He's gone from academics to journalism, from software to film production. Truly, Raj Kishor Khaware has walked an unusual path, in style.
After getting his Doctorate in Biochemistry from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Khaware worked as Technical Editor in Down to Earth magazine before going to the United States. Then, he established his software business and recently set up his production house RKK Films, which produced the Telugu film Maya Bazaar released just a few days ago. Now he balances software and film production with elan.
Although a serious student, Khaware was naturally inclined towards films, and acting. Before JNU, he dabbled with acting in a TV serial Ek Ghar Aas Paas and a telefilm, Ardhangini. Then came the US, where he works as a software consultant for a few years. "I was not keen on doing post-doctoral studies," explains Khaware. "Success comes late, and moreover is a long drawn thing. One gets grants with great difficulty and you have to practically eke out a living. I was not interested in becoming a professor, either. The software industry was new, intellectually challenging and lucrative."
Khaware set up his own software consultancy in the late 90s. His firm currently has branches in Stockholm and Hyderabad.
This brought him to India several times, where he started socialising with film folk. "I met Ram Gopal Varma and we thought of collaborating but nothing worked out." In Hyderabad, he met B Satyanarayana through a common friend. "I expressed my interests in films and Satyanarayana came up with the concept of Maya Bazaar and I agreed to co-produce it under the aegis of my production house, RKK Films."
It is quite strange that his first venture is in Telugu -- a language he didn't understand at all and now just speaks a smattering of. "Filmmaking is universal and so the language does not matter." He is full of praise for his director Mohan Krishna Indraganti. "He is creative, accomplished and intellectually capable of undertaking complex issues and breaking them into cinematic durables. Mohan Krishna is certainly poised to be a good director." Did he watch Mohan Krishna's award-winning Grahanam? "Yes I did. It was a fairly abstract story, but Mohan put it in a coherent manner. That's the art of good direction, and I find it exciting."
Now that Maya Bazaar is released, he has increased the publicity of the film. "We are trying to reach out through different media and create awareness, and keep the flame of hope alive. Many are not aware of its release, as there was no pre-publicity."
And then came Mahesh Babu-starrer Sainikudu just a day before Maya released. "We obviously couldn't publicise Maya Bazaar in the same way as Sainikudu. That was a big budget film and far outweighed ours. I am not worried as we are catering to a different clientele. I was willing for a slow start. The response to Maya Bazaar has so far been lukewarm. I welcome critical remarks. It is difficult to create perfect art. Whatever feedback we have got so far has been positive. I am confident of my product."
He plans to continue working with Satyanarayana. "He is open, cordial and transparent. I can relate to his sensibilities." Khaware wants to go Hindi too, but not just yet. "Producing Hindi films is a different ball game altogether. One has to select the right story, technicians and actors. At the moment, I'm not known in Mumbai. I have to open my production house there. But I am open to hearing scripts."
Raj Khaware wants to start with commercial films before moving on to multiplex films catering to niche audiences. Cinema is entertainment, he believes, and is excited to be a part of it.
"I'm getting attention one doesn't otherwise get. I am building another network. It's a new thrill, and there are new challenges." His enthusiasm is infectious. Raj Khaware will continue to straddle different worlds of software and cinema, across countries.