Doddanna was introduced to the film industry with the film “Koodi Baalidare Swarga Sukha’ by Siddalingaiah. But today, Doddanna has more than 600 films to his credit. He is one of the rare actors who has worked with technicians and actors of two generations. But the ‘slap’ incidence has been etched in his mind! The incidence becomes more interesting when it is being narrated by Doddanna.


“It was 6 am, and we were in a lodge in Udupi, shooting for Shankar Nag’s film “Ondu Mutthina Kathe”. I was ready to go to shoot exactly at 6 am. The Production Manager Kumar knocked at my door, and I was standing there ready to get into the vehicle. But instead of being happy, Kumar was in an irritated mood.”


“What happened, I asked him. He with the same irritated tone replied, -You think your work is done by sitting ready for a shoot? Who will wake up Balanna?- For a minute, I was taken aback. Then the next minute, I was in Balanna’s room and tried to wake him up by calling out his name.”


Doddanna: Balanna… Balanna…
Balanna: No response
Doddanna: Balannaa… touches him lightly
Balanna: (Opens one eye and a slap)


“I was shocked and angry. I came out of Balakrishna’s room, veteran actor and popular as Balanna. I saw the Production Manager, Kumar, approaching me with a smile.”


Kumar: Did he slap you? You should have known, Balanna gets furious if anyone wakes him up from sleep.

“I was still looking at him with anger that he was delivering this dialogue”.

Kumar: I was under the same circumstance at least five times, but I have managed to escape from his slaps.


“Soon, my anger turned into disbelief and decided to stay away from Balanna. However, Balanna got ready, and we met in the set. Though he tried to talk to me, I managed to avoid him till evening.”


“After the shooting was over, we were again waiting for the vehicle to drop us back to the lodge and Balanna was not in a mood to give up. He came near me and asked –“Doddanna, which is your vehicle?”- But I was still angry and did not reply to him. Looking at me strangely, Dr Rajkumar, who was also on the set asked me, “Why are you angry on Balanna?”, then I explained him the incident which occurred in the morning.


“But instead of taking my side, Dr Rajkumar also told me not to get disheartened, and he said, in fact, it is a good sign. Those who have been slapped by Balanna have seen prosperity.”


“As a matter of fact, even Dr Rajkumar was slapped by Balanna during his theatre-acting days. I felt guilty about not responding to Balanna. Thus as soon as we reached the lodge, I went into Balanna’s room and requested him to forgive me for not talking on the set. All the veteran actor Balanna told was –“I have had many experiences (good and bad). Now, if anyone wakes me up from sleep, I just can’t control, instantly my hand rises, and I end up slapping people.”- Balanna too looked sad about what he had done!’


Photo credit: Pragathi Ashwath Narayana