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'Irfan Khan loved my acting in Lucia'

Last updated on: August 16, 2013 11:26 IST

'Irfan Khan loved my acting in Lucia'

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Praveen Sundaram in Bangalore

Sathish Ninasam is a household name in Karnataka now.

Having started his acting career in theatre, he went on to do television and then to play small roles in Yograj Bhat's Manasaare and Pancharangi. He had a significant role in director Pawan Kumar's debut film Lifu Ishtene.

He now plays the lead in Lucia. His performance has won him accolades at the London Film Festival and actor Irfan Khan was full of praises for him.

You are popularly known as Sathish Ninasam. You trained in theatre at Ninasam (a cultural organisation based in Heggodu, Shimoga district).

Yes, I am Sathish, but my actual name is Shivakumar.  I did a one year diploma in acting at Ninasam.




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'I had no work for a year after Manasaare'

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Do you think you have an edge over other actors because of your theatre background?

Definitely. The nuances of acting, emoting and such is very difficult to master without a theatre background. I am really glad I have it.


Was it difficult to get acting opportunities in Bangalore?


I started off by doing television serials for about a year. Then I did a film called Madhesha, after which I did Manasaare, Yogi, Pancharangi.


Though Manasaare did well, I had no work for a year after that. I did have some struggle then. After Yograj Bhat’s Pancharangi, it got a little better.

 


Image: A scene from Lucia


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'Pawan Kumar had faith in me'

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How did you meet Pawan Kumar and how did Lucia happen?

Pawan and I used to hang around at the Yograj Bhat camp. We worked together in his Pancharangi and then Pawan cast me in his debut film, Lifu Ishtene. We had grown comfortable with each other by then.


Were you his first choice for the protagonist in Lucia?


No, he did meet a few big stars initially for Lucia, but they didn’t seem to be interested.

Finally, when it was to be an audience funded film, Pawan selected me and I was brought on board. 
He had faith in me and we were confident of the project we were working on.


Image: A scene from Lucia


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'Lucia is a very interesting film'

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What kind of preparations did you have to make for your role in Lucia?

Lucia is a very interesting film. I had to do quite a bit of preparation. I have two roles in the film. To prepare myself for the role of the theatre usher, I went to this theatre called Kokila at Hosikerehalli and spent five days there observing the people working there.

I did a bit of work at the canteen, sat at the projector’s room and observed him working. That was good training for me before the actual shoot for Lucia.

For the superstar’s role, I spent two to three months at the gym, learnt some dance, enrolled for a fitness programme, got myself a hair stylist…

Both roles have interesting characterisation. One man is from a small village near Mandya who comes to Bangalore city to make a living. The other is a guy who has it all and destroys his life.

Irfan Khan was very impressed with your performance in Lucia. Did you meet him?

I did not, but my director Pawan met him and they spoke a lot. He told me that Irfan Khan loved my acting. Apparently, he told Pawan that I would go a long way and I was good in the film.
I feel motivated when I hear such compliments from an actor of his calibre who has even reached Hollywood.


Image: A scene from Lucia


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'Crowd-funding is an amazing thing to happen to films'

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As an actor, what is your opinion about crowd-funding for cinema? Lucia is the first of its kind film in Kannada.

It is an amazing thing to happen. Pawan Kumar, despite having made a decent debut two years ago, could not make the cinema he wanted to. It is only because of crowd funding that this was possible. About 1500 people have pre-ordered Lucia and supported it.

There is no risk in this method of funding. The risk is evenly distributed among people who want to watch good cinema. By contributing a small amount of money, they do not jeopardise their livelihood. A producer who invests crores in a film is taking a risk. He could end up being a pauper.

Also, this way more talented people get to act, write, direct and there is more variety of films to watch.


I would also like to add that Lucia is a commercial film and it will soon be releasing across the country.


Do you think Lucia has been given enough attention by the Kannada media, as it is the first crowd funded film here?


We expected a lot more. At the London Film Fest we were really appreciated and Pawan was lauded for his efforts and the cinema that we made won awards and accolades. The media there wrote about us too.


Image: A scene from Lucia


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'Dyavare and Kwatle Sathisha are my upcoming films'

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Are you interested in doing films in other languages?

Of course! For any good actor, language is not a barrier. I am really interested in doing films in Tamil, Telugu or even Hindi, if I get meaty roles.


But I will not leave Kannada cinema. This is my birth place, this is where I belong. I love Bangalore city. I am comfortable here.


Which directors would you like to work with?


There are a lot of them. There are many filmmakers in this country who are doing great work.


Anurag Kashyap is one. I would like to work with him. Then there are filmmakers like Shankar, K V Anand, Rajamouli.


Back home in Karnataka, I would like to work with Soori and Shashank.


What are your upcoming projects?


I have Dyavare and Kwatle Sathisha. Kwatle Sathisha is the remake of the Tamil film Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanum. The original was a good film, but could have been better. We thought it had minor flaws, which we hope to set right in the Kannada remake.


Image: A scene from Lucia


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