Without a pukka qualification in direction you have suddenly taken the film 'SMS 62 60' to direction. 'Miss California' helped you to know the norms? What is the confidence you had?
I was directing plays, done a few music videos and constantly watching the making of Yash Chopra films. As a co director I worked for Kannada films like Manasella Neene, 1,2,3 (starring Prabhudeva and his two brothers and Jyothika) and Ms California. The opportunity I got in 'Ms California' in fact made me to think on independent direction. That is the result of SMS '6260'.
How was the debut direction? Easy, tough, would like to take up more assignments?
I was nervous initially because I had to manage 18 characters in the debut film 'SMS 6260'. My home work actually gave me courage. There was also a workshop I conducted for some of the artistes. The experience I have gained from this film has lit up my hopes to take up more challenges. But I want the result of this film first.
Like how in Telugu (Nagesh Kukanoor – Hyderabad Blues and Dor) remained distinct you have attempted at 'Kanglish' film. Is it because it would support your US based producer? What is the purpose behind this 'Kanglish' film? Are you trying to set a ne
I was inspired by Nagesh Kukkunoor ventures. My producers are basically from USA. In the history of Kannada cinema this being the first film of its kind, it is a new trend, and I am sure the fate of the film will inspire many producers and directors to do make Kanglish films in the near future. I wanted Kannada to get International recognition and by doing a film as Kanglish.
For this debut direction have you gone through the style of direction of top ranking directors?
I have been watching films of all major languages since my childhood days. I always admire Yash Chopra films and I have a whole lot of collection of his films. My film is a dedication to my inspiration – Yashji. This is an original concept not derived. Having been a film critic too, I have known the pulse of an audience. Hence, I have tried to do something very different from the regular stuff.
A debutant director has to be very watchful with respect to the bank balance of producer. What precautions you have taken keeping the interest of the producer in mind?
I have not exceeded my budget at all. I had given them a perfect budget and I am proud of myself that I have kept up the word. The shoot went on for 72 hours at a stretch at a point of time, when the choreographers had been on a strike and it left me to choreograph as much as 5 songs in the film. Even then, my budget did not increase.
Can you explain in short the redeeming features of the film 'SMS 6260'?
SMS also means Sundeep Malani Sandesha (as in Message by Sundeep Malani). 6260 means six to sixty. It's a film for all age groups. It's a family film. The film is a Kanglish film, but you get to hear other South Indian and North Indian languages as well. In bits and pieces you have Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Konkani, Tulu, Bengali, Punjabi in the film. It's very realistic and not cinematic. There is no background score in the film. The film has a whole bunch of newcomers facing the camera for the first time. And they are not professionals but employees of certain software companies, journalists, Radio Jockeys, Students, Management besides some models and actors too.
In your first attempt how many days you took to shoot, how much of length you have shot and what are the new technical aspects you have added?
I have completed the entire filming (talkie and songs) in Mangalore in exactly 32 days. I have used 2 cameras for my film. While the majority of my film was shot in Super 16 MM format, some portions were done in Digital format. This was just done for an experiment. I have used all type of possible lightings in my film, and that credit goes to my cameraman for doing it. With and without lights, natural lights, candle light, torch light to brightness with a mobile screen display light also has been used in my film. My film will have its running time of 2 hours 15 minutes. That means its 14 reels.
What are the promotional activities you are contemplating?
Besides the vinyl, posters, and newspaper advertisements – I am planning to promote my film through radio stations, college campus shows, contests at shopping malls and a musical concert with my music director Michael Dayao, who hails from Hawaii USA. And of course, a whole lot of SMS will be used for publicity.
It seems you have a tribute to Dr.Rajkumar and Kannada language?
Yes. I have given a tribute to the legendary by composing a song on him. It's a melodious track, which I am sure everyone would be humming all the time. Even though he is no more with us, I have directed the actor. And one can see it when the film is released. Coming to Kannada language, this film is my gift to the 50 years of Kannada – Suvarna Karnataka. And on this occasion, I have made a 7 minute track which is a fast based number, wherein I have given importance to all those people who have made Karnataka proud and are world famous. Examples being Dr. Rajkumar, Aiswarya Rai, Rajnikanth, Prabhu Deva, Narayan Murthy, Azim Premji, Rahul Dravid and many more.
How much you love this business of entertainment media?
Since my childhood days I am attached to this entertainment media in one way or the other. That long attachment itself describes how much I love this media.
I am looking forward to do more and more cinemas in other languages as well. At this point, I can quote the lines Raj Kapoor song: Jeena Yahan Marna Yahan, Iske Siva Jaana Kahan.