In a career spanning 80 films, many of which made Sandalwood history and earned the actor the title Crazy Star - an industry penchant for identifying onscreen personality quirks with the filmstar’s real persona - Ravichandran goes over his unusual filmmaking process in an exclusive interview with A Sharadhaa.
Your next film Krazy Star seems to be an ode to your career.
I play myself in Krazy Star but it’s not the story of my family. It is about a busy father and how he misses his children. Yes, there are many personal coincidences. Like, the fact that we will be releasing the movie on February 14 which is Valentine’s Day and my wedding anniversary. Priyanka Upendra plays my wife’s in Krazy Star. True, our onscreen chemistry in Malla (the film that revitalised Ravichadran’s floundering career at one time) was talk of the town but casting her in Krazy Star is not looking back at time either.
This film seems to mean a lot to you.
Fans have been waiting for a film of mine to release. I know I have disappointed them with some of my earlier films. I have done films, knowing they won’t do well but had to do them for the money. I also a producer’s actor and have at times taken a fee cut or no money at all. Yet few seem to remember the good I have done. Krazy Star is my film. I can cheat my wife, my family, but not cinema.
What is it that still draws you to be an actor?
Being young at heart. I am 53, but I still react to love with a childlike energy. Of course, as I have aged I am open to characters that will suit me now. When Sudeep offered me a father’s role in his movie Manikya, I couldn’t say no to him.
Fifteen years ago too I would have played a father. But it’s the audience that still sees me as a lover boy. It’s the image I have maintained for so many years unintentionally. Especially after films like Prema Loka and Ranadheera.
How do you deal with extremes that a film career brings?
I am not ritualistic, what I do is experience life. I feel life has given me the signals I needed. Like it did during the making of Kindara Jogi and Malla with the occurrence of several bad omens. Everything around me seemed to warn me off Ekangi but I still went ahead with it. It’s disastrous fate is know to all. Silence is what has helped me through the ups and downs. I simply switch off for a few days.
You have been working on launching your son as an actor for long.
I have started shooting for my son’s film. I have not launched him in a big way because for me, he is not a hero, he is just another new face. Usually star sons are launched amid much hoopla. Everybody expects I do the same. But I tell my child, you are not a hero, you are just a stupid, newcomer.
Why is the Kannada industry swamped with remakes? You are particularly known to be creative and you too seem to be following the trend.
I am against remakes. But as far as the industry is concerned, I can’t impose my opinion on it. People attempt remakes because they don’t have a choice. They don’t have the time to listen to scripts. I have 25 scripts ready with me but does any one have the patience to listen to them? So sometimes, I have to remake a film for the sake of my survival.
Though my idea of remaking a film is different. I pick up the idea and direct it the way I visualise it. There is an art in my direction. Today, if you don’t attract audiences with something special, you lose their attention to mobiles.
What is your writing process?
I don’t know how to write anything but a love story. I can’t do action or crime because my mind doesn’t wander that way. I have always been successful in love and have I have won many people over. I don’t watch crime stories on television as I don’t relate to it.
We have degraded as a society - here the public has no a voice, we have become so accustomed to lies and scams, we cheat ourselves, our children and our friends. I don’t like negativity and don’t let in in my life. I want to lead a life where I can be honest to myself and that is my struggle, and that is where my writing flows from.
How do you view the talent pool of Kannada directors?
If you see the numbers, those who are capable of writing and directing have been successful.. Those who have not been successful are those who picked up someone else’s story and divided them into shots. Pawan Kumar, Pawan Wodeyar, Suni, Soori and Yograj Bhat are best examples of good directors today. They breathe life into their stories.
Social networking sites are all the rage to promote films these days.
I am not on Facebook, twitter nor any other site. I used to be on Facebook but it came down to just a lot of women wanting to flirt with me.
Social networking has been used for better business, worldwide. What I see is that these sites are used just to pass comments, post status messages on life, youngsters are spoiling their lives with this.