By K Venkatesh
Not many film producers are able to establish their own identity, as their films never run on their name, they run on the name of the hero, director or music director. But in Kannada film industry, here is a producer whose name attracts the audience to the theatre. He is Ramu of ‘Ramu Enterprises’. Since he had made films (‘Lockup Death’, ‘Circle Inspector’, ‘Simhadamari’, ‘AK 47’, ‘Chamundi’) with big budgets of not less than one crore (a big budget for a small market like Kannada), he is known by the sobriquet ‘Crore Ramu’. To do a big film without worrying about the budget or profit and loss was always his aim. Currently he is doing a multi-crore, multi - starcast film ‘Hollywood’.
Excerpts from an interview with “Crore Ramu”.
Q: YOU WERE DISTRIBUTING FILMS? WHAT MADE YOU TURN TO PRODUCTION?
While you distribute other producers’ films you dream of the day when you can distribute your own films. That is how I turned to production.
Q: DON’T YOU FEEL THAT THE KANNADA MARKET IS SMALL AND MAKING BIG BUDGET FILMS IS NOT WORTH IT?
From the beginning, I never thought about the economics of a film. If you think about the budget even before commencing the film, then that thought itself would be a hindrance in making a good film.
Q: THEN WHAT IS THE FIRST CRITERION FOR A PRODUCER?
I can’t speak on behalf of other producers. I can only speak for myself. Doing a quality film is the only criterion. Profit or loss is secondary. Along with this thought, love for your art form, confidence, dedication and sincere efforts are also important. While majority of the producers break their heads about the hero’s dates, remuneration and call sheets, I think about the director. Once the chemistry between us is worked out, then I will sit with him for story discussions.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR ROLE IN THE PRODUCTION OF A FILM?
As I said earlier, once I am satisfied with the story and the director, then I will not break my head about the picture. I leave the entire responsibility on the director. My duty is to provide whatever director needs and see that the product comes out good. I don’t interfere in his work. This confidence on the director works out wonders for any producer.
Q: WHAT IS THE REASON FOR YOUR SUCCESS?
Basically, let it be a producer or a director, he should have passion for his product which in turn will lead to quality. This worked out well with ‘AK 47’ and it became a big hit. It did not work well with ‘Chamundi’ and it didn’t do well as expected. We can’t view everything in a commercial point.
Q: YOU ARE KNOWN TO TAKE MORE CARE TOWARDS PUBLICITY. HOW FAR DOES IT HELP YOUR PRODUCT?
Publicity is a must for any film. To make a film reach the audience, we should take care about even minute details. Right from designer to cutouts we should be careful. I start publicising not only my own films, but others’ films too, (which I distribute), one month prior to its release.
Q: WHAT ABOUT THE FAILURES?
I work for all films with the same commitment and dedication. Be it a small one or a big one. Be it my own ‘AK 47’, ‘Chamundi’ or other films like ‘Independence Day’, ‘Sparsha’ etc. Some films click, some fail. When it clicks we work with rejuvenated inspiration for our next project. If one film fails, we can’t think of it and get depressed. That works on your mind and you cannot concentrate on your other works. Success and failure are common not only in films, but in any field.
Q: WHAT ABOUT YOUR FORTHCOMING FILM ‘HOLLYWOOD’ IN WHICH UPENDRA IS THE HERO?
It is a multicrore project. And Upendra is the most successful director and actor. I knew him from the beginning. I was closely watching his work for a time long. I have decided long time back to make him do a film for me. Now the opportunity has come and he is working for me.
Q: DOES IT SUIT OUR MARKET?
We should in fact, make films with an eye on expanding our market. Since it is a big budget film, it will be made in other languages also. And since I myself am a distributor, I will not depend on other distributors to release this film. And the publicity would be on a large scale.
Q: DO YOU HAVE A SAY IN THE ACTING CAREER OF YOUR ACTRESS WIFE MALASRI?
Definitely not. It is her profession and the decision to act or not is left to her. Since she wanted to take rest and help me in production, she was away from acting for a couple of years and worked for our home production ‘AK 47’. Later she decided to act and did so in ‘Chamundi’. If suitable roles come her way, definitely she would love to do them.