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Mining scam accused Janardhana Reddy returns with a song on his lips

Published On : 20 Oct 2016   |  Reported By : Courtesy : DHNS   |  Pic On: Photo credit : DHNS

Bengaluru, DHNS: A politician named in one of India’s biggest mining scams resurfaced on Wednesday, handing out an ostentatious video invitation to his daughter’s wedding.

Janardhana Reddy, who spent more than three years in jail over the multi-crore illegal mining scam, stars in the lavish video with his family.

The invitation flatters invitees, referring to them as Gods, and beckons them to Palace Grounds where Janardhana Reddy’s daughter Brahmani weds Rajeev Reddy, a businessman based in Hyderabad, on November 16.

A minister in the erstwhile Yeddyurappa cabinet, Janardhana Reddy had maintained a low profile since his release on bail last year. On Wednesday, he visited media offices and the homes of fellow-politicians, escorted by a host of armed guards dressed like commandos.

The invitation is packaged in a decorative box. An LCD monitor attached to the printed card starts playing the moment the box is opened. The display plays the video in HD quality.

Janardhana Reddy and his wife Lakshmi Aruna, dressed in traditional attire, appear on screen. Folding their hands like characters out of a cheesy family drama, they say, “Athithi devo bhava” (The guest is God).

The bride and the groom then make their entry, again like characters in a film. The garish sets are clearly inspired by Telugu blockbusters. (Janardhana Reddy is known to be a fan of the Telugu star Chiranjeevi.)

The couple-to-be swirl around, while the Reddys from Ballari join them with their son. The last shot features a happy group. The dance was choreographed by a team led by actor Saikumar, a source told DH.

The song — with its flowers, wild stallions and such other clichés — was shot in Hyderabad over two weeks.

The invitation comes with dry fruits, and the cards are printed separately in English and Kannada. Each card cost the hosts about Rs 12,000, according to a source. Another source said the mining baron had spent at least Rs 5 crore on the invitations alone.

Brahmani, 21, is doing an undergraduate course in commerce in London. Her fiancé Rajeev is an MBA from London and runs a business in Hyderabad, according to Janardhana Reddy.

The celebrations at Palace Grounds begin on November 15, a day ahead of the wedding. Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif are among the artistes expected to perform. Shashidar Adapa, production designer, will put up glittering sets at the venue, DH has learnt.

Janardhana Reddy says he has the Supreme Court’s permission to visit Ballari for three weeks from November 1. After his arrest in September 2011, he was barred from visiting the city in northern Karnataka.

It was then the hub of the mining business in Karnataka. Janardhana Reddy was indicted in a multi-crore scam with wide political ramifications. “I am sure I will be acquitted in all cases. I will be back in business soon,” he said.

This is the first time that the 49-year-old leader is making appearance in public after his release from jail last year. The former minister was jailed for 40 months following his indictment by the Lokayukta and the CBI.

Hair today

The characters in the invitation video lip sync to a song with the refrain, ‘Banni, banni’ (Come, come). The song goes on to describe the auspiciousness of the ceremony, and gets coy bride Brahmani to utter her fiance's name.

The spectacle lasts two minutes. Predictably, the video invite went viral, triggering much sarcasm on social media. A troll juxtaposed an earlier picture of a balding Janardhana Reddy with one from the video, where he has a head full of hair, attributing the transformation to a hair oil.

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