‘Puneeth Rajkumar is a guiding force for Gandhada Gudi’

Wildlife photographer and director Amoghavarsha speaks to CE about his dream project
‘Puneeth Rajkumar is a guiding force for Gandhada Gudi’

Gandhada Gudi was a dream project, which was envisioned by Puneeth Rajkumar with wildlife photographer and filmmaker, Amoghavarsha JS. The makers officially launched the film’s title on December 6 to mark Parvathamma Rajkumar’s birth anniversary. “Appu’s dream- an incredible journey, a celebration of our land and it’s legend ‘Gandhada Gudi’(sic),” tweeted Puneeth’s elder brother, and actor, Shivarajkumar, who launched the title teaser. KGF star Yash, who unveiled the title on his social media platforms said, “I remember the twinkle in your eyes every time you spoke about this project. The passion, the enthusiasm you had towards this film showed how close it was to your heart. Thank you Appu sir for showing our Gandhadagudi through your eyes. It’s truly a paradise.”(sic).

Gandhada Gudi is bankrolled by Ashwini Puneeth Rajkumar’s PRK Productions banner in association with Mudskipper. Incidentally, a 1973 Dr Rajkumar film on the same name was the first Indian film on forest conservation ever. After five decades, a film bearing the same title is hoping to bring back the legacy of a film that inspired generations to care for forests and safeguard them.

Amoghavarsha had mixed emotions when he spoke to CE on the sidelines of the title teaser release event. “This was Puneeth’s dream, and all the time, it has been a question to me whether I am doing justice to it. If he was alive, what he would have said to this. This is just a title teaser, and we have a long way to go,” the director told us and added that it will be a full-length film that will take the viewers on an experience like never before.

Amoghavarsha mentions that the rich visual imagery and storytelling of the film is the first of its kind, and the audience will get a chance to see Puneeth Rajkumar just as himself. “I still have one of the last messages sent by him, where he had requested me to remove ‘Power Star’ tag because he wanted to be just himself in this film,” he reveals. The director explains that Puneeth was a multifaceted personality, who never shied of experimentation, and Gandhada Gudi is just one such example. “It is a new genre of a film, probably the first in the country with a wonderful cinematographic experience,” says Amogha, adding, “People can’t forget that legendary film, Gandhada Gudi, and the legend that his father (Dr Rajkumar) was, and of course the filmmakers’. The film is still an inspiration to all of us. A lot of my mentors have joined the forest department after watching that film. And, when Puneeth and I met to finalise the name, we felt that Gandhada Gudi was the right title to pay a tribute to that film,” says Amoghavarsha.

The director took comfort with the fact that Puneeth had watched the film, and was excited to bring it to the theatres. “Now we don’t want to delay it further to bring this film on the silver screen,” says Amogha, adding, “I feel Puneeth is somewhere present with us. Every time I have a question or a problem, it is solved either through a phone call or some ideas, and I call it his guiding force. This is a film that is not limited to one state and needs to go out to the world.”

With music by Ajaneesh Loknath and Pratheek Shetty as cinematographer, the film, now in post-production, will be released in 2022.

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