Bangalore, July 30: Madhura Nagendra had rushed in London to steal the spotlight; her father has fled his home in Bangalore to avoid it.
Leather exporter K.L. Nagendra's house at the Banashankari Second Stage neighbourhood was locked today, a day after it faced a media onslaught over Madhura's 10-second walk to fame and controversy at Friday's Olympic opening ceremony.
A sheepish Nagendra had admitted yesterday that the mystery woman in red seen walking beside the Indian contingent at the march past, stealing the limelight and angering the team management, was his daughter.
A day later, though, a mystified Bangalore is still asking: "Just who is this Madhura?"
Nagendra had said that his daughter, who is doing a master's in business and finance in London, was part of the ceremony's cast of dancers. But since the event featured no Indian dance, many reckon the 27-year-old was perhaps a member of some amateur group or the other signed up for one of the smaller sideshows.
With Nagendra now incommunicado, and unresponsive to repeated calls to his mobile, the matter could not be cleared up today.
Madhura may be a dancer but hers is an unknown name in Bangalore's professional Bharatanatyam circles.
"I had never heard of this person till yesterday, when she was all over TV," Bharatanatyam dancer and film actor Shridhar said today.
"I was surprised to learn she was a dancer from Bangalore. I'm sure she is not at the level of regular performers. If she was, we would know her."
Shridhar suggested that Madhura may be part of a large group of dancers. "Events like these usually see a lot of young and upcoming talents getting a chance."
He feels Madhura was wrong to break Olympic protocol and gate-crash the event. "She may have got a little too enthusiastic after meeting the Olympians," Shridhar reasoned.
At Bangalore's Christ University, where Madhura did a master's in mass communication in 2007-09, she seems not to have been a standout student and was known mainly for her dance shows at college festivals.
"I only remember her vaguely... she was one among a class of 40," said Naresh Rao, one of her teachers.
"I don't remember her for academic excellence. But she was a keen dancer who wanted to start a dance school."
Yashoda Ramdas, a neighbour of the Nagendras', said Madhura's mother Jahnavi, who is now in London, had spoken about her daughter having been selected for a dance show at the Olympics.
"Her mother told me Madhura was practising hard for the London show." Ramdas described Madhura as "an active girl" from her student days.
Local channel Udaya TV confirmed that Madhura had anchored its weekly diary on Kannada cinema as a freelancer from February 2009 till March 2010.
She then did a brief stint as a technical communicator with the city-based Keane Technologies before leaving for London.
The Games organisers today apologised to the Indian contingent for the lapse that allowed Madhura to steal the limelight from the team on Friday, PTI reported.
"We have received a letter from the London Games organisers apologising over the incident," said a source in the Indian contingent, which had shot off a letter of protest to the organisers.
Madhura had walked by the side of flag-bearer Sushil Kumar and waved to the crowd as if she were a team member, and the 10 seconds' TV time the team received was almost entirely focused on her.