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Monday, August 6, 2007

Exclusive Interview: Bharatiraja

Balachander. Bharatiraja. Balu Mahendra. The three B's of Tamil films have not only changed the course of Tamil Cinema but also influenced South Indian cinema in general and Telugu films in particular. They have also made a mark with thier Telugu films. Of them, Bharatiraja is still making films at regular intervals. He comes up with his new film, Kalidasu, starring Nana Patekar and Arjun. Shot in Hindi, the film also releases in Telugu and Tamil.

Ever since I was exposed to good cinema in my teens, I have been a great fan of Bharatiraja's movies. So when I got the chance to interview him on Wednesday (August 01, 2007), I didn't want lose the opportunity. But he was not inclined to give the interviews before the release of the film. Along with two other journalists from leading dailies, we tried hard to persuade him. He finally gave in. Here is a brief chitchat with him..

A Bharatiraja film is synonymous with rural dramas. What made you to shift your territory?

I agree that most of my films had set in rural milieu right from 16 Vayadhinilae (remade into Telugu as 16 Ella Vayasu by K Raghavendra Rao) to Seetakoka Chiluka to Aradhana. One also should remember that I also made very contemporary and urban films like Erra Gulabilu, Khaidi Veta and Tik Tik Tik. But this film, Kalidasu, is completely different to any of my past films. It is a film that treads a different path.

Kalidas deals with movie world. There is rumor that it is based on your life. Is it true?

No. It deals with a film director's life but it is not my story.

What made you to make this film in Hindi?

I have created a character that best suits Nana Patekar. So I have decided to make it in Hindi and later shoot simultaneously in Telugu and Tamil.

Can we expect a straight Telugu film from you again?

Sure. Infact, I am planning a straight Telugu film very soon. More details I will tell later.

What changes have you observed in the current Telugu Cinema from your days?

Earlier, Telugu films were very loud and the colors were bright. People used to criticize Telugu movies for not being subtle. But I genuinely feel now that there is not much difference to Telugu films and Tamil films at present thanks to the new breed of directors in Tollywood. The young blood changed everything and they are making very quality films.

Which is the Telugu film that you liked recently?

I saw Nuvvostanante Nenoddantanata and loved it very much. I sometimes catch the films on TV but don't recall names.

Who are the current directors in South India you like?

I can't segregate one person. Some are good at handling emotions, some are best at action films and some are at comedy. I like the current directors both in Telugu and Tamil.

Dasari Narayana Rao, K Vishwanath, Vamsi and Ram Gopal Varma had made films based on filmworld. How is Kalidasu different from them?

I don't think my film has any resemblances to their films. Speaking about Vamsi, I have fond memories of him. He is an intelligent 'boy' (sic). I remember when he made his film Sitara, I saw it in Madras and fell in love with it. He has great aesthetic visual sense. I called him immediately after watching Sitara and told him you are gem of a director.

Like Vamsi, you had fruitful association with Ilayaraja. When can we expect your combination again?

My next film is to have the musical score by him. Without Ilayaraja's scores, my films are nothing. We are great friends.

How was it working with Himesh Reshammiyya for this Kalidas?

He is talented music director. He knows the pulse of the today's generation. He has given extremely good songs. Ilayaraja’s style is different and his is different.

Do you think that in the globalization world, people would see a film based on rural themes?

Times have changed. Globalisation has made huge impact. Gone are the pattu pavada and in place came Jeans and Chudidhars. Shampoos are also being used rural folk. True that globalization has changed the world how we perceive but there are still many villages they are rooted in our tradition and culture. Even now the emotions are same. That is why films like NVNV (Telugu), Paruthiveeran, Thavamai Thavamirindhu (Tamil) became successful.

Today cost of production has increased enormously. Who would you blame for this - directors or producers?

I made 16 Vayadhinilae with Rs 5 Lakhs budget. But you can’t expect it now. I can't blame anyone in particular. Due to technical advancements, I believe, the cost of production is escalating. Unlike in our time, there is stiff competition now. Everything put together adds the expenditure.

You had also acted in Manirathnam's Yuva. Will you continue doing roles if offered?

(laughs). Mani is a good friend to him. When he asked could not say not him. But I am not that interested in acting.

What is your dream project?

I want to do a period film. It is titled Kutra Paramparai. The film is about the tribal notified as thieves by British in South India. It happened. It is a real story.

On retrospect, do you regret anything for not making a certain film?

Mmm.. I wish I had made a film that is known internationally. I missed that chance. Now I want to concentrate on that.




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