Raghavendra Hegde left Hassan for Mumbai in 1988 just after his 10th standard. He wanted to study, but became a waiter, and later worked as an auto driver. A passenger changed his destiny.
"To his eyes I looked handsome and he wanted to know whether I was interested in films. I told him I had not studied much. But he instilled confidence in me by saying there was a lot to learn in films. That's when I got my chance to apprentice as editor for Shekhar Kapoor's film Bandit Queen," he recalls.
Raghu was not paid, but enjoyed the job. After the film, he was back to being a waiter. "I earned a livelihood as a waiter, and juggled it with editing for some time," he told City Express.
Raghavendra Hedge joined as last assistant to Marathi filmmaker Dada Kondke. He then switched to the small screen where he excelled with his technical knowledge of editing. "I got a job in Star Plus," he says.
He then started his own company called RH Entertainment. His clients include Star Plus, Zee TV, Sony TV and Viacom.
"Back then there were 30 to 32 serials on air and I wanted to give them everything under one roof. They only had to give me the footage. I did the rest — music, dubbing, colouring, mastering," he says.
He started with serial Pratigya produced by Mohan Shetty from Mangaluru. It became popular, and he got at least 25 serials. "I was happy when they said I was not a human but a machine," he says.
That was when he started dreaming of a Kannada film. He wanted to direct a film in his language.
"Here I came across many heroes. When I met Darshan, I felt the script of Jaggu Dada would suit him," he says.
Good Heart, Bad Man
While the script for Jaggu Dada is by Raghavendra Hegde, the screenplay is by Yunus Sajawal of Chennai Express fame.
"Films usually show the cruel side of the underworld. In my film, I have tried to show the positives of a family in crime," he says.
Jaggu Dada runs on the relationship between a don and his dead grandfather, with Ravi Shankar playing the ghost
Jaggu Dada features Deeksha Seth in the female lead with Ananth Nag, Ravi Shankar, Srujan Lokesh, Vishal, Yuva, Bullet Prakash, Honavalli Krishna, and Bank Janardhan."We also have guest appearances by Rachita Ram and Deepika Kamaiah. Though this is a comedy, I only have situational comedy around Darshan, and his Challenging Star image will remain intact," says Raghavendra Hegde.
` 18 Crore-Plus Budget
The director's intention was to do a lavish film. "I had approached a Telugu heroine for this film, but she asked if the Kannada industry was still using old cameras. I felt bad," Raghavendra Hegde says. He grew up watching Kannada films and had always admired their richness. "I was hell-bent on making Jaggu Dada a rich film, and spent Rs 18 crore-plus. I have already recovered the money through theatre distribution and satellite rights," he discloses.
The owner of the hotel where Raghavendra Hegde used to work as a waiter helped him with some money. "Likewise, I have many friends in Mumbai funding me.
Everything has been positive about Jaggu Dada," he says.