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This article was first published 14 years ago

Directing Vishnuvardhan for the last time

Last updated on: February 17, 2010 15:43 IST

Image: A scene from Aptharakshaka
Shruti Indira Lakshminarayana in Bangalore

As if the success of Apthamitra was not enough to fuel interest in its sequel Aptharakshaka, we now hear of "bizarre and unnatural" events that took place during the shooting of the Kannada film.

Be it lead actor Vishnuvardhan falling off a horse during the shoot, an actress falling ill after seeing a shadow of a non-existent person or the producer meeting with an accident, the rumour mills are abuzz with stories. Soundarya's death after starring in Apthamitra has only added fuel to fire. 

But what intensified the issue was Vishnuvardhan's death. People started attributing his death to Nagavalli, a central character in both the movies. The belief was that Nagavalli had "haunted" and "cursed" Vishnu just like she had "haunted and claimed the life" of Soundarya.

P Vasu, who directed Vishnu in both the films, takes us through the making of Aptharakshaka and shares with, snippets from the time he spent with the legendary actor.

'Women in particular will like Aptharakshaka'

Image: A scene from Aptharakshaka

Does Aptharakshaka continue from where Apthamitra left off or is it an entirely different story?

Let the audience figure that out on Friday. All I'll say is that there will be three variations to Vishnuvardhan's character. There is variety in his body language and voice. Technology used is also something to look out for in the film. This is a family entertainer as well as a musical. At the same time it is scary. We have tried to come out with a different storyline, and I'm confident people will come with their families to watch the film. Women in particular will like Aptharakshaka.

How was Vishnu to work with?

It was a great feeling to work with him. His films speak volumes. He was not for over-expressions. He underplays and even though you don't realise why he was doing that during the shooting, when you see the final product, you'll know why.

How was Vishnu as a person?

My association with him goes beyond these films. Over the years, he had become very silent and spiritual. There was always a lot to learn from the actor in him. He was also very entertaining on the sets. He used to be happy and kept others happy.

'There is a special song as a tribute to Vishnuvardhan'

Image: A scene from Aptharakshaka

Tell us about the song in the movie which features the late Rajkumar, Ambareesh, Rajinikanth and other noted actors...

This song is a tribute to Vishnuvardhan, who completed 200 films. It talks of his friends. I wish I had gotten more stills of him for the song though. We have digitally added the late Rajkumar in the song.

What were Rajinikanth's reactions when you showed him the film?

"Super", that's what he said. But he was very upset about losing such a great talent. And just so you know, there are no talks about making the Tamil version of the film.

Which is your favourite scene from the movie?

I enjoyed directing the scenes involving Komal and Vishnuvardhan. Their comic timing is simply great. Shooting for the climax was also an unforgettable experience.

There were rumours that you were asked to change the climax. Is that true?

Where did you hear that from? No, I'm very happy with the climax and I'm sure people will like it too.

'The music of the film is already proving to be a hit'

Image: A scene from Aptharakshaka

What about the rumours saying that Apthamitra and Aptharakshaka brought "ill luck" to the actors?

See, these incidents are mere coincidences. They happened only after the films were made. Also, about Vimala falling sick during the shoot, I've just heard that she hurt herself while shooting for a Telugu film too! Such things can happen anytime.

Tell us about the music of the film...

It's already proved to be a hit. Gurukiran is among the best musicians we have.

Are you planning the sequels to Aptharakshaka as well?

Yes, but that was when Vishnuvardhan was alive. Now I'll have to think about it again. As of now, I'm more concerned about Aptharakshaka.

'I want to make a movie on the lines of Black'

Image: A scene from Aptharakshaka

What are your other projects?

Currently I am shooting for Pulivesham in Tamil. I'm using new faces. But sometime later, I want to make a movie on the lines of Black. The day I find an actor, who I think can carry off the role, I'll make the film.

Are you looking to work with any particular actor in the Kannada industry?

Of late I have watched Puneeth's films and I'm very impressed. Sudeep and Darshan are also good. Upendra is not only a good actor but a capable technician as well.

Do you find the Kannada film industry lagging behind when compared to the other film industries?

When compared to Tamil and Telugu industries, it lacks writer-directors. Once you have more of them in the industry, good movies will follow.