Your second film with Chandrasekhar Nagathihalli is also your first chance to share screen space with Amitabh Bachchan. Describe the experience.
It is every Indian's dream to meet the icon of the millennium and definitely every actor's dream to share screen space with Bachchan at least once. And I am no exception. It is one of the most memorable moments of my life. I will cherish it forever.
How did Bachchan come into the picture?
When Nagathihalli narrated the script of "Amruthadhare" to me, I instantly saw scope for the girl's character to be a diehard fan of some great superstar. I discussed the idea with him and since he is so receptive to opinions, he accepted this immediately. After a few days of brainstorming we zeroed in on Bachchan for this special appearance since he definitely is the biggest star of our country and is beyond the barrier of any caste, creed or language.
So with the help of a friend in the Hindi film industry, I managed to get an appointment with Bachchan. We were prepared for a refusal since he has never acted in any regional film so far, but we just wanted the satisfaction of having him hear our idea.
To our complete surprise, within a few days we received a positive reply from his office. To top that, he even offered not to charge anything for this special appearance. I am very grateful that he obliged me and realized how pivotal his appearance was to the plot of the film.
How does Bachchan's character come into "Amruthadhare"?
My character 'Puru' in the film, on realizing that his beloved wife is going to die, decides to arrange a meeting for her with the Big B since she is a diehard fan.
He sees it as one of her dying wishes and thus takes his wife Amrutha to Mumbai to meet her "first love" and matinee idol Amitabh Bachchan.
I will never forget that day - it was May 15 - and we were shooting at the JW Marriott hotel in Mumbai. It was a big day for everyone there since we were going to shoot with Amitabh Bachchan. We started filming from morning and Bachchan joined us after lunch. I still remember he was on time and very friendly, warm and jovial with everyone around. Since I had met him earlier there were no inhibitions about meeting him.
But I was definitely nervous about acting with him. He instantly noticed that and put me at ease by volunteering to rehearse the scene with me. After the first shot, things were smooth. We wrapped up in four or five hours. He touched the heart of each one present there in some special way. Only a man of his dignity and humility can manage to do that.
The buzz surrounding "Amruthadhare" is very positive. How do you feel about the film?
Yes, people are expecting a lot from the film especially since Nagathihalli Chandrasekhar and I are back as a team after the success of my first film "Nanna Preethiya Hudugi". Even the music director is the same -- Manno Murty who gave us the very famous "Car Car" song that almost became an anthem in Karnataka.
In addition, Bachchan's appearance for the first time in a regional film raises expectations. This does make me a little jittery. But after seeing the rough cut I am confident we have made a good film. Now how good audiences find it, is something no one can predict. I am keeping my finger crossed.
Now that your career in Mumbai is picking up, how do you intend to divide your time between Bangalore and Mumbai?
Yes, things in Mumbai are definitely picking up and looking very positive. My second Hindi film "Pyar Mein Twist" stars Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia and Soha Ali Khan opposite me. It is an interesting love story dealing with an urban issue. There are other interesting Hindi projects. But in spite of all this progress with my Hindi career, I am very clear that as far as Kannada films go I am here to stay.
This is where I have started from and enjoyed and experienced my first taste of success. In spite of being an outsider, the audiences here accepted me with open arms. I will always love the people of Karnataka for their warmth. I do have several films in Kannada in the pipeline but can't talk about them as yet.