A ‘Darshan’ of the wife beating star

A case that has much disturbed me, and not because we are working towards a Violence Against Women Awareness Month for October 2011, is that of the Kannada actor Darshan who allegedly assaulted his wife so terribly that she had to be hospitalised. Repeatedly. And what absolutely had me open mouthed in shock was that the other woman in this unhappy triangle, an actress called Nikita has been slapped with a three year ban by the Kannada Film Producers’ Association because of the number of films under production with Darshan starring in them. The logic of this kangaroo court decision being one assumes that the other woman stays out of the man’s life and lets peace and harmony reign in the Darshan household.
The fact remains though, that Darshan seems to be a repeat offender. In both cheating as well as domestic violence. But. Because he is the star and he is the man, this must be overlooked. The other woman is the evil one who has led the poor man astray and therefore needs to be punished.

I cannot wrap my head around this.

Somehow, it always becomes the woman’s fault. It is the wife’s fault that she is not tolerant and forgiving of his strayings so as to infuriate him and make him get violent with her. It is the other woman’s fault that she led him on and got into an affair with him, because of course, she is the one who should keep away from the married man. Who is so weak willed that he can be easily tempted to stray.

A man who raises his hand on a woman is no man. In fact, he is worse than an animal because he uses his strength to subjugate, dominate and intimidate rather than to protect.

A man who beats a woman, his wife, his girlfriend, or any woman emboldened by the knowledge that she is weaker than him physically is no strong man. He is the weakest of the weak, the lowest of the low.

This Darshan might take his action hero label very seriously, like Mel Gibson did when he bashed in his lover’s teeth with a punch to her face. But in my head, such men are no heroes. And will never ever be.

I see it all around me. From the maid who comes into work with her teeth knocked out and black bruises on her body and face, to the society lady who hides her black eye behind dark glasses and laughs off a crepe bandage to her hand with a “I fell down a couple of stairs”. Or the school gate mom who comes in to pick up her child, and never speaks with anyone, but bears some mark of violence every day, a bruise, a blackened eye, a split lip. I look at her and I know. But I dare not go upto her and ask.

I wonder what it would take for women to stay on in such abusive relationships, what is worth so much more than their self esteem, why don’t they walk out of the relationship, of the marriage. Each one has their own compunctions, financial dependence, a dysfunctional love, a history of growing up with dysfunctionality which warps thought processes into believing this is a form of love, women who actually wear their husbands’ controlling, jealous possessiveness like a badge of pride rather than taking the man to a marriage counsellor, who am I to say what they should do until, as I put up on FB, I walk in their shoes.

But this was wrong. Banning the ‘other woman’ for the actions of the man is just plain and simple wrong. And no matter how they justify it, the Kannada Film Producers’ Association had no business imposing that ban. If any, the decent thing to be done was to talk to the man and tell him wife beating was not done. Extramarital relationships is none of their business.



About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boyโ€™s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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26 Responses to A ‘Darshan’ of the wife beating star

  1. NamitaB says:

    Every right thinking person should boycott this Darshan’s movies and I’d be interested in following up on police investigations. This man must go to jail and remain there, as exemplary punishment if need be. That would be a start. The tragedy of domestic violence is that we all, the neighbours, larger social group, know what is going on but don’t intervene because it is seen as a personal ‘family matter’.


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Absolutely agree Namita, so many cases where the women are told to stay quiet, tolerate, to ‘adjust’ by the family. And where the neighbours and society wont intervene because it is considered a family matter, and kaun jhanjhat mein padega. In that context, the Bell Bajao campaign was brilliant. I hope this man is made an example to all domestic violence perpetrators, that the audience boycotts his movies, but another part of me wonders if this would be wishful thinking.


      • Archana says:

        I agree with boycotting the actor’s movies… But will the mass do it??? actors with criminal records like sanjay dutt and Salman Khan are top heros in our country ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

        Valid point.


  2. Nilim Dutta says:

    There are many ills which may not be rooted out by stringent laws alone. I shall not even get into that. I just have two observations to make on the obnoxious and retrogressive decision of the Kannada Film Producers Association:
    1. That they did not ban Darshan who is culpable of a non-bailable criminal offense speaks volumes about their misogynist mindset (imagine what message the films they produce must be carrying).
    2. The ban on the actress, the other woman is seriously overstepping their authority. The ban should not only be challenged legally but even the very premise as to who gave them that right?


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Yes Nilim, they didn;t ban Darshan because there are films underproduction which could affected. And they did ban the actress which was ridiculous because it wasn’t a ban for unprofessionalism, but for something they have no jurisdiction interfering with. I would be interested in seeing how the Kannada film goers react to this.


  3. Ruchira says:

    I simply canโ€™t get over the fact that they banned Nikita instead of banning darshan.
    On why women give in to domestic violence again and again โ€“ I think financial dependence is the main cause. What women need to do is become self reliant โ€“ a good education and an ability to earn for herself is a MUST for every woman โ€“ irrespective of the background she comes from โ€“ rich/poor, middle class/upper class.


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Ruchira, while financial independence is one of the factors, I have seen women who were perfectly capable of supporting themselves being victims of domestic violence.


  4. neha says:

    Same opinion here . I was so shocked with the decision. I live in Bangalore and the news continiously appear on TV as well as newspaper and it was full of reports of Darshan’s fans creating brawl against the police complaint made against him.Later , his wife also withdrew the case, the worst was director association banning Nikitha for her “supposdly” affair with Darshan. How can this association not put a ban against Darshan for being a wife beater? Hoe can his fans even dare to watch him as a “hero” on screen ?


    • Kiran Manral says:

      I pity the fans. I pity them because they represent a mindset that sees wife beating and infidelity as something completely acceptable. And I’m so so sorry for the wife. Wish she gets out of such a terrible loveless marriage.


  5. Swati says:

    saw ‘arth’ recently.. it addressed the same issue.. the sad part is the movie is almost 30 yrs old.. and still nothing has changed…


  6. Kiran, the wife is at fault not only in that she is not tolerant enough, it is also that she is not good enough, so the poor man has to look outside his marriage for female comfort.


  7. Vanshika Amarnani says:

    Men like Darshan were always thr n will continue to be there because society at large just ignores it because he is a man. The only way to punish him is when his wife files a case against him n her family should be supportive. When he looses d case n looses everything his name fame money that’s when justice is served. What say ???

    Absolutely, but will that come true?


  8. Aathira says:

    Darshan, his wife and Nikita is at their own business, why would the film association enforce a ban on any of them.

    On the wife- beater, he should be taken to court! A public humiliation is what might work.

    Thankfully, he’s still in jail.


  9. Sri says:

    The unbelievable part is that the wife withdrew the case after people from the industry “convinced” her and she said that she sustained the injuries from a fall!!!!!!!!

    Total WTF moment that was.


  10. chitranavada says:

    kiran ..i agree to u fully…. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Man doesnt have controll on their hormones…it was nikitha that she had to stay away….and to some extent its duty of darshan’s wife also to keep her hubby intact … wat ever he neednt show he was strong and threaten his wife..its inhuman.
    cheers !!!

    Errm. Men are animals and have no control on their hormones. It is nikitha who had to stay away. And darshan’s wife’s duty to keep her husband ‘intact’. I’m so sorry, but I really can’t agree with that.


  11. Clueless says:

    Whatever gives Kannada Film Producers Association the right to play moral police? Let me correct that – play moral police only when it comes to actresses? Disgusting.

    Even more disgusting – fans demanding release of the actor after knowing very well that he beat up his wife in front of his 1 year old son. This makes me lose all hope as an Indian woman. What kind of priorities do my fellow countrymen have?

    Totally. What kind of a mindset these fans have.


  12. Nish says:

    This would never have happened if Darshan’s wife was herself not from a very privileged background. The film industry would have been least bothered if Vijayalakshmi was a nobody, but on her own she is filthy rich, and has enormous support of top Kannada people.

    She wanted Nikitha out, and so she was out.

    Errm? Ergo she was beaten up?


  13. Mayborngemini says:

    OMG that’s horrendous, did not know about that..You know hat he is banned for life as far as I am concerned.I will not watch anything he is or will be in as long as I live.
    I feel bad for the other woman too , 3 years could mark the end of her career..

    The ban has been lifted on her, but he’s not banned.


  14. Formerly Anon says:

    Off topic, though this may

    “for better or for worse” …. “in sickness and in health” …. “till death do us apart”

    Pat Robertson finds a work around for marriage vows



  15. dipali says:

    The double standards and hypocrisy prevalent in our country remain appalling:(



  16. vidya says:

    His movies should be boycotted by the public
    What a creep and I have no words for this Kannada films association. Maybe people should boycott all Kannada movies for sometime

    Thankfully he’s still in jail.


  17. That we are a deeply chauvinistic society is inarguable: our majority religion, Hinduism, ordains women casteless – they are below the shudras even; Draupadi was staked in a gamble by her dharmadhikari hubbies; and Sita’s travails were not enough to escape being put through Agnipariksha … What we need is no less than a revolution, a revolution in the way we educate our children, in the role models we hold up to our daughters, in the way we women conduct ourselves, in the way we relate to the male gender, be it our father, brother or husband.

    And yes, let’s ban this Darshan bloke and let his producers mope into their mundus!

    He’s not been banned yet, but still in jail. Thankfully.


  18. i consider it really shameful if a man beats a woman. Darshan is no man, he is an animal. he satisfies his carnal desires and lust and then beats his mate to justify his superiority. he should be put in a spaceship and dropped in space to die.

    Penalising Nikita is the weirdest decision. taken by the film fraternity. Are they out of their minds? They should have decided not to permit Darshan to star in any film and he should have been banned for life.

    Thankfully, his bail request has been denied.


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