Sandalwood will never forget Shankar Nag for his contribution to Kannada cinema. His film, 'Auto Raja', has more or lees been repeated by few other Kannada heroes, but the impact of the film and his role has not faded. The latest to experiment is director, Uday Prakash, who decided to do Auto Raja for today's generation. He took almost one and half years to find a bachelor hero through a voting system. And, find he did.
But the director could not go by the people’s choice because of date issues with the selected actor. So he put the project aside for a while. Then he turned the entire script to suit a married man and decided to cast Golden Star Ganesh, a married hero, in his film. “When the audience had voted for Ajai Rao, he had accepted their verdict, and had committed to do the film. He should have stuck to it. My confidence level fell when few other younger actors also backed out of my project. When I did not get a hero, I dropped the script in November 2011. But then, something taunted me to re-write the script again. I decided to take another angle and sat for three months and wrote the story again. When I started my second version, I had Ganesh in mind,” he said.
Though this is a different script for Ganesh, the Golden star did not accept it overnight. “He took at least 20 days to confirm whether he will be in the project,” says Uday, who was glad to learn that Ganesh is a big fan of Shankar Nag. “I have tried to carry his thoughts in the film. When I narrate a story, the listener should have some positive vibrations, which I saw in Ganesh. Nobody should act in a film by force. As a hero, he should have the same energy and support. From the time, the Golden star has confirmed to be part of the film, he has taken a lot of initiative, " says Uday.
The Director adds. "Of late, he is been watching Shankar Nag films and he even wanted to include the opening music of Shankar Nag’s film, 'Ondu Gandu Hennu' from 'Gedda Maga'. The interest from the actor is very important, which was evident in Ganesh,” he reveals.
The director has done a lot of research and has even taken reference from at least 100 autowallahs. “I wanted the comments from autowallahs especially about Gandhinagar , politics, sports, love, future plans, bad thoughts and good thoughts. I carried a lot of discussions, which will be utilised in the film. I want today’s generation to know about Shankar Nag,” he said. Apart from auto drivers, the director has tried to get information from Shankar Nag’s close friends too but did not approach brother Ananth Nag. “His brother is quite reserved with certain things. So I did not disturb him. As such, we do not want to exaggerate Shankar Nag’s personal life,” says Uday.
Shankar Nag had a unique walking style. Do we see it again with Ganesh? “By copying the act, it should not turn out to be a mimicry. We will try to get that pose but naturally,” said Uday.
Having initiated the project since 2010, Uday is looking at completing the film in eight months.