DNA | Last Modified - Sep 10, 2011, 06:30 AM IST
Bangalore: Tugudeepa Darshan's story in Sandalwood so far is the stuff fairytales are made of. His father, Tugudeepa Srinivas, was one of the top villains of Kannada filmdom. The reel-life badman, who had enormous goodwill in the filmdom but could not rake in moolah like many of his colleagues, was firm that both his sons keep away from the tinsel town.
Darshan, the elder son, was, however, keen on a career in films though not as an actor. A below-average student, Darshan tried his hand in dairy business, with the money his mother, Meena, raised for him. After his father's death, Darshan made it clear to his mother that he wanted to make it big in the world of cinema.
He went to the Neenasam theatre school in Heggodu, Shimoga district, before taking up odd jobs like that of a lightboy, cameraman and stuntman. Later, director S Narayan offered Darshan a villain's role in Mahabharata and sparked off in him a desire to make it big in front of the camera.
After several offers which turned out to be non-starters, Darshan finally bagged the lead role in Majestic in 2001. The small-budget film turned out to be a perfect launch for Darshan as it turned out to be a big hit. His second film, Dhruva, too clicked at the box office. Soon producers were standing in queue to sign him. Though the next three films bombed at the box office, Darshan got the chance of his life with Kariya, which not only sealed his status as a top star but also launched the career of director Prem. Kariya, which ran for 75 days in its first release, had a phenomenal 100-day run in its second release. There was no stopping Darshan as film after film of his became hits: Kalasipalya, Datta and Gaja. Most of his 38 movies till date have returned the producers their investments.
In between his struggle to make it big in cinema, Darshan fell in love with a relative of his, Vijayalakshmi, a chemical engineering in the making. Darshan's Majestic deal clicked when he was going steady with Vijayalakshmi. Later, the duo got married in Dharmasthala.
After making it big, Darshan also entered film production and helped his brother, Dinakar, become a successful director.
Darshan has been among the top stars of the Sandalwood for over a decade now. His success has been unique not only because he has had no godfather, but also because his popularity has remained steady. His fan following among youngsters has been legendary. But Darshan's meteoric rise also demanded that the boy-next-door had to have his head on his shoulders. That's where Darshan, perhaps, failed and ended up as undertrial no 9000 in Central Jail, Parappana Agrahara.