Under watchful eyes

Under watchful eyes

Sometimes the most exciting of stories come from tiny villages. These places double up as a storehouse of tales that are waiting to be told. Bethanagere, a tiny village in Nelemangala, has not more than a 100 houses. The village courted infamy as its resident Seena, a dreaded don, spread terror far and wide until he was hacked to death by a rival gang.

Bethanagere’s notorious son now provides grist to Mohan Gowda, a director who is making a film based on the life of Seena.

Mohan couldn’t think of a better person to play the role of Seena than young actor Sumanth Shailendra.

“It was the script that clinched the deal. I didn’t know that it was a real story until much later but I still vouch for the strength of the script. I play the role of Seena and we have completed almost 80 per cent of the film. It has been a fulfilling journey so far,” says Sumanth. 

The idea of making a movie came about because Mohan also happens be the first cousin of Seena.

 “Mohan has a lot of first-hand information about Seena, his life and how he went about his work. The topic is a little sensitive therefore Mohan made sure he took a written statement of ‘no objection’ from Seena’s family members and all those whose family members were murdered by Seena. This was done to make sure that they don’t have a problem being mentioned in the movie. We’ve taken enough precautions,” says Sumanth.

He also spent a lot of time reading up about Seena and watched a couple of documentaries made on him.

“Reading and watching short movies on Seena helped me understand and interpret his body language better. I had to emote his body language  and walk, talk and behave the way he did in his prime years,” explains Sumanth.

He confesses that he had to work really hard to build a muscular body. “I would get up at 4 am and hit the gym. After a rigorous workout session, I would have to report at the sets at 6 am. And then we would shoot for a couple of hours before I could take a break. I’ve never played such an intense character,” he observes.

 Sumanth also says that after the shooting started, the director of the film began
getting a few threatening calls asking him why he didn’t  include a few other prominent members of Seena’s gang.

“I didn’t know the director was being watched and that he was receiving threatening calls till he took me through a few details. I was taken aback,” he states.

Sumanth adds, “There were also a few people who would come on the sets and just hang around to watch the shooting. And these were no ordinary guys. They were all part of the gang.”

The movie also explores the strong nexus between the real-estate mafia and the jail inmates.
 “In fact, Seena used to control the dealings in the real estate market even when he was serving his jail term. That’s how well-connected he was,” Sumanth avers. There’s no bloodshed or gory scenes in the film. “There isn’t bloodshed at all because I want my female fans to watch the film,” he sums up.

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