In love with love stories

CANDID CONVERSATION

I am both director and producer,” says S. V. Rajendra Singh Babu, the ace Kannada filmmaker when asked which role is more dear to him.

Without choosing any one of the two, Rajendra Babu explains, “Camera is a true friend of mine. Even if I am producing a film, the moment I go near the camera, I stop thinking of production and take on the camera!”

It is this passion with the lens that he grew up with. Hailing from the family of filmmakers, his father Late Shankar Singh was producer and director of Kannada films and mother Prathima Devi was a glamorous star of yesteryears Kannada cinema. “Right from day one, I grew up looking into the eyepiece of the camera. My flesh and blood is in this industry,” he asserts, stating that he couldn’t have opted for anything else.

A known name in Bollywood too, Rajendra Babu has made Hindi films like Meri Awaaz Suno, Sahara and Aag ka Dariya with actresses like Hema Malini, Rekha, Jaya Prada and even worked with leading ladies from the South like Suhasini Mani Ratnam. “All heroines are very good.

Only some percentage of them are a little impatient,” says Babu adding that there comes in the part of a good director. “It depends on how we handle them which is a very important aspect of a director. Since the actresses have to perform according to our concept, we should handle them with care so that they start liking us and we can extract the desired emotion from them. So, it is the art of handling.”

Babu headed back to the Kannada industry after working for a decade in Mumbai to take care of his 1945 established production company. But he soon realised that, “South is far more disciplined than the North. They finish what is planned in time but in Bombay, they keep delaying. I don’t know the reason but now I think, this is improving in Bombay too (sic).”

In the City recently for a panel discussion during Centenary Film Celebrations organised by the Ministry of I&B, Babu opines that, “Now CBFC is more liberal towards our films. Previously, there was a lot of comparison between different centres of certification and we were always pressurised. They have to be liberal. Only then can we make these kind of stories.”

He started with a political movie and has since experimented with almost every issue. “I had a plan,” shares Babu, “Like an MBBS doctor who later specialises in eyes or heart, directors too are also specialists in A-type of a film. But I wanted to break the norm. Luckily people have liked my films.”

But the genre that is closest to his heart is ‘love stories’. “The emotion of love is eternal and without emotion, a love story cannot happen. A political film may run today but tomorrow it may not. But a love story will always work so I like to handle love stories,” reveals Babu who derives his inspiration from novels.

But today, he feels that there are “no good stories around and no proper directors to handle them,” in the Kannada film industry. “Like the Tamil and Telugu industries, fresh blood is needed in the Kannada industry as well.

Also, novel-based stories are absent today. Some very good films have been made on novels earlier. The story department also needs to be revamped in Karnataka,” he states adding that in near future, he will be making remakes of his own films in Hindi.

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