Sudeep sir suggested that I take up Ambi Ning Vayassaytho: Gurudatha Ganiga
The debut director's venture produced by Sudeep also stars the actor along with veterans Ambareesh and Suhasini Mani Ratnam
Gurudatha Ganiga's directorial debut, Ambi Ning Vayassaytho, has turned out to be a starry affair with the likes of Ambareesh, Sudeep and Jack Manju associated with the project. Apart from this, he also got to direct senior actor Suhasini Mani Ratnam and Sruthi Hariharan, among others. But this is just the beginning to his journey to the cinema world. In conversation with Cinema Express, the director tells us how he landed this project, his bonding with actors, and where he will go from here.
Kundapur to Bengaluru for cinema
Gurudatha hails from a family that has been into Yakshagana for decades. Growing up, he had made up his mind to get into the same line. But when cinema caught his attention, he realised that it was his calling. "At 16, I decided to discontinue my studies and plunge into cinema. I came away from Kundapur to Bengaluru without knowing much about cinema," he says.
Ambi fell into my lap
Gurudatha landed in the film hub Gandhinagar without having a clue about cinema. His first stint was as a makeup boy, which is how he made a living. After seven years of working in the industry in varied fields, he met Sudeep, which is when he got a clear picture about the cinema world. His journey with Sudeep began as an assistant director in his films. "It was around that time that I started writing, worked in ads and short films. During a discussion about a TV show, Sudeep sir suggested that I take up Ambi Ning Vayassaytho. The film, which did the rounds with a few directors finally fell into my lap," he says.
As a new director, he got good support from all corners including Sudeep. "I also had Sudeep's cousin Sanchith Sanjeev, who worked day and night with me, producer Jack Manju, music director Arjun Janya, cinematographer Jebin Jacob, who helped me figure things out. After much work, I'm looking forward to the September 27 release," he adds.
'Ambareesh came to set with an open mind'
Despite being a veteran in the cinema industry, Ambareesh came to the sets of Ambi... with an open mind, looking for ideas and suggestions, Gurudatha tells us. "The assumption is that with a senior star on sets, the atmosphere is serious. But, it was a different case with this film. He made the sets so lively. He never came across as a superstar during our interactions. He would come down to our level. We would also take his advice on acting. Even though he was in the midst of his political career when we started shooting for this film, there was not a day he would skip shooting. He understands a director's mind not by looking at the monitor, but by looking at a technician's reaction. He would know whether another shot was required by just looking at our reactions," says the director, who also mentions that Suhasini is a perfectionist.
'Sudeep is not a typical producer'
Apart from production, Sudeep was part of the creative team. "Even if he was busy with his various projects, he always knew what was happening with Ambi.... He was like a pillar to us. Sudeep is not a typical producer. He understands the nuances of cinema, which helped with execution," Gurudatha says.
The road ahead...
Right in his first project, Gurudatha has had the opportunity to work with established stars. "This film will help me plan my next course of action. I want to be a good filmmaker, and I want to take Kannada industry to another level with good stories," he says.