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'There is always a place for honest cinema’- Cinema express

'There is always a place for honest cinema’

...says filmmaker and wildlife photographer Amoghavarsha, who shares his experience of being
in the company of Puneeth Rajkumar while making Gandhada Gudi

Published: 26th October 2022

The release of Gandhada Gudi, Puneeth Rajkumar’s last film, is just around the corner. Puneeth and director Amoghavarsha JS, a filmmaker-cum-wildlife photographer, are set to explore Karnataka’s rich flora and fauna in this docu-drama that will hit the theatres on October 28.

Ahead of the release, we caught up with Amoghavarsha, who began the conversation by talking about how the project was brought together. “My natural history documentary Wild Karnataka triggered our first interaction. He had seen a lot of my works, and I felt the project was just a natural extension of that interest,” says the filmmaker.

Calling Puneeth a simple person with a lot of curiosity about the simple things in life, Amoghavarsha says, “A star is usually surrounded by people and is present on big sets. But Gandhada Gudi it was an altogether new experience for him. We were in a kind of remote place where we would not see a lot of people. Navigating life without the support of a mobile phone and the internet was pretty new to him.”

Sharing his experience of being in the company of Puneeth, Amoghavarsha says, “As a wildlife photographer and filmmaker, I’ve been doing this job for 2 decades, and this is the first time I’ve travelled with a celebrated person like Puneeth. However, I never felt he was a star because he never behaved like one. Anybody and everybody shared a comfort level with him.”

With Puneeth’s involvement, Gandhada Gudi got bigger in scale. Did that ever put added pressure on the filmmaker? “Puneeth and I always wanted to make a film that we would love watching and be happy about it. We haven’t made this film for commercial purposes, and neither did Puneeth put the pressure of any kind of commercial success on this. In fact, I remember him telling someone that he would be happy even if 10 to 11 people watched the film. However, it is heartening to see the hype surrounding Gandhada Gudi. It only instills the belief that people will see and appreciate content that is a result of pure passion. There is a place for honest cinema and pure intention,” says Amoghavarsha.

Buzz is also that Ashwini Puneeth Rajkumar has given a voice-over to Gandhada Gudi. “Ashwini’s part is a surprise, which will be revealed on the release date. Having said that, she has been part of the journey from the very beginning. I met her and Appu together, and she has come to the shoot too. After all that she has gone through, she still held her fort, and is also the reason we were able to release the film as per plans. She and the Rajkumar family stood for this film,” he says.

Gandhada Gudi is set to release a day ahead of Puneeth’s first death anniversary, and emotional Amoghavarsha says, “I will always remember Puneeth as a smiling person. Whenever he was around us, he ensured we were happy. There is definitely going to be grief. But he wouldn’t have wanted us to be sad. People who have watched the rushes of Gandhada Gudi are happy to see him smile. For me, the success of this film would mean that we all remember the actor with joy, and we hope to imbibe some of his qualities in our lives.”

Backed by Ashwini Puneeth Rajkumar’s PRK PRoduction, Gandhada Gudi has music by Ajaneesh Loknath and cinematography by Pratheek Shetty.

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