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The Rediff Interview
25 years of Rajendra Babu
R G Vijayasarathy | February 04, 2008
Veteran director D Rajendra Babu has just completed 25 years as a film director. In fact, he joined the Kannada film industry three decades ago as an actor but later on became a filmmaker. He worked as an associate to many top directors like S V Rajendra Singh Babu and V Somashekhar.
D Rajendra Babu became an independent director with Jiddu starring Prabhakar and Jayamala. Though the film was not a big success, his subsequent films like Swabhimaana and Naanu Nanna Hendthi were massive silver jubilee hits. He has so far directed 50 films including a Hindi film.
After a gap of two years, he is making films with stars like Puneet Raj Kumar and Ganesh. Up first is Binddas with Puneet Rajkumar, which is releasing on February 8.
In this interview, the veteran director who is better known for his sentimental yarns like Karulina Koogu and Haalunda Thavaru says that he is also going to have a different image after these two films. Excerpts:
You have completed 25 years as a film director. How do you describe your long journey?
Thanks to God's blessings and my parents, I should say that I have achieved something as a director. There was a period of struggle, disappointments, and even frustration but then I think they are all part of the creative journey that a film technician undertakes.
I have achieved a fair degree of success as many of my films were silver jubilee hits. I had the privilege to direct all major stars of the Kannada film industry including Dr Vishnuvardhan, Ambareesh, Anant Nag, Shankar Nag, Ravichandran, Shivaraj Kumar, Upendra, Sudeep and many others.
Now, I have got an opportunity to work with younger stars like Puneet Raj Kumar and Ganesh who have become youth icons. I don't think I could have asked for more.
Because I worked in this industry, I got to see a good wife in actress Sumithra who is even now a popular South Indian artist.
Yes, there were some setbacks in my career but that has not deterred me from my commitment to good cinema.
I have got awards, recognition and success. I also directed a Hindi film with Govinda [Images] as the hero.
Bindaas, your next film is quite an interesting title. Your track record shows directing more sentimental films and not films like Bindaas...
It is not that I have stuck to only sentimental stories. My first two films with Prabhakar were action flicks. I have made a hugely successful film like Appaji with Vishnuvardhan and films like Praja Prabhuthwa and Entedhe Bhanta with Ambareesh. I have also made sentimental films with these two heroes when they were called action heroes. If you analyse the career of these two stalwarts, you will find that films like Haalunda Thavaru and Samsaara Nouke will stand out as some of their best films. Not only that, I have made an action film like Auto Shankar with Upendra and a totally different film like Uppi Dada.
It is just that I am returning to the action genre after a gap. I have always done different types of films.
Puneet is a young star. Did you find it difficult to direct someone from the next generation?
On the contrary, it was very easy.
I was moving closer to Vishnu and Ambareesh as an associate director when I became an independent director. Still, at that time, I was not as free and communicative with them as they were big stars. Shivaraj Kumar was also a big star when I directed him.
But with Puneet I did not have any hassles, though he is a top star. He is very simple and it is easy to communicate with him. He has no attitude problems too. I just became younger in my mind to extract the best from him. I was completely recharged when I started directing Bindaas.
Puneet is full of energy and commitment, and he is respectful to seniors. He is unbeatable in action sequences.
Can you tell some thing more about Bindaas?
It is a hundred percent entertainer. Hansika Motwani [Images] is the heroine. Though she has acted in a few Telugu and Hindi films so far, I feel she will be remembered for her role in Bindaas.
The story by Janardhana Maharshi is tailor-made for Puneet. Puneet's characterisation will definitely stand out. Bindaas is a fun action film with logic. Songs by Guru Kiran have already created a great impact.
You have started working with Ganesh in your next film. I am told Ganesh is doing an action role in the film.
Ganesh has so far acted in eight films but this film is certain to enhance his fan following. Female audience and children have been his main strength. With this film, (produced by Rockline Venkatesh) Ganesh is sure to acquire a new image.
Ramya is the heroine of this film. I have worked with Ganesh for a few days and find him extremely talented. The story is by Janardhana Maharshi while Mano Murthy is the music director.
What will happen to your image as a successful sentimental film director?
Well, I will have a new image with these two films.