Kamal Hassan shares a special bond with Bangalore. It was here that he shot some of his memorable movies like Pushpak the silent movie. Now Kamal is back to Kannada after 18 years with Rama Shama Bhama, a remake of his Tamil comedy Sathi Leelavathi. This film is directed by good friend Ramesh Aravind and has Shruthi, Urvashi in the female lead.
Excerpts of a press meeting at the Press Club, Bangalore.
How do you feel to be back in Kannada?
It is very nice and I feel nostalgic when I am in Bangalore. I recollect the those good old days when Kokila, Thappida Thala, Mariya My Darling, Benkiyalli Aralidha Hoovu, Pushpaka Vimana, were shot. I used to watch curiously the works of legends like B.V.Karanth, G.V.Iyer and even used to roam in the city with B.S.Rangaji in his motorbike. I used to frequently come to Bangalore to see International films. Bangalore was and is a happening place. Rajnikanthji a gift to Tamil films is from Karnataka.
How have your films fared in Karnataka?
Karnataka has never let me down. All my films have done good business at the box office.
What happened to your magnum opus Murudhanayaka?
A period film likeMuruthanayagam needs a large canvas and a big budget. Had the US finance come as expected, everyone would have talked about the film even to this day. Kannada superstar Vishnuvardhana had acted in that movie. 30 percent of shooting has been completed. This is an international film.
Are you hoping for Oscar awards?
No. For me the National Award given by this country is of more importance. I don’t give importance to Oscar award. I told Ashutosh Gowarikar when he told me that ‘Lagaan’ is going for Oscars that “Oscars are made for the American films”. Wish me for a National award or the one from Cannes.
Will you be entering politics?
Don't you want to see me happy? No politics for me please.
Why are doing ore comedy films these days?
Aalavanthan and Virumaandi were not comedies.
When are you doing a film with Mani Ratnam?
I have been holding the longest discussion sessions with him for the last 17 years ever since Nayakan released. Still it is going on.
Coming back to your Kannada film, what forced you to accept this one?
My friendship with Ramesh Aravind is the main reason. We both hail from the school of K.Balachanderji. We share lot of ideas and Ramesh had worked in my lot of movies.
But why ‘Sathi Leelavathi’? Don’t you think that a straight subject would have been appreciated more?
But why not ‘Sathi Leelavathy’? It has not been remade in Kannada and in all other languages this film was a hit.
For your market and making style don’t you think Kannada is a limited area?
The Sathi Leelavathy Kannada version is updated and many surprises are added. The film is titled Rama Shama Bhama which has chance to get dubbed into Malayalam. It will be a start to finish project.
What is your role in Rama Shama Bhama?
I am playing the role of a gynecologist – Dr.Sham. My accent will be Hubli-Dharwad accent of Kannada. I will be working continuously for 15 days and then start work on my next Tamil film Vetayadu Vilayadu.
Are you confident about Ramesh Aravind’s capacity as a director?
When I can become a director, why not Ramesh Aravind? He is an intelligent guy. A workaholic.