Your new film ''Mumbai xPress" has come as a disappointment to your fans. Is it because the film had huge expectations or is it because the digital presentation of the film was a let down?
I won't agree with your perception that the film has disappointed my fans. There were some great reviews for the film all around the country, and the box office collections which are the true parameter of the film's popularity has also satisfied me the most. The film is still running well in Tamil Nadu and other areas and even the people who backed the project are happy. I don't know how such a wrong perception has developed implying that the film has not done well.
About your second part of the question, I have already pointed out the final product that came out of the digital exercise matched only fifty percent of my expectations. I cannot blame any one for this, as it was an experiment that I undertook fully knowing the implications. As many things have to stabilize, it may take a little more time for this new innovation to settle down.
You have been doing only comedy based films recently. Is it because of the compulsions of the Box office?
I am doing more number of comedy based films recently not only because they are proving to be profitable to me and the producers, but also because it is tougher to get a great level of applause portraying comedy focused roles. Nothing can be tougher to an artist than making thousands of people laugh.
An intelligent cameraman can make you look sadder on the screen by asking you to nod a bit, but any amount of tricky technical support will not help a comedian to utter his dialogues that make the audience laugh uncontrollably. Finally, we are always encouraged by the applause and for me a greater level of applause and acclaim has come for the comedy-based roles that I have performed.
With ''Mumbai xPress'', you have turned into writing dialogues again?
I have been writing my scripts from the past two decades. I have always tried to create the seeds from which many of my great films were made. I remember the days when I use to come to Bangalore with my mentor Ananthu (Associate of K.Balachandar) to watch many great films in the film festivals held in Bangalore. I used to have discussions with people like G.V.Iyer, B.V.Karanth and Girish Karnad about whom I had a reverential veneration. These great directors always told me that a film could be as good or as bad as the quality of the writer. There for, a good writer can ensure half the victory of the film. I had written dialogues also for many of my films, but a talented writer like Crazy Mohan had reduced my workload for many of my films. I thought of writing dialogues again for ''Mumbai xPress''.
Your friend Ramesh is taking up his directorial responsibility now. How do you feel about it?
It is certainly a great thing. This should have happened many years earlier, but better late than never. I am sure that Ramesh will make a competent director and deliver many hits in the future. I think my re-entry into Kannada films has also been a little late, but as I said earlier it is better late than never.
But why did you chose to work in the remake of ''Sati Leelavati'' in Kannada? You could as well choose a new story for your re-entry?
Why not? ''Sati Leelavati'' was a big hit, the audience liked it and the film's story has not lost its relevance even now. There were many inquiries from many Kannada film producers for the rights of the film, but we in Raj Kamal had turned it down telling all of them that we would rather produce this film on our own. But Producer K.Manju came out with an acceptable proposal and he looked sincere in his approach. That is the reason why I agreed to give him the film's remake rights and to act in the same role that I did in the original film.
You could as well produce and direct a Kannada film and then dub it into other languages?
I have still not given a thought to it, but I had earlier worked on a script that could be shot simultaneously in Kannada and Tamil. Then there was another two-language film project in Kannada and Tamil for which I would write the script and Ramesh was to be the director. I think all these things would be discussed after the release of ''Rama Bhaama Shaama' and the reaction it receives in the Box office.