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'I enjoy direction more than acting'

October 15, 2014 09:04 IST

SuryakiranSuryakiran, has directed his first Usiriginta… Neene Hattira (you are closer to me than my breath) and also acted in it.

The film was released on October 10 to mixed reviews and audience response.

The film was earlier titled Nimhans, but ran into trouble with the premier mental health institution for using its name as the title. After a long delay, the film was released with its current title, which is also one of the songs in the movie.

The film that stars Suryakiran himself in the lead is based on a true life story.

Suryakiran was in the directorial team of Yogaraj Bhat for big blockbuster Kannada hits such as Mungaru Male and Galipata. He also assisted others in Moggina Manasu and Olave Mandara.

In this interview, Suryakiran talks about his debut as an actor and what the future holds for him.

What is the response to your debut directorial venture Usiriginta… Neene Hattira?

The response to the film has been phenomenal from the industry and some others who have seen it.

They liked it for its technical finesse and other technical qualities.

But the audience response has been average.

Why did you decide to act in and direct the film?

This is not only my directorial debut, but also my acting debut.

I was not supposed to do this role; someone else was to do it.

At the last moment, when we were about to release the advertisement in newspapers, the hero backed out.

That’s when my photograph was put out overnight at the insistence of the camera person and the producer.

Why did the film’s original title run into trouble?

Initially, we felt that the earlier title was more apt for this film because it connected with the youth. We knew that the film would appeal to all sections of the audience, but it was targeted at the youth.

The apex body of the Kannada film industry had even approved the earlier title and so we thought we could go ahead and finish the film. We had also got the censor certificate for the film with the old title.

The premier institution (NIMHANS, in Bangalore) objected to the use of the institution’s name for the title of a film. We could not fight it legally as the regional censor officer had been transferred and we didn’t want to waste time and delay the release of the film.

The Regional Censor Board office had cleared the earlier title after the film had gone through a screening committee. The lower court passed an order against us and we could not go in appeal to the High Court because of time and additional expenditure involved.

You have said that this film is based on a true life incident. What changes have you made to the story to adapt it to the big screen?

It’s a true life story but we have taken cinematic liberty in adapting it to the big screen.

Except for the climax, the whole film is an actual adaptation of the real life story for the big screen.

A still from Usiriginta… Neene Hattira

What kind of assistance did you get from your mentor Yogaraj Bhat during the making of this film?

Yogaraj Bhat sir helped me at the scripting stage.

He has been very supportive of me. He has also helped me improvise on the story.

Will you continue to act? Which did you enjoy more?

I enjoy direction more than acting.

I intend to remain a director as I have come into the industry to become a film-maker. 

Srikanth Srinivasa/Rediff.com in Bangalore