Who is Darshan? Kannada star arrested for killing fan; called 'demigod' by fans, was earlier jailed for domestic abuse

Kannada star Darshan, called Challenging Star by his fans, was recently arrested for the murder of his own fan

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Who is Darshan? Kannada star arrested for killing fan; called 'demigod' by fans, was earlier jailed for domestic abuse

The Kannada film industry has been rocked by the arrest of actor Darshan and his girlfriend Pavithra Gowda in a murder case. The actor, referred to by fans as Challenging Star, has been a popular face in Sandalwood for two decades now. The murder case involved the killing of a fan of Darshan, and as per police, the 33-year-old was killed brutally on the instructions of Darshan by other fans.

Who is Darshan, the Challenging Star of Kannada cinema

Born Darshan Thoogudeepa in 1977, the actor is the son of actor Thoogudeepa Srinivas. After finishing college in the mid-90s, Darshan began his career as a projectionist before working as assistant cameraman. His acting debut came in 1997 with a daily soap, which was followed by a supporting role in the Kannada film Mahabharat. After playing several minor roles, Darshan’s breakthrough came in 2001 with the superhit Majestic. Over the next decade, he appeared in several hits such as Kariya, Swamy, and Anatharu. The 2008 release Gaja helped him establish an image of the rustic-yet-posh hero. In the 2010s, his films had mixed returns at the box office before he made a roaring comeback with Yajamana and Kurukshetra in 2019.

Darshan, the demigod and Challenging Star in Sandalwood

Darshan was dubbed Challenging Star by fans early on in his career. Over the years, he has come to develop one of the most loyal fan bases in Kannada cinema. His co-star Sanjjanaa Galrani told NDTV, “People don't just watch his films, people are out here worshipping him, he is as big as that.” Calling him a demigod figure in the Kannada industry’, Sanjjanaa called his arrest in the murder case ‘a doomsday’ for the industry.

How Darshan is controversy’s favourite child

This has not been the first controversy for Darshan through the course of his career. In 2003, he married his relative Vijayalakshmi but the two did not have a happy marriage. In 2011, his wife filed a complaint alleging domestic abuse. Darshan was arrested and spent two weeks in judicial custody. The case was later settled out of court. In 2021, Darshan was accused of physically assaulting a waiter at a hotel in Mysuru. It later emerged that police had compensated the waiter with Rs 50,000 and deleted the CCTV footage of the alleged incident. The following year, Bharat, a Kannada film producer lodged a police complaint against Darshan in 2022 for threatening him with dire consequences.

In 2023, Darshan faced two more controversies, first when Forest Department seized four Bar-headed geese that he had illegally kept on his farmhouse. Then, he was accused of setting up his dogs to attack his neighbour over a parking dispute. Earlier this year, after he posted a 10-year anniversary picture with ‘friend’ Pavithra Gowda, he was accused of cheating on his wife. Pavithra and Darshan are said to have been living together since 2014 even as he is still married to Vijayalakshmi.

The murder case in which Darshan has been arrested

On June 8, Renuka Swamy, a 33-year-old was picked up from his home in Bengaluru by unknown men. His body was found the following day in a drain. After initial investigations, Bengaluru Police concluded that Renuka Swamy drew the wrath of Darshan for making lewd comments against Pavithra Gowda on her social media posts. "Darshan engaged the Chitradurga unit of Darshan Fan Club Convenor Raghavendra alias Raghu, who obtained all information about Renukaswamy." Renukaswamy's wife Sahana said Raghavendra picked up her husband on Friday night from near their house. The victim was abducted and taken to a shed in Kamakshipalya area in Bengaluru, the sources said.

"Darshan beat up Renuka Swamy with a belt. After he fell unconscious, his accomplices thrashed him with sticks. Further, they threw him against a wall, which proved fatal," they said adding there were multiple bone fractures all over his body. After he died, his body was dumped in a stormwater drain. A food delivery boy who noticed dogs eating a human body alerted the police. Darshan, Pavithra Gowda, and 11 others were arrested in connection with Renukaswamy's murder on Tuesday. The 47-year-old actor has been remanded to six days' police custody by a court.

With agencies inputs

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