Director Srinivas Raju, best known for his psychopath film Dandupalya, is now ready with another Kannada film titled Shivam.
The long-awaited film stars Upendra in the lead, and had run into controversy the very day it was announced.
Protests erupted and the name had to be changed from Hara Hara Mahadeva to Basavanna to Brahmana and finally to Shivam. “Though the film had many names, it did not confuse the audience because it carried the trademark namah and Upendra’s unique look,” Raju told City Express.
He feels any subject that shuns conventional storytelling will have some people passionately opposing it. “Shivam is based on religion. I have compromised a lot as it was facing multiple issues. The film was already delayed and I didn’t want to stretch it further,” Raju said.
After about 25 cuts, the film got a U/A certificate. “Though the film could have had a better impact without the cuts, I could still retain the essence of the subject,” he said.
Raju said he has tried to go back into history to highlight the destruction of our temples by invaders.
“Over 35,000 temples have been destroyed in the last 1,200 years. But we never blamed anybody nor raised a voice. We cannot get back what was lost in Varanasi, Ayodhya or Somnath but we can definitely avoid it in future. My message through Shivam is to convey that sentiment, which I have tried to present within my limitations,” he said. Raju plans to make the film in Telugu with Balakrishna and to rope in Ajay Devgn for the Hindi version. As for choosing Upendra, he said, “Uppi is a master of experimental characters, which regular heroes usually don’t opt for.”
The film has an ensemble cast with Ragini Dwivedi, Saloni, Ravi Shankar, Bullet Prakash, Srinivas Murthy, Geetha, Bhavya, Shivaram and Karisubbu among others. Raju was offered seven movies, all related to crime, after Dandupalya, but he refused them and focused on Shivam, which took almost two years.
“This is a commercial film with a message,” he said.
Shivam, produced by C R Manohar, had a budget of `15 crore. The highlight will be Upendra’s half bald look, which has been made with 3D effects and prosthetic makeup.
“This technology has been used for the first time in India. The special effects were done in Hyderabad. It cost us `90 lakh and the whole job took five months,” the director said.