Puneeth Rajkumar-starrer Rajakumara, launched a year ago, finally goes on floors this week. The 30 -member-crew left for Australia on Sunday. City Express spoke to Santhosh Ananddram, who is helming his second project after delivering a blockbuster debut Mr and Mrs Ramachari.
Interestingly, Rajakumara has been creating a buzz for a whole year with just its title. The director, however, says the film is not a biopic based on the yesteryear star’s life.
“The film might have attributes of Annavaru (Rajkumar), but the story is not about him. References to the legend are mostly metaphorical. He set an example to many that's followed even today, which will be essayed in the film through Puneeth,” he explains.
The title, he says, was decided upon after the script was complete. “It has heightened my sense of responsibility. Everyone relates the title to the
artiste, who represents Karnataka. So we need to be cautious in how we justify the film,” he says.
But the makers are not trying to give the story a fresh twist to fit the title, he adds.
Mr and Mrs Ramachari was no ordinary debut for Santhosh, and it took him almost one-and-half years after it hit theatres to start on his second.
“A director’s second film is a bridge between his past project and the potential of his future ones,” he reasons. However, he admits that the delay was not intentional. “I was waiting for Puneeth to complete his other projects,” he says. That said, he made the most of the extra time to fine-tune the script, he adds. “I also had the opportunity to direct three films, but I didn't take them up.”
He is clear that his present outing will not follow the tried-and-tested formula of Mr and Mrs Ramachari. “But I am sure this film will also carry the essence of my first film,” says Santhosh. “Rajakumara is an emotional that has ample comedy and other commercial elements.”
He sounds confident about handling a star. “I am extra careful with the subject owing to Puneeth. I have to be mindful of the legacy he carries,” he says. “I did interact with him 10 times while scripting.” Santhosh says he thought of roping in Rajkumar’s youngest son only after he had already started work on the script. “I felt Puneeth was a good fit, and then I wrote it for him,” he explains. He tells City Express that flying to Australia was essential because “a part of the story is set there”. “The rest is set in India,” he says.
Santhosh is grateful to his team for waiting patiently for the project to kick off. The film is being produced by Vijay Kiragandur under Hombale Productions, and has Venkatesh Anguraj as cameraman, V Harikrishna as music director, Ravi Verma as stunt choreographer, A Harsha as dance choreographer and K M Prakash as editor.
“Expectations are running high and I am ready to live up to them,” he says as he signs off.