BANGALORE: R aghuraj, who calls himself a multi-genre director, wears many hats. He is a writer, a photojournalist, wildlife photographer, stamp collector and a film director. This eight movies old director, is basically from Hyderabad. He is now settled in Bangalore and has presented his works in three languages - Kannada, Tamil and Telugu.
His next outing in Kannada is Namaste Madam starring Srinagar Kitty, Ragini Dwivedi and Nikesha Patel. The film also sees Nikita Thukral in a guest appearance.
R Raghuraj felt that a film like Namaste Madam was the need of the hour. "Of late, Sandalwood's approach of film making has been inclined towards mass elements movies or films that have double meaning dialogues or just a romantic flick. We see very few family entertainers. Namaste Madam will be a film that will mostly draw family audiences," says Raghuraj, who is back with a new project after one-and-a-half-years.
"My film Sidilamari with Ayesha is yet to be released. I always complete films before the scheduled time, but the release does not depend on me. I am now ready with Namaste Madam and plan to release it soon," he says.
Namaste Madam is a remake of Telugu flick Missamma. "Producer Ravi Garani who bought the rights is a close friend of mine and he asked me to direct the film in Kannada. I have tried to bring in a lot of changes with the narration. I can say, if the original was conservative, mine will be contemporary," he says.
Interestingly the director's inspiration towards his screen play comes from Tom and Jerry. "You can see fights, sentiments, laughter in these cartoons that is enjoyed by everybody. Namaste Madam has one Jerry and too many Toms. The two main Jerrys are Ragini and Nikesha, who dominate Tom, that is Srinagar Kitty. Another Jerry is Nikita Thukral," he says.
Talking about Kitty, Raghuraj says, "Kitty comes with a mix of all the characters. He can be a good father, a disciplined secretary to his boss, good at his clerical job and also makes a good husband to his wife. All these faces was necessary from one person and Kitty did full justification to the role."
As for his opinion about the three heroines, the director says Ragini is an outstanding actress who usually doesn't trouble anybody. However, he rates Nikesha as a good performer.
"Though Nikitha has played a cameo, she brings out the character well," he says.
Raghuraj finds something special about Sandalwood, which he feels doesn't exist in any other industry.
"What I like about Sandalwood, is that we can do low budget wonders in Kannada industry, which can't be done in Telugu and Tamil. It will cost `15 crore to make a film with a superstar here, where as in Tamil it costs the producer `70 crore to do a film with a star and the sum reaches almost `80 crore in Telugu. Few films like Mungaru Male and Duniya are the best examples. These films needed less investments but their returns were in crores. A good film will be accepted by the audience here," he says.
Nikesha not promoting Namaste..?
The film recently faced a problem with Nikesha going public that she would not promote the film Namaste Madam as she was not called for the press conference. Raghuraj clears the air about the issue and says, "Nikesha, while shooting for the film came up to me and said that she had signed a Telugu film which needs 45 days of her schedule and she will be going abroad for the shoot. In fact, I pre-poned the shoot for her and completed the film on time. Since, I was aware that she will not be available, I did not call her for the press conference. But it was a surprise when Nikesha called me on the day of the press meet and questioned as to why she was not invited and later the issue was blown out of proportion. Calling an artiste to the press meet is the production house's job and not the directors. Thankfully, we could sort out our differences soon. She is a good friend of mine and I wondered why she felt I was ignoring her," he says.