BENGALURU: Artistes from the Kannada film industry are getting their own building, an initiative by Karnataka Chalanachitra Kalavidara Sangha. Spread across 15,000 square feet, the fourstoreyed structure situated at Chamrajpet, was inaugurated by Chief Minsiter, Siddaramaiah on Thursday, along with politician, actor and president of the artiste association — Ambareesh.
Producer Rockline Venkatesh and senior actor, Doddanna, were the first to have thought of this initiative to come up a space just for artistes. Senior artistes such as Saroja Devi, Hema Choudhary, Sunderraj, Pramila Joshai, Shivarajkumar, Puneeth Rajkumar, Ramesh Aravind and Vijay were present at the event. Chiranjeevi, Mohan Babu, Nazar and Bollywood’s Shatrugan Sinha visited the space on Sunday.
At present, this building has a multipurpose auditorium, which can be used to stage plays, for audio releases, premier shows, censor board, film festivals and anything related to cinema, says producer Rockline Venkatesh, adding that their next immediate goal is to come up with a gym, yoga and meditation centre for the artistes.
But it is the future plans for this space which is what gets interesting. “We want to come up with a film institute like the one in Pune, and it is in the planning stages now. Apart from the yoga centre and auditorium, we still have three floors to be filled, and a film and television institute is what Ambareesh and all of us wish to establish. This should be a platform for artistes of future generations, and an institute of international standards is what Ambareesh wants . It will take time, as we have to arrange funds, but it will happen,” the producer says.
Rockline remembers how it was Dr Rajkumar’s wish to have a building for artistes. “When Rajkumar led the artiste association, he had set up a platform where he would bring together artistes, where everything could be discussed under one roof. For so many years, the legend, along with artistes, would conduct meetings at Cauvery Continental, and Parthvamma Rajkumar would make all the arrangements. Later, due to unforeseen circumstances, he had to shift the meetings to his house, where artistes would meet every second Sunday of the month and have lunch together, says Rockline.
Rajkumar’s wish had almost come true when the government had allotted a plot in JP Nagar for this purpose. Unfortunately, they could not hold on the land because of litigation issues, and Rajkumar was upset about it,” Rockline reveals.Ambareesh has wanted to do this for a long time and fulfil Dr Rajkumar’s dream - this was the main reason behind getting this plot,” says the producer. “It was during JH Patel’s ministry and HD Revanna was in charge of the housing board. Ambareesh fought to get that plot for the artistes. He was at the hospital when the government was discussing land allocation. The moment he knew the plot was getting allotted to somebody else, he went straight from the hospital. The CM was shocked seeing Ambareesh’s condition, and approval was given on the spot,” says the producer, adding, “We were in a fix, as we had to raise the building within two years of its approval.”
Along with Ambareesh and Rockline Venkatesh, senior actor Doddanna has taken equal initiative in overseeing the project. “A temporary shed was made in the same plot where senior artistes such as Saroja Devi would hold meetings. When Vishnuvardhan was alive, he would come and participate in all the meetings,” Rockline remembers.