Life seems good for filmmaker Nanda Kishore. His last outing, Victory, a comedy, saw him laugh all the way to the bank. Now, he has taken up the challenge of recreating the magic of the hit Tamil comedy film Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam. “I want to present it in my style of entertainment,” he says sounding very sure of his craft, almost brash. But there’s a reason why you let the man have his moment in the sun. Nanda wasn’t always this confident and the journey he has made to reach this point is nothing short of a film story in itself. Going from being suicidal to being successful in the film industry, 31-year-old Nanda takes a look at the painful past that he has bravely fought off. Losing father Son of a popular Sandalwood 1980 and 1990’s villain, Sudhir, it was expected that Nanda’s own innings in the industry would be smooth. “The moment I lost my father, I went into severe depression for two years. I wouldn’t even step out of the house. It was my mother who alone managed to run the family during difficult times. Later, she got me involved with her drama troupe Karnataka Kalavaibhava Sangha. I worked there for eight years. I would sweep the stage floor, often play an extra in a production and travel to interiors of Karnataka with theatre,” says Nanda. Worsening depression This stint kindled a passion for acting on the silver screen in Nanda and he decided to debut in Kannada films. It was the time when comedians the likes of Bullet Prakash too entered the industry. “At that point, I was very fat. Directors would pick me only after they had run through their entire list of probable actors. I was the last name they turned to. Somehow, I managed to be part of 35 films. Even then, I was not happy with myself because I already felt like a failure. I sunk into depression again and that led to even more weight gain,” he says. Nanda ballooned to 204 kgs. It became a major hindrance for him getting further roles. “People started hesitating to offer even comical roles to me. To be frank, the pressure was mounting at home and I didn’t know what I was doing with my life. It was Sudeep who pulled me out of my condition. He said, ‘Why are you bent on acting, why don’t you turn towards the technical side of films. That’s when I started with the film Uyyale as an assistant director and went onto work on many more,” says Nanda. Down and nearly out What could have been the start to happy days for the budding director, unfortunately was not meant to be. He says, “As I gained experience in directing, I decided to go independent with a film I had titled Harahara Mahadev. I even had the opportunity to find a producer based in Germany who transferred some money for the movie. To my bad luck, he died in the Mangalore air crash (May 2010.) We were waiting at the airport in Bangalore to receive him but instead we received the terrible news of the accident. I thought then that all doors had shut for me. I planned to commit suicide. I was prepared to hang myself on the ceiling fan. In fact, I was just wondering if the fan would be able to bear my weight! Just then my younger brother Tarun Sudhir came into the room and asked why I was just lying about in bed. He forced me to accompany him to the cricket ground. Here I met Sudeep again. He enquired where I had been so long and what I was doing.” Struck by a glimmer of hope, Nanda abandoned all thoughts of taking his life and realised,it was work that would keep him going. “I told Sudeep, I want some work. He asked me to assist him in his own film Kempegowda. It was a second birth for me. Today, I count two people as having brought me back to life - my brother and Sudeep. Without them, I would not have reached where I am,” he says. Nanda went on to lose 84 kgs. Hope regained Otherwise a loner, Nanda now finds himself surrounded by friends from within the film industry who he says push him to do better in life. “Film technicians are my friends. Be it Mungaru Male Kittappa, Sridhar, Sharan and a few others, it is these who held my hand as I made my way back into the industry,” he adds. Nanda’s zest for life has let him set goals for himself. “I will definitely do a Hindi film by next year and in the next five years, I will do a film like Life of Pi, and I am sure to make headlines someday,” he says. He credits brother Tarun and actor Sharan for giving him Victory to direct. The film is among the successful films of the year. Busy with remaking Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam, Nanda says a remake takes just as much work as an original. “It is a challenge for me. Work is like my mom. I have written scripts on revolutionary and offbeat themes, but right now I am trying to entertain people as much as I can,” says Nanda. The cast for the remake is the same as Victory’s, save the heroine. “She (Ashmita Sood) might do a cameo, if she has the time. This being a story based in a village, I am looking for someone who can carry off that body language. I have shortlisted three heroines - I prefer a girl who can speak Kannada. I should be finalising the female lead in a day or two. I have to also zero in on the title before I start shooting from November 14 onwards,” says Nanda, every bit a busy man, with no time to despair any more.
“My father and I used to watch at least two movies everyday and I continue to do that, even today. I have a collection of 6,000 DVDs of English, Hindi, Korean, Russian fi lms. Name the language, I have it. I watch every kind of a fi lm. If it is interesting, I watch it six to seven times,” says director Nanda Kishore.