Bengaluru: Mandya sees a battle between the stars, Sumalatha Ambareesh and Nikhil Gowda for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The Election Commission has banned the screening of movies starring these two candidates till April 18 - the day that Mandya goes to polls.

The order was issued by the deputy commissioner and returning officer of the Mandya Parliamentary segment N Manjushree.

However, the ban is not applicable when films are being screened in movie theatres and private TV channels.

Sumalatha Ambareesh is well known for her movies in the south. She has starred in numerous films in Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam.

Nikhil, however is a newbie to Sandalwood and has two films to his credit - Jaguar and Seetharama Kalyana.

Movie stars such as Puneet Rajkumar and Yash have offered their support to Sumalatha, who is contesting as an independent candidate against the JD(S). 

She is now being openly supported by Congress party workers, despite the fact that the Congress and the JD(S) have formed a pre-poll alliance. 

JD(S) sources have said that the move has left Nikhil’s family miffed. 

Nikhil, who is a rookie, both in politics and in the film industry, is banking on his grandfather HD Deve Gowda’s goodwill.

This was doubly evident when hundreds of fans of her late husband Ambareesh carried out a bike rally on Wednesday when she filed her nomination. 

Sumalatha’s supporters were carrying placards of Ambareesh and shouting slogans in her support ahead of the public meeting she was slated to address in Mandya. 

Sumalatha was also subject to sexist remarks made by Deve Gowda’s son HD Revanna. He questioned Sumalatha's foray into politics just months after her husband's demise.

JD(S) MLA Narayana Gowda has warned film stars not to meddle in politics. He has threatened them with dire consequences if they don't stay neutral during elections.

Interestingly, HD Kumaraswamy was also in the film industry as a producer, before setting foot into politics.