Puneeth Rajkumar’s fans have a lot to look forward to in 2020. While the Power Star’s forthcoming film will be Yuvarathnaa, which is in the last leg of shooting, his next will be James, directed by Chethan Kumar. The film’s muhurat took place on Sunday, with his wife, Ashwini Puneeth Rajkumar, sounding the clapboard. The makers are planning to start its shooting in February, after the actor completes Yuvarathnaa.
CE caught up with Puneeth Rajkumar, and the actor talked about the buzz being made by the title of James, how Yuvarathnaa is going to be a socially responsible film, his project with director D Satya Prakash, and why he is looking forward to the release of Radhakrishna Reddy’s directorial debut Mayabazar, made under the home banner of PRK Productions.
The title, James, is very striking
Puneeth Rajkumar is happy to get associated with producer Kishore Pathikonda for James, which is directed by Chethan Kumar. This project which was was announced way back in 2013 with the film’s title and the poster, and it still holds the buzz today. The actor, director and producer are teaming up for the first time. “Kishore is a good friend, and more like a family member to us,” Puneeth says. “The title of James itself is very striking. The moment I heard it, it reminded me of Jackie. The way the title has shaped up gives a good feeling. At present, as a team, the only thing we need to do is pack it up with the right commercial elements, with loads of entertainment and fun, and make a good product,” he adds.
Banking on big titles
Raajakumara, Natasaarvabhowma, Yuvarathnaa, and now James... The titles of Puneeth Rajkumar’s films have played a big role in his career, which also comes with a big responsibility. Puneeth says, “When Raajakumara was being done, I was not in favour of the title, as I was very scared because of the name -- Raajakumara.
Though the name refers to a king, it was, above all, about Raajakumara as Dr. Rajkumar. Of course, when the picture came out, it was well accepted by the audience. Thanks to the director, Santhosh Ananddram, and producer Hombale Films, the movie filled a lot of confidence in me, and made me more responsible about taking up good characters and earning good feelings from people.
Natasaarvabhowma is again connected with Dr. Rajkumar, and it was the director’s call to keep the title. I didn’t have a say. On the other hand, Yuvarathnaa has got to do with youngsters. As far as the title of James is concerned, there is a lot of energy filled in it.”
Yuvarathnaa is a going to be a socially responsible film
Puneet Rajkumar, who has completed the talkie portions for Yuvarathnaa, is currently busy completing the song sequences.
The film, directed by Santhosh Ananddram, and being made under the banner of Hombale Films, is taking a little longer in the making, but according to Puneeth, it’s for a good reason.
“The entire team had thought that the process would get over fast, but unfortunately it has got pulled a little longer. All of us have put in a lot of quality work in this film -- whether it is the screenplay, the director’s work, dialogues or acting -- and in the end, we are trying to put together a good film. Yuvarathnaa is going to be a socially responsible film,” he says.
Looking forward to Mayabazar release
Puneeth Rajkumar is focusing equally on his production house, PRK Productions, for which, he is bringing on board fresh writers and directors. The actor-producer is said to be listening to various scripts. While Kavaludaari was the first film under the banner, he is now looking forward to the release of his second venture, Mayabazar.
“There are some excellent actors in the film, including Prakash Raj, Sadhu Kokila, Raj B Shetty, Vasishta Simha, and Chaitra Rao, and all of them have got involved in a big way. The talented young director, Radhakrishna Reddy, has done a good job. Hopefully, people will like the film. We recently released a song from the film’s album, which features me in a special track that is sung by SP Balasubrahmanyam,” he says.
Starring in film directed by D Sathya Prakash
Puneeth Rajkumar’s third film in 2020 will be directed by D Sathya Prakash. The maker of films like Rama Rama and Ondalla Eradalla will be churning out a commercial entertainer, which is now in the scripting stages.
Confirming the development, Puneeth says, “I will be starring in the film directed by Sathya Prakash, which will be made under the banner, Vajreshwari Combines.”
James has got nothing to do with the ‘Bond’ series
The name ‘James’ has a universal appeal, which is often linked to the James Bond series. However, Puneeth Rajkumar will bring in his trademark touch in James.
“It is going to be a different film and has nothing to do with the Bond series at all. However, the title has something to do with the film. I wouldn’t say it will be an experimental film, or if I will be doing something different, though there is a lot of acceptance by the audience for something out of the box. However, we are trying to come up with something unique, in terms of presentation, scenes, and songs, and it is going to be a commercial package,” he says.