Darshan's magic is working overtime in Sandalwood. The man known for entertaining the masses, has all the skills needed for a commercial film to click at the box office. Mahesh Sukadhare, producer and director of Ambareesha seems to have already encashed his investments before the release of the film.
It is celebration time for all those who waited for 14 long months to watch Darshan back on screen. The film will release in more than 210 theatres in Karnataka and is sure to set the cash registers ringing. Ask Darshan what he plans to do and he says, "I would really love to visit the theatre where my film will be released, but I realise that it will not really be possible as there will be too much of chaos with the focus of the fans on me and they will end up not concentrating on the film. Last time, when I had been to Nartaki theatre, my presence ended up in a furor and there was broken glass and chaos at the venue. So, this time, I will sit at home and wait to find out what people have to say about Ambareesha," he says.
He seemed to be the first among the Kannada stars who came forward to say goodbye to the main theatre formula and to an extent it has succeeded. Going by the release, the focus has shifted from the Majestic area to the Prasanna theatre in Vijaynagar, where they have arranged for six shows daily.
Darshan feels it is time for the industry to slowly give up on traditional methods of film distribution. "There is no hardcore formula in the Telugu or Tamil industry of having all films release in one theatre and this seems to exist only in the Kannada industry. Sadly, since standalone theatres are slowly exiting from these areas, it makes sense to prepare the audience for the eventuality and encourage them to watch films in other parts of the city. Business can boom anywhere, provided the product is good. I can only give suggestions on this but ultimately it is left to the producers because they invest in the film. I heard my film is releasing in Menaka theatre on KG Road," he says.
Darshan is at a stage, where his films have a direct impact on his audience and connect with their lives. "This is a subject that is focussed on the land mafia in Bengaluru city. People who watch this film, might get extra cautious before buying a piece of land in the city and that is the aim of Ambareesha," reveals Darshan, whose role is that of an ordinary fellow.
"In my opinion, people should concentrate on the essence of the film and not the hero alone. I am trying to bring out the struggles of labourers in real life through my character in the film. There is a scene when a labourer wants to register a complaint and the police asks him, ‘Do you have an address or an Aadhar card?’ He responds 'Karnataka is my home'. My person and style quotient remains faithful to my onscreen character. The reason we are called heroes is because, we do things on screen, which cannot be done in real life. The film has a commercial aspect but a meaningful message," he says.
For Darshan, senior actor Ambareesh's presence will be the highlight of Ambareesha. "People should not miss the song that sees Appaji, (as Ambareesh is called) in a 15th-century Bengaluru," he says.
As an actor, Darshan doesn't limit himself by simply going on the sets and giving his shots. He makes sure that he takes responsibility of the film as well by sitting at the editing desk among other things.
The actor is honest enough to say that he can't judge himself and so he always watches the first copy of his film along with somebody who is not connected with the industry. "I do this to get the pulse of the film and gauge it as an audience member. This also helps me understand the loopholes in it," he says.