Actor Anirudh’s upcoming film Raja Simha: the Lion Returns directed by M Ravi and produced by CD Basappa under the Veer Masthi banner is all set to go on floors from February. Even at this early stage, the film has already caught the attention of the audience with its title which refers to the late Vishnuvardhan who was called the Brave Lion of Sandalwood. Since Anirudh is the son-in-law of the legendary actor, the connections with the latter are quite obvious. According to Anirudh, Raja Simha will carry the essence of Vishnuvardhan, the man as well as the actor. “The entire team’s effort is to pay tribute to this legend. This film will trace Vishnuvardhan’s legacy and the strong social message that he had for the common people. The story has incorporated all these ideas and has been developed keeping the actor in mind,” reveals Anirudh who has worked hard to develop a good physique for the role. “Movies just happened for me and till date I have never planned anything. In the case of Raja Simha, the project has been in the pipeline for a while now. The director had come to me with the idea a year ago and it took him time to develop a full-fledged script which was a good thing as the role required me to work on my body for which I needed some time,” he says.
There is an obvious advantage in casting Anirudh in Raja Simha because he has seen his father-in-law from close quarters. In fact, the actor considers this film as a gift from Vishnuvardhan. “Till date, our family has never felt his absence. Over these last five years, even though he hasn’t been with us physically, we can feel his presence touching every part of our lives. I feel that he wanted me to do a film like Raja Simha and it is happening because of his blessings,” he says.
As of now, Nikita Thukral plays the heroine and Bharathi Vishnuvardhan plays the role of Anirudh’s mother in Raja Simha. Jessi Gift has been roped in as the music director and if everything goes well, they plan to cast Vishnuvardhan’s good friend--actor and politician, Ambareesh. “The director and producer will soon be approaching Ambareesh for a role and I will also be meeting him to seek his blessings,” says Anirudh.