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This article was first published 10 years ago

'Ninnindale is a love story with a fresh thought'

January 22, 2014 09:05 IST

Image: Erica Fernandes and Puneeth Rajkumar in Ninnindale
Srikanth Srinivasa in Bangalore

Kannada superstar Puneeth Rajkumar’s latest film Ninnindale opened last week to a tremendous response, grossing more than Rs 5 crore at the box-office. This included the Rs 2 crore on the first day of release - a first for a Kannada film.

Ninnindale was released in 191 theatres across Karnataka and is all set to be released in international markets, in the UAE, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and Germany, in February.

Puneet’s last film was Yaare Koogadali that released more than a year ago. Since then he has been busy with the popular game show Kannadada Kotiyadhipati.

Ninnindale (Because of you) is the first film in Kannada of the well-known Telugu director Jayanth C Paranji. Another first for the film is that almost all the outdoor filming was done in the US.

In this quick interview, Puneeth Rajkumar talks about his one-year absence from the screen and his experience shooting for Ninnindale.

Why did it take a year from your last release?

I have no idea why there was no release of my films last year.  I was busy with the game show. This film (Ninnindale) was supposed to start in April and be released by September. Due to some changes in the script, it got postponed.

I had started working in Maithri by the time everything fell in place at the scripting level for Ninnindale

'It is the first time I have worked overseas for a major portion of the film'

Image: Erica Fernandes and Puneeth Rajkumar in Ninnindale

What do you have to say about Ninnindale?

Ninnindale is a love story. It is a fresh thought with a very thin storyline. There’s nothing to break your head about. It is about human relationships.

I play a guy who lives there (in the US). No, I don’t have an accent. I play an Indian who is probably studying there. It is the first time I have worked overseas for a major portion of the film.

The film was shot in New York and its surroundings. I don’t know whether this is the first film to be exclusively shot in the US. But it is the first one for me.

How was the experience of working in an overseas location?

It was a nice experience. We stayed USA for 35 to 40 days. We had a small crew from the US. They were involved in organising adventure sports for the film.

We had a professional skydiver who had also worked in two Indian films earlier, including the Hindi film Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobara. He also does skydiving cinematography. We hired his services for the adventure portion of the film.

It was a great experience. I am a regular New Yorker and so the city is not new to me. I normally drive when I am abroad. This time was no different; after finishing my shoot I had nothing much to do otherwise.

'There is no difference working for my family banner or outside'

Image: Erica Fernandes and Puneeth Rajkumar in Ninnindale

What was the skydiving like? Are you scared of heights?

I was scared of heights but I got rid of the fear after I did my first jump. It was a superb experience.

Anybody can do skydiving; it is very safe and absolute fun. I trained thrice before we actually shot the sequence. All the safety gear was in place and the shoot went off well. 

How was it working with director Jayanth Paranji and the new girl Erica Fernandes?

It was a good experience to work with director Jayanth as he came across as a friendly person. He has been in the industry for many years and has worked with big stars in the Telugu industry.

He happened to be in Bangalore and that is when he narrated the script to me. It’s good to know that Jayanth, who is born and brought up in Bangalore, made it big in Hyderabad, in Telugu films.

Erica came across as a confident young girl. This film will be an ideal launch pad for her.

Why act for an outside production banner when most of the films you have acted in have been home productions?

There is no difference working for my family banner or outside. I am just an actor who is involved as an actor. I don’t interfere in production activity even when I am working in our family production house.

'I am working in an untitled film opposite Trisha'

Image: Puneeth Rajkumar in a still from Ninnindale

What films are you currently involved in?

I am working in an untitled film opposite Trisha. There’s another film with Pawan Wodeyar who made Govindaya Namaha. I am working with Suri later in the year.

What is the fate of the third season of the game show Kannadada Kotiyadhipati?

I may not be able to host the show this year because I don’t have dates to allocate.

I don’t know if the show will go on air this year; the channel had started work on the programme by this time last year. I am not sure if the show will be hosted by someone else either.