Why Karnataka can't stop talking about 'Huccha' Venkat

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 20, 2015 11:52 hrs

If you have no idea who 'Huccha' Venkat is - treasure your ignorance. But on the other hand, in case you are curious, here is a brief explanation of who he is and why some Kannadigas are pretty much obsessed with him. It has to be brief, since there really is not much to say.

Venkat, last name unknown, is a Mandya boy with a very rich father and someone who used to do small roles in Kannada films, usually as a crazy gang member. He had his 15 minutes of fame in February 14, 2014 when he published advertisements in leading English and Kannada daily newspapers that he would kidnap and forcibly marry the popular Kannada actress Ramya.

"Ramya, why don't you understand my feelings. I don't know whether you will accept my love towards you or not. Next week, I will abduct you and marry you in Banashankari temple. Let me see who has the courage to stop me."

Ramya had no idea he existed, and after the cops involved themselves, it turned out that this was actually a promotional gimmick for a film Venkat was releasing, called 'Huccha Venkat'.

The film eventually released in November 2014. It was funded by Venkat's dad and was directed by, written by and starred Venkat. The plot is irrelevant and remains unseen, since only around 30 people turned up for the big 'first day, first show' premiere.

But that moment of failure would prove to be 'Huccha' Venkat's big break. 'Huccha' means mentally disturbed or crazy, an apt nickname as it went. Saddened and angered by the total lack of 'response' from the public, Venkat proceeded to go an expletive-laden, emotional and angry rant before the lone journalist with a camera, someone from 'Samaya TV'.

He blamed Kannadigas for not appreciating good cinema, lamented that his father's money was not being respected, and generally cursed the world for refusing to see his brilliance. As he said - "I am being betrayed by all Kannadigas, even though I have fought for Kannada all my life. I made a good film and they should at least see it".

That rant went viral on YouTube and suddenly the crazy, twitching, eye-rolling, stuttering 'Huccha' Venkat on display in that clip had a small fan following among Kannadigas.

Over the following year, his fan following grew on the internet, thanks to memes and more viral clips, in which Venkat was more than happy to play up the 'Huccha' persona to the hilt, giving crazier and crazier statements, filed with swear words that have since become his trademark.

He even released a second film - 'Porki Huccha Venkat'.

All of this came to a head in 2015 when he was invited as one of the house guests in the Kannada version of 'Bigg Boss'. The TRPs went through the roof. It is not known what he was paid to be there, but whatever it was, the channel most definitely made a profit. For the next few weeks, a lot of Kannadigas were glued to their TV, basically watching a crazy man acting crazy.

Within his many insane rants, he has claimed his 'army' of men was paid for by President Obama, that the thumb on the two-rupee coin was his, that he wanted his 'double-meaning dialogues' to banned and how other stars were stopping him from succeeding. He also picked endless fights with everyone in the 'Bigg Boss' house, including a loud one where he demanded the women not wear 'short clothes'.

It was mildly amusing, if you were into that sort of spectacle.

The mainstream Kannada media, including news channels, added plenty of fuel to Venkat's bonfire by holding panel discussions, complete with experts, on his outbursts.  Topics on the agenda would include things like - "Is Huccha Venkat influencing children?" or "Should he actually be banned?" etc. The TRPs were high, the consumers clearly loved it and it was all going good.

Until last week that is, when two things happened. For one, Venkat, apparently losing control, physically attacked one of his fellow contestants - Ravi Murooru. That act caused him to be removed from the show, much to the dismay of his (now) legions of fans.

Secondly, in another apparent loss of control, Venkat attacked B.R Ambedkar, making nasty comments about the great scholar. Dalit groups were not amused. One such Dalit group, determined to make him pay, grabbed him on Kasturba Road in Bengaluru and blackened his face with ink - the traditional form of shaming in India.

Others were not amused as well, including students from the Bangalore University, who held huge protests against him, filed a complaint and had Venkat arrested.

And there the Venkat saga stops...for now. If one had to sum it up, basically 'Huccha' Venkat is a man who is famous for acting insane, with a loyal fan following who seem to want to see exactly how insane he can get. One hopes it all ends without someone getting seriously hurt.