Shivarajkumar is the Shah Rukh Khan of Kannada cinema: P Vasu

The director also had words of praise for Anant Nag and Rachita Ram, who are part of his upcoming musical thriller, Ayushman Bhava, headlined by Shivanna
Shivarajkumar is the Shah Rukh Khan of Kannada cinema: P Vasu

P Vasu has a special place in the hearts of Kannada film lovers. The 65-films-old filmmaker is looking forward to the release of his latest outing, Ayushman Bhava, which is scheduled to hit the screens on November 15. The film is the 52nd production venture of Dwarakish Pictures.

Vasu, who is joining hands with Shivarajkumar for the second time, after Shivalinga, compares the Century Star to Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan and Malayalam superstar Mohanlal. “Whether it be Shivalinga or Ayushman Bhava, I didn’t see Shivanna. I saw the characters in him. He doesn’t carry a certain pattern or style. He understands the role and delivers what a director wants. That is what has brought him so far.”

The director has words of praise for Anant Nag as well and adds that his presence elevated the film. “Apart from Shivanna and Anant Nag, I want to make a special mention of Rachita Ram. I am confident that Ayushman Bhava will remain a landmark film in her career. For this role, I looked at 10-15 heroines, but I wanted an actor who gets absorbed into the subject. I remember, when I narrated the script, she said ‘Oh my god’. She even called producer Yogi Dwarakish and said that she was scared. She is an actor who just follows the directions,” Vasu tells Cinema Express, adding that writing can give 60 per cent of the film but it is the artistes who make it a complete picture. “I must say, this film has the best cast.”

Vasu has already got his first feedback from veteran filmmaker Dwarakish under whose banner the film has been made. “Whenever I do a film, I see how a producer reacts. He is important to me. A comment from an experienced filmmaker like Dwarakish — who has produced more than 50 films, directed over 50 films and acted in about 500 movies — is valuable. After watching the first rushes, he said, ‘Boss, I see Balachander in you,’ which I consider as the best compliment coming from him,” the director reveals.

The Apthamitra director, aware that there is a lot of expectation from him whenever he does a Kannada film, says the Karnataka audience looks at the subject more than the artistes. “This is obvious, especially when you see how even small films are doing well in Kannada. There is a wave of new directors who are doing well in the industry now. They are looking to cater to the youth, which is a good move. So, an experienced director like me should also attract youngsters. While I'm making sure to take up contemporary subjects, I am also particular that my subject bears the elements of family, comedy, and emotions.”

Ayushman Bhava is a musical thriller that has commercial elements, which Vasu believes, is an important aspect in any film. “When I make a film, I make sure that there are scenes for fans, as well as something for the general audiences. I keep the first three days for fans. After Monday, we have to bring in families. If fans are happy, then the film will have a repeat audience,” says the director.

The film explores how music can do wonders and almost work as medicine. The film required him to spend extra time with music director Gurukiran. “After Apthamitra, Ayushman Bhava will be the second venture where I have concentrated on music. I told Gurukiran that he should see himself not just as a music director but also as a doctor. The film has been a different experience for him and me,” says Vasu, adding that the screenplay has been treated in a different way, which is something the audiences should be on the lookout for.

Vasu, who has mostly worked with established actors, reveals that his next project will have a new face. “I will be launching a newcomer from Karnataka. He will not only make his debut in Kannada, but in Hindi and Telugu as well. It is not going to be an ordinary film, and will be made with a high budget,” he says.

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