Bhubaneswar: Anubhav Mohanty, the ‘superstar’ of Ollywood created an aura of appeal with a persona, which made heads turn as he walked into a room of people and had his fans swoon at one glance of his. And here we are not talking about his acting skills.
The wedding of Anubhav and Varsha Priyadarshini in February 2014 was hailed as a match made in heaven. The couple was known for their chemistry on and off the screen. It added a few more stars to his credentials as the man ‘reliable’. We have this odd habit of mixing professional and personal lives of our celebrities.
Four months later, he became the youngest parliamentarian of Rajya Sabha. The year 2019 saw him snatching the prestigious seat of Kendrapada in general elections from a political stalwart, Baijayant Panda, thanks to the ‘do or die’ strategy of BJD and his soaring popularity.
A year hence, Anubhav Mohanty is now facing another battle where he is pitted against his wife and actor Varsha.
Varsha has charged him for domestic violence and physical and mental torture. In the petition, she has also expressed apprehensions of being thrown out of the house by Anubhav.
However, the BJD Kendrapada MP had filed for a divorce in a New Delhi court in July this year, claiming that they had been living separately since May 2019. He has further alleged that he was denied conjugal rights by his wife and the relationship was beyond repair. The media got to know about his divorce petition only after Varsha moved court.
I had last seen the couple in an event, where they excused themselves for a ‘family calling’ and it had the crowd go ‘Awww!’. This despite rumours that all was not well between the couple even then. Maybe, everyone wished the stars to fix their problems and stand tall as the Ollywood couple to look up to.
Now, the ‘Oops’ that these two petitions have generated with the stars, washing their dirty linen in public, can have serious ramifications for both of them.
The marital discord could reignite speculation and discussions on his personal life, especially those pertaining to his alleged ‘Something Something’ with a certain female actor even though he has in the past dismissed such talk as baseless. He could get the image of a ‘Balunga Toka’ as the case has already fuelled gossip about his perceived proximity to a New Delhi-based media personality.
His stardom might possibly lose some sheen as fans prefer reel heroes to remain heroes in real life as well. A shade of villainy could well upset his applecart of being Ollywood’s highest-paid actor and cast aspersions on his superstar status. While his 2019 high-budget release ‘Biju Babu’ did not do quite well and the current year hitting the entertainment industry quite hard because of the ongoing pandemic, the controversy and the legal battle could mean fewer films and lesser endorsement deals for ‘Premi No. 1’.
The domestic violence allegation can also cause a dent in Anubhav’s fledgling political career. With age and appeal on his side, the abhineta-turned-neta was gearing up for the long haul. But the case could well prove to be a big roadblock to his political journey, turning the ‘Mahanayak’ into ‘Khalnayak’.
A similar accusation had put brakes on the political career of former minister and then senior BJD leader Raghunath Mohanty. His daughter-in-law Barsha Swony had slapped a dowry torture case against him and his family members in 2013, leading to his arrest and subsequent removal as BJD vice president. The five-time MLA from Basta got back the post of BJD vice president in 2017, a year after the court cleared his name in case, but had somehow lost the Midas touch. He lost the 2019 elections even after quitting BJD and joining the BJP.
While Varsha was taking up less acting assignments after her wedding, it is to be seen if the industry will be open to accepting the ‘Khanti Odiani’ back on the big screen in a lead role.
Of late she has been facing tough competition from other established actress and upcoming stars. The film industry, it is no secret, is always divided and the ‘Queen’s move to give ‘Takkar’ to the numero uno star is sure to rub some others the wrong way as well.
At the same time, her decision to move court and allege her star husband of perpetrating domestic violence could lead to her being hailed as a strong woman who stood up against injustice. Someone akin to her recent reel role of ‘Nimki’, who fought adversity to reach her destination. But with her ‘Subha Vivaha’ on the rocks, she will face the onerous task of proving ‘Prema Sabutu Balaban’.
In the run-up to the 2019 elections, Varsha’s name was being speculated as a possible candidate. With Anubhav winning the Kendrapada parliamentary seat and proving his popularity, Varsha might as well get offers to take the political plunge. If not for her star value, but perhaps to embarrass the ruling party!