labour Party MP Veerendra Sharma to Darshan inviting him to the British parliament also went viral on social media. “It’s a great honour and privilege to host you at the House of Commons, on October 19. We’ve decided to felicitate you, for the hard efforts you’ve put in through your movies to promote Karnataka's art and culture,” the MP wrote.
Darshan, who was busy shooting for his upcoming film 'Kurukshetra' in Hyderabad, flew to London on Wednesday and received an award inside the British Parliament. However, it was not an official award by the British government or parliament.
The event was in fact organised by the Karnataka Business Chamber, a London based NRI group which is striving to promote the art and culture relationships between United Kingdom and Karnataka. It had asked the MP to write to Darshan and invite him.
Shocked by media reports, Virendra Sharma issued press release stating that he had invited the actor in his "personal capacity" to receive an honour in London. “I would like to make it clear that the invitation was issued by me, in a personal capacity,” he clarified.
In a mail to coastaldigest.com, the British MP also said: “Many members of the local community and Kannada diaspora requested that I invite Mr Darshan Thoogadeepa to Parliament.”
Meanwhile, a London based Kannadiga, told coastldigest.com that Darshan was invited for a private event and not a public event sponsored by the British government or parliament. The official awards given by the British government are MBE, OBE, Knighthood and Victoria Cross.
According to him, Public Relations (PR) agencies might have deliberately misled the media in Karnataka. “This was not only paid news but also made news,” he opined.
Unlike Indian parliament, the British parliament’s banquet halls can be hired for a private event for a fee and the host can award his/her guest with an award to please them, he said.
British award for actor Darshan: How PR agencies in Karnataka fooled media