Hemanth M Rao: Every filmmaker has to have their own voice

The director is coming out with his second outing, Kavaludaari, a murder mystery this Friday
Hemanth M Rao Kavaludaari
Hemanth M Rao Kavaludaari

It took 14 years for director Hemanth M Rao to direct his first feature film, Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu. Even though he made a mark with his first film, the director didn't rush into his second. Instead, he took nearly two years to work on Kavaludaari, which will hit theatres this Friday. “I wanted to make a well-thought out film, which is why I didn’t hurry."

Even though he had the script in hand, Hemanth wanted to be sure that the story was relevant. “As a director, I need to be up to date. There are scripts that I would have written a year ago, but when I look at them again, my perspective would have changed. I like to work on films that are timely,” he says.

So what exactly makes Kavaludaari relevant? “As a film, it has strong elements of suspense and mystery that the audience can watch out for. I don’t believe in being preachy. It’s not our (filmmakers’) job to provide solutions, but it’s important to present the facts and mirror what’s happening in society. Kavaludaari explores the lives of men and women in uniform,” says Hemanth, who feels that although respected for their work, the police are under severe pressure.

Police officers, he points out, are not given adequate compensation. “The salary they get is not sufficient in today’s day and age, when prices are going up every single day. Nor do they get proper facilities. Society too looks at police officers as ‘mamas’ and ‘kallas’ who take bribes. The problem is actually with the way we view them. The reason I chose the title Kavaludaari is because I felt a police officer’s life is always at a crossroads. They are faced with truth and lies, life and death, personal and professional life. This is the undercurrent story of my murder mystery,” he explains.

Hemanth is fiercely protective of his work. “I fight for my individuality and for my film, including the story, music, cast, and picturisation, which has to blend with the narration. Thankfully, I have received good support for both my films. Every filmmaker has to have their own voice,” says the director, adding that when filmmakers cater only to the likes and dislikes of audience, they are bound to be disappointed. “I believe in offering them a good story instead.”

He is a believer in taking up one subject at a time. Though he was ready with the synopsis of Kavaludaari before Godhi Banna..., he worked on it only after his first film was complete. “I work on every project as a beginner. This is a philosophy that helps me focus on one film at a time,” he says.

Though Hemanth didn’t exactly face a roadblock during the making of this film, he feels he had to face a lot of challenges, especially when it came to shooting at real locations and one-take shots. “Everything needed a lot of coordination. With a senior actor like Anant Nag on board, I wanted to make sure it didn’t get stressful for him,” he explains.

Ask him whether producer Puneeth Rajkumar and Anant Nag are his film’s USP, and pat comes the reply: “Of course, they are the USP. It’s a big deal that my film Kavaludaari will be the first one under PRK. Having said that, this film brings together a lot of people.”

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