Conversations in a lift

Real-life story

Conversations in a lift
The life of a lift operator may appear to be plain drudgery. But ‘Lift Man’, a Kannada film based on the life of a man operating a lift in Vidhana Soudha for 30 years, is an engrossing experience.

The director, T Sreedhar, and lead actor, Sunder Raj, of ‘Lift Man’, which was screened at the ninth edition of Bengaluru International Film Festival (Biffes), say the movie is very close to their hearts. The movie that is shot in simple settings, stands out for its powerful style of narration and characterisation. The element of reality adds to the charm.

About how he struck upon the idea, Sreedhar says, “I was inspired by the real life character is a liftman called Kavayarappa, who worked in Vidhana Soudha for years until he retired a few months ago. When interacting with him, I realised that he had seen so much in his service period. He has seen Siddaramaiah when he was just a party worker and now as the Chief Minister. He has also been witness to several conversations in the lift,” says Sreedhar. “There were some very controversial things that he had heard, so over the years, he trained himself  to listen more and talk less. This was another trait that impressed me,” he says, adding that Kavayarappa used to cycle 32 km everyday from his house to reach Vidhana Soudha.

The director says that for the movie, every actor has been chosen after a lot of thought. He felt nobody could have played the character of Kavayarappa better than veteran actor Sunder Raj. “There’s a certain body language and grace that was required for the role and I found the perfect match in Sunder Raj,” says Sreedhar. 
  
Actor Sunder Raj feels that the script and strong characterisation clinched the deal for him. “I have three shades in the film and I must look like a man in three different stages of life. I sought some time from the director to bring about changes to my appearance,” says  Sunder Raj.

He also says that there were many instances in the script that he could relate to. “Kavayarappa is someone who helped people without expecting anything in return. I too have helped a lot of people and expected nothing from them. I could also relate to the struggles in his life because I too have had my share of struggles and disappointments,” he expresses, adding that his role was an emotionally exhausting affair. “There were very intense moments in the film and my reactions had to be very controlled. I couldn’t blurt out just anything that I felt or thought,” says Sunder Raj and adds that he is thrilled that his film got picked up to be shown at Biffes.
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