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Did you know: Navagraha’s Jaggu was not the role meant for Darshan initially

Considered a cult classic today, the heist thriller Navagraha had Darshan in a role with grey shades that was a far cry from his more heroic outings

Did you know: Navagraha’s Jaggu was not the role meant for Darshan initially
Darshan as Jaggu in Navagraha

Last Updated: 06.01 PM, Nov 11, 2023

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A few days ago, Kannada film aficionados and fans of Challenging Star Darshan celebrated 15 years of one of his best films to date, Navagraha. Directed by his brother Dinakar Thoogudeepa, Navagraha was a heist thriller about the theft of the Ambari from the Mysore Palace, a 750 kg gold religious symbol that is taken on procession during the Dasara celebrations. The film’s casting was one of its highlights as the main team of nine people involved in the theft included 7 guys and 2 girls, with the former being second-generation actors and, more importantly, the sons of erstwhile villains in Kannada cinema, including Tharun Sudhir, Vinod Prabhakar, Dharma Keerthiraj, Srujan Lokesh, among others.

Darshan in a still from the film
Darshan in a still from the film

In the film, Darshan played Jaggu, a master thief, who plans the theft of the Ambari, which was quite the departure from his usual heroic roles. Also, given that it was a team operation, the narrative gave equal importance to each cast member, all of which did not sit well with Darshan fans at the time. Interestingly, though, according to Dinakar this was not the role that he had in mind for his brother at the time. Speaking to a Kannada digital news channel, the filmmaker said that Jaggu was a role he wanted Vinod Prabhakar to do, while Darshan was to be ACP Bhagath, the cop investigating the heist, which was eventually played by Sourav.

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Darshan, though, was not convinced, having played a cameo in Dinakar’s earlier Jothe Jotheyalli, which was also a home production. He insisted on playing Jaggu instead, but Dinakar had mentioned the role to Vinod at the time, although the latter was not aware of the extent and nature of the character. Eventually, once the cast and crew were all in place, Dinakar gave them all a narration, which is when Vinod realized that the character of Jaggu had grey shades, which he was not comfortable to do. He voiced his apprehension to the team, which is all that Darshan needed. He jumped in and said that he would do it

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