Celebration of watching films in theatres will never fade: Puneeth Rajkumar
Puneeth Rajkumar's PRK Productions is coming up with LAW this week, followed by French Biriyani on July 24
In the next two weeks, two Kannada films will be released directly on Amazon Prime Video. Incidentally, both these films — LAW, starring Ragini Prajwal and directed by Raghu Samarth, and French Biriyani, directed by Pannaga Bharana and featuring Danish Sait in the lead — are backed by Puneeth Rajkumar’s PRK Productions.
With these two films, Puneeth’s wife, Ashwini, turns producer. Although these films were made for a theatrical release, the ongoing pandemic has resulted in Law and French Biriyani taking the digital route.
How does Puneeth, who comes from the legendary Rajkumar family that has produced not just important actors but producers too, and has always celebrated cinema in theatres, see the ongoing wave of digital releases? “Digital platforms have strengthened their presence over the past three to four years. Also, from our industry, I am not the first who is taking this route. Having said that, I am sure that despite various new avenues coming up, the celebration of watching films in theatres will never go away. However, at this point of time, we had something to offer, and there was this platform like Amazon Prime Video, which was ready to facilitate a direct-to-OTT release of both Law and French Biriyani,” says Puneeth, who is also glad that the entire country will get to watch both these films.
Puneeth opines that OTT platforms are a good option for filmmakers who want to experiment with their content. “I am looking forward to getting feedback about Law and French Biriyani,” says the Powerstar, who is thankful to Amazon for taking up these Kannada films “We will have more projects coming up for all.”
According to Puneeth, there is nothing specific about the kind of films that will work in OTT or theatre. “We all believe in good cinema. Since we are into films, it is our job to update ourselves on what’s happening on the technology front. It is just that streaming platforms give an option for people to select and watch,” says the actor and producer, who compares going to theatres to dining out, something which can’t be done every day. “But you still want to dine out once in a while. With time, cinema viewing experience might change, but theatres have their charm, and it’s here to stay and celebrate. On OTT, we can watch movies or series anytime, anywhere, and at our convenience in the comfort of our homes.”
Ashwini, who makes her debut as the producer with Law, is also in charge of listening to the stories that come in the way of PRK productions. “I am glad Ragini is getting introduced through this film. Her husband Prajwal Devaraj is a good friend of mine and his father, Devaraj, has earned a good name in the industry. We are happy to introduce one more actor from that family,” says Puneeth.
“French Biriyani came through Danish, whom we are all extremely fond of,” continues Puneeth. “He came up with this concept with Pannaga Bharana, who is also known to us. We have worked with his father, TS Nagabharana. It was a pleasure to have the two of them coming together along with Sal Yusuf, Pitoh Ghosh from Mumbai, and Disha Madan. We are more than happy to see Rangayana Raghu being part of French Biriyani.”
Puneeth wants to ensure that PRK Productions is synonymous with good content. “It is teamwork, with just two to three of us coming together and picking the script. Once that’s done, I have very little involvement in terms of star cast. I leave it to the director to use their creativity and bring to the screen their vision. If people appreciate the films coming from our banner, we are happy to produce more,” sign off Puneeth.
Films made under PRK Productions will be content-oriented: Ashwini Puneeth Rajkumar
Ashwini Puneeth Rajkumar has now come to the forefront of PRK Productions. Spearheading the banner for the first time, Ashwini is looking forward to the release of her debut production ventures, Law and French Biriyani. Although this is the first time Ashwini is turning producer, cinema isn’t exactly new to her.
Having watched the works of Dr Rajkumar, she has also had the opportunity to see how her mother-in-law Parvathamma Rajkumar has handled production. Ashwini has learned the art from Puneeth Rajkumar himself, who has handled the responsibilities of being both an actor and a producer. “It is challenging. When we decided to start the production house, I was wondering whether I could handle it, but Puneeth gave me that confidence. He has handled the production house Sri Vajreshwari before we began PRK, and he has been the guiding force and is helping out at every step. A couple of family members are guiding me too,” she says.
Do women make better producers? “Of course, yes. I can never compare myself to my mother-in-law, but I have seen her handling the work during the early days of my marriage. She was in a different league altogether. It is a lot of responsibility, and I want to improve with each project,” she says.
However, Ashwini is very clear about the kind of films she wants PRK Productions to back. “It has to be only about content,” says Ashwini, adding, “Though Puneeth is a commercial hero, I like offbeat films.’’
About why she wants to back content-based cinema, she says, “I am a voracious reader, and it is only after I turned producer that I have started watching a lot of films and am slowly getting a hang of it. So, I have made it very clear that, if it is under PRK, it has to be content-oriented.”