Television

Entertainment networks off air as Bangalore mourns Rajkumar's death

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BANGALORE / MUMBAI: India's I-T hub of Bangalore shut down today as increasingly violent mourners gathered from around the state for Karnataka cinema's legendary icon Rajkumar's funeral.

As a mark of respect (and also fearing possible attacks) cable networks in the city switched off all their entertainment channels. Only news channels were beaming ahead of Rajkumar's cremation this evening, which will be conducted with full state honours.

"The Kannada Sanga has requested us to switch off all entertainment channels in Bangalore today, as a mark of respect to Dr Rajkumar," said the head of an MSO, while speaking to indiantelevision.com.

Only the news channels are being telecast. Local Kannada channels Udaya and ETV are running on the cable networks as they have taken serials off air and are only showing programmes related to Dr Rajkumar. The entire Star, Zee and Sony-Discovery's One Alliance channels are off.

"Cable operators in Bangalore decided to switch off all entertainment channels from midnight. We expect to put the channels on from tomorrow once Rajkumar's body is cremated," said Hathway Cable & Datacom head of digital in Bangalore Mathur Nath.

Cable operators were also contacted by the Kannada activists yesterday. Popular Tamil channels including Sun TV and Jaya TV were pulled off air.

The entertainment channel blackout seems restricted to Bangalore alone, since enquiries from Mysore reveal that entertainment channels are on there, as has also been confirmed by a Bangalore MSO who has a network in Mysore too, though shops and businesses have remained closed there too.

As per reports, policemen have been a target of the public ire and TV news channels showed scenes of unruly mobs chasing and beating up policemen.

Rajkumar, known to fans as "Aannavru" or elder brother, died yesterday aged 77, following a cardiac arrest. The thespian, winner of the Dadasaheb Phalke and Padma Bhushan awards along with a host of other citations, has encouraged the use of Kannada language in the state. His 45-year career in cinema included more than 200 Kannada-language films.

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