Ramesh Indira: I won't abandon directing

He discusses his journey from being a professional cook to transitioning through 14 professions before entering films as well as the circumstances and reasons that made him pursue acting
Ramesh Indira: I won't abandon directing

Ramesh Indira initially caught the attention of the Kannada audience as the director of Premier Padmini (2019), which marked his simple yet remarkable entry into the industry. However, he took us by surprise when he appeared as an antagonist in Hemanth M Rao’s Sapta Sagaradaache Ello, showcasing a unique flair that was all his own. He effortlessly transitioned into acting and is all set to garner attention for his grey-shaded role in director Param’s debut Kotee, where he will be seen in a face-off with Daali Dhananjaya’s character. But what is truly fascinating about Ramesh Indira is his diverse professional background, boasting over 14 professions before entering the silver screen.

“I started off as a professional cook, catering at weddings for over a decade, then ventured into roles like a compounder, bouncer, and even a paperboy and milkman,” he reveals. “All of this happened before I made my way into the world of television and eventually, cinema,” explains the actor, ahead of the film’s release on June 14.

His journey wasn’t a deliberate pursuit of various careers; rather, it unfolded naturally over time. “If one door closed, another opened, guiding me forward,” he reflects. Working as an associate production manager and assistant director under the guidance of director TN Seetharam not only provided him with opportunities to hone his craft but also led him to writing and co-directing. Subsequently, joining forces with Shruti Naidu marked the beginning of their collaborative efforts in producing serials. “Life has granted me a vast array of experiences, exposing me to a myriad of people and their stories, which in turn, has connected me with countless souls,” he shares. “I firmly believe that sincerity and confidence are invaluable assets, regardless of the profession one pursues. It’s only when we persist that we truly measure our victories.”

Having faced the camera for over six films, did Ramesh ever envision himself as an actor? “Even now, I have a penchant for writing and directing. But certain circumstances and reasons made me step in front of the camera. My role in Hemanth M Rao’s Sapta Sagaradaache Ello came about unexpectedly when he spotted me at an award function. He remembered a small part I played in my directorial venture, Premier Padmini, and believed I could embody the character he had in mind for his film. On the other hand, Param and I go way back; in 2009, we collaborated on the small screen, although we lost touch when he switched channels. Despite the lack of regular communication, he remembered a serial I acted in back in 2010, and that’s how he approached me for Kotee and the character came about,” he explains while adding, “In fact, I was told the director insisted that I play the role, which was good to know.”

Describing his character Dinakar Sampaje, aka Deenu Saavakar, in Kotee, Ramesh explains, “While my role as the antagonist in Sapta Sagaradaache Ello was woven into the storyline, bridging Rakshit Shetty and Rukmini Vasanth, Kotee takes it a step further. Here, the character is integral to the plot but also carries commercial appeal. Director Param has magnified the villain’s role to be on par with the hero. Additionally, I have an individual antagonist storyline that runs parallel to the main narrative,” he says.

According to Ramesh, in today’s cinema, villains command as much attention and influence as the heroes. “Gone are the days when the hero solely carried the weight of the entire film. We all know that even in the toughest scenarios, audiences anticipate the hero’s triumph. The strength of the antagonist only serves to enhance the hero’s journey. In today’s cinema, villains engage in psychological warfare alongside physical confrontations. It’s the narrative and creativity that blend with the story,” says Ramesh, mentioning that he was a newcomer to the Kotee sets for everyone. “I had more scenes with Dhananjaya, and we pulled it off smoothly.”

With acting assignments taking precedence, does his directing career take a backseat? “After Premier Padmini, I had plans for a sequel, but unfortunately, Covid happened. Then, I had to focus on specific serials, and there was also a hotel business, managed by Shruti Naidu, for me to overlook. However, alongside the Premier Padmini sequel, I was also involved in another project starring Pramod, and we shot for five days. I aim to complete the shooting of that film this year.”

Ramesh Indira’s slate of upcoming films also includes Karavalli, starring Prajwal Devaraj and directed by Gurudatha Ganiga, and two finalised Tamil projects. However, he signs off by saying, “I won’t abandon direction. I’m determined to finish the pending commitment, continue to helm more projects and stay true to my directorial passion.”

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