Ban for actress Nikhita Thukral over Darshan 'affair'

Nikhita Thukral and Darshan (Photo: K Venkatesh) Nikhita Thukral denies any romantic links with Darshan (Photo: K Venkatesh)

Indian actress Nikhita Thukral has been banned from appearing in Kannada language films for three years over an alleged affair with another actor.

The Kannada Film Producers' Association imposed the ban on Ms Thukral saying she had spoiled the "domestic harmony of a fellow actor".

She denies having an affair with the actor, known as Darshan, a popular action hero in southern India.

Ms Thukral, from the state of Punjab, said the ban is "ridiculous".

She says that nobody ever consulted her to get her version of events.

The move comes after Darshan was arrested on charges of domestic violence three days ago, following a complaint from his wife, Vijaylakshmi.

She alleged that he had beaten her and threatened her with a gun but she later withdrew the complaint, a police official told the BBC. The argument was reportedly over the alleged affair with Ms Thukral.

After his arrest, hundreds of Darshan's fans held protests in Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka state, forcing police to use canes to disperse stone-throwing groups.

The Kannada Film Producers' Association says that Ms Thukral has created trouble in Darshan's domestic life.

"If Nikhita [Thukral] apologises for her behaviour and says she will just work in films and not get involved in domestic affairs of fellow actors, we will withdraw the ban," association president Munirathnam told the BBC.

He said it was the first time such a ban had been imposed on an actress adding that "it is a lesson for others".

Ms Thukral, who has acted in several Telugu, Tamil and Kannada language films, has consistently denied any romantic links with Darshan.

"There's nothing between us beyond a professional relationship. If Darshan has a problem with his wife, how am I responsible," she asked?

The association said the actress was free to challenge the ban in a court.

Correspondents say that within the film industry, there is opposition to the ban with some members calling it "unprofessional".

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