The crew of Telugu movie Duvvada Jagannadham (DJ), with Allu Arjun in the lead, left tourists visiting Belur and the priests of the historic Channakeshava temple there livid on Friday. The crew, shooting on the temple premises, not only obstructed movement of tourists, but also violated the traditions of the 12th century Hoysala structure protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), they alleged.
Following this incident, the ASI, which had given permission for shooting for seven days, has now cancelled it and asked the crew to vacate the place immediately. “They have violated the norms by putting external structures on the temple premises and decorating the monument,” said Arun Raj, Superintending Archaeologist of Bengaluru Circle. The company — Sri Venkateswara Film Corporation — will not get permission to shoot in future in any ASI monument, he added.
Tourists, including foreigners, had a heated argument with the film crew on Friday as they were stopped from visiting the temple premises. The priests alleged that the film crew put up “props” disturbing the tradition of the historical structure, besides affecting the sentiments of the devotees.
As part of the film set, the crew put up a platform and installed an idol of Lord Shiva.
Several ‘homa kundas’ (fire altars) were also put up. Barricades were erected to stop visitors going in.
S. Krishna Swamy Bhattar, chief priest of the temple, told The Hindu, “As per the tradition followed in the temple, no outside structure should be brought into the premises. They brought idols and ‘homa kundas’ for their shooting.”
The priest was quick to add that they had no objection, specifically, to a Shiva idol being brought into a Vaishnavite temple, but their grouse was for violating the norms in general.
“Bringing an idol from outside of even the Vaishnavite faith is not permissible since it is against the custom and tradition of this temple,” he said. He also recalled many films, including Malaya Marutha, were shot on the temple premises earlier, but without putting up any new props.