Still think I’m 25, says Arjun Sarja
The filmmaker talks to CE about directing his daughter, making a love story and the importance of keeping up with the times
Arjun Sarja is one actor who doesn’t let age come in the way of his profession. The actor is a man of many talents, and has never set boundaries when it comes to anything to do with filmmaking. While he has a long list of achievements, there are some things that he hold close to his heart, one of them being his upcoming bilingual film titled Prema Baraha in Kannada and Sollividava in Tamil. He's directed this film is for his daughter, Aishwarya Arjun. With the film set for release this Friday, CE got on a call with the ‘Action King’, who tells us what led him to helm this romantic drama for his daughter.
‘As a director, I should be open to directing all genres’
The very first question we asked Arjun was how come the ‘Action King’ has directed a love story. He chuckles and says, “A director is different from an actor - an actor is usually recognised for his onscreen persona. When it comes to helming a project, I should be open to directing all genres. I want to tell audiences, that for my upcoming film, don’t go by my image as an actor, instead go by my direction.’ Audiences have always liked me as an action hero, and I will forever remain as one, but the director in me was looking forward to say ‘action and cut’ for a love story.”
‘Prema Baraha was a storyline I originally made for myself’
Prema Baraha, as a phrase and song, has been with him for a long long time now, but what pushed him to make a film with that as the title? “This is a storyline I originally made for myself, but thought that people wouldn’t like me in these kind of love stories, so I kept it aside. Now, I got to shape that into a story for my daughter. Having said that, this is a film that has all the ingredients needed for a good story, as it doesn’t just talk about love, it also has humour, family sentiments and patriotism in it,” he says.
‘On sets, I was director, Aishwarya was the actor’
Arjun placed three scripts in front of Aishwarya, and this was the one she picked. “I went ahead with the screenplay after her decision, and even made some major changes keeping in mind the way I wanted to present her,” he says. Coming to the sets as a director doesn't change because you're father about to direct his daughter, he says. “Initially, when I thought about directing a film for my daughter, I felt there would be embarrassing situations, but I was proved wrong when we started working. By only thinking about the quality, we forgot that we were father and daughter when we were working - I was the director and she was the actor.”
“I still think I’m 25’
At 53, how does it feel to be directing a film like Prema Baraha? “I felt it was easy for me to direct a youthful love story. I am young, and still think I’m 25”, says Arjun, who believes it is important to keep up with the times. “I always believe that if you need to sustain yourself, it’s best to stay updated, otherwise, you will just be a dependent. Youngsters have changed and have a different mindset - their approach towards love, hatred and patariotism is different from ours. So it is always good to have a ‘listening ear’. I can’t go by my past hits, as everyday things are changing. This attitude is necessary for everything to fall in place. One tends to give their best with experience and being constantly updated,” he says.
‘When you are passionate, the word ‘difficult’ doesn’t exist’
About making this film in two languages - Kannada and Tamil - Arjun says, “When you are passionate, the word ‘difficult’ doesn’t exist. Of course, it becomes very hectic, as apart from writing the film, I have done the screenplay, dialogues, directed and produced the film. It is not a bed of roses. But while looking to do something new and unusual, you tend to spend a lot of time and effort,” he says.
‘Will talk to Aishwarya about the film only after its release’
Arjun wants to wait for the film’s release before striking up a further conversation with his daughter. “Today, Aishwarya has got experience as a filmmaker because I got her involved in every stage of the process. I see a great difference from the day she started acting and now. Not only acting, she now knows how to face the camera, lighting, make-up, costumes, post-production work and even publicity through this film. I am waiting for her to watch the film with the audience, and then I will talk to her,” he says.