The Kannada film ‘Kantara’ has been at the centre of controversy. Several complaints were filed against actor and activist Chetan in Karnataka over his statements on a cultural practice depicted in the film, called ‘Bhoota Kola’.


What is ‘Bhoota Kola’?

  • Bhoota Kola is an annual ritual performance where local spirits or deities are worshipped.
  • It is believed that a person performing the ritual has temporarily become a god himself. This performer is both feared and respected in the community and is believed to give answers to people’s problems, on behalf of the god.
  • There are several ‘Bhootas’ who are worshipped in the Tulu-speaking belt of Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and Udupi districts. It is usually performed in small local communities and rural areas.


What is the controversy all about?

  • During an interview, Rishab Shetty said that the practice of Bhoota Kola was part of Hindu culture. “It is part of Hindu culture and rituals. I am a Hindu and I believe in my religion and customs which nobody can question. What we have said is through the element that is present in Hindu dharma.”
  • Actor-turned-activist Chetan Kumar, however, said Bhoota Kola was not part of Hindu tradition but of indigenous people who are Adivasis, and it had been “hijacked” by Aryans who came to India in the later years.