Shivarajkumar: Fight like a ram, with both head and muscle
The star says he is curious about audience's reaction to Tagaru, with its different form of storytelling
Shivarajkumar, who is often referred to as the Hatrick Hero and Century Star, has completed 32 years in the Kannada industry. The 55-year-old actor says that this is a mere number, like his age. His love for the filmmaking business stays evergreen.
“There is no age limit when it comes to entertaining,” he tells CE. “That said, I am conscious of the responsibility my seniority places on me. People ask me where I get the energy from, and I say the audience pumps me up. I can’t do this by myself.”
He has worked on more than a 100 films but he says that, as the release of Tagaru nears, he is nervous. The fan craze is building up and he knows it.
It is Suri’s directorial and Charan Raj has further raised the tempo with his music, and they get the credit, says Shivarajkumar.
The star is waiting to see how the audience react to this different style of narration. “Tagaru will be an example of how the simplest of stories can be told differently. I know that it is not your usual film and I am curious how moviegoers will respond to it. I want everybody to watch this movie, which offers a different perspective,” he says.
The title of the film itself created a ripple. In his usual style, Shivanna gives us a one-liner, “Buddhi shakthi (strength of intelligence)… Tagaru (a Ram) fights with its head and strength. An individual too should fight using both their intelligence and physical power. The film includes every element of an entertainer, such as love and crime, and the limits you must set on them.”
The mass hero, who has always wielded machetes in style, will be carrying guns in this one, which has him playing a cop. “Most of the big heroes have wielded guns including my father (Dr Rajkumar), Vishnuvardhan, Amitabh Bachchan or Rajinikanth. In Hollywood, I liked the gun-totting style of Lee Van Cleef and Gregory Peck. For me, it was an experience,” says Shivarajkumar.
He credits director Suri for guiding him in balancing his personal style with what the character requires. “Wearing khaki, even though it is only for the big screen, places a big responsibility on the actor. When a system fails or when problems arise, we are demoralised. But how long do we stick to ‘Beware’, “Be careful’ or ‘Stay safe’. Each person has a responsibility, and they should think of that before committing a mistake. Today, people are so used to wrongdoing and they know that they can get out of punishment easily. Filmmaking is not just about entertaining, it should also follow a sense of logic,” he says.
This film has Shivarajkumar’s fan and a friend, KP Sreekanth, as producer. “I am lucky to have a friend, a fan and a brother like him. I have known him from the day he started working with RS Productions. He took a personal interest in this film, and was involved in its nitty-gritty. His intent is never to simply bring in more people, make the film and make money. For his effort and for the team, I want this to be a massive success. I like the way people talk about Sreekanth and how humbly he behaves, without having an airs that he is investing in the film,” says Shivanna.
The star says the future is always unpredictable, even for an actor. He gives the example of Akshay Kumar and says, “He started as an action hero and now he has transformed himself to be one of the finest actors. Look at his films Toilet: Ek Prem Katha or Padman. I've personally had the opportunity to work in all kinds of genres. I did a film like Jogi and even tried ones like Ammarava Ganda and Anna Thangi, and have been part of films based on novels. Long hidiyo kayali, thangi hidkondu hogbeku (An actor who will have to carry a role of a gangster must be also be able to convey family sentiments). Only then you can become a complete hero,” he says.