Lights, action, swap roles!

Behind the camera

Lights, action, swap roles!

They’ve mesmerised movie buffs with their electrifying performances and dramatic lines many a time. Actors in Sandalwood are slowly trying to step beyond their glamorous and action-oriented avatars and work behind the scenes, where all the action happens.

Stepping into production or direction, young Kannada actors share the challenges they’ve faced in the world of filmmaking.

Actor Pannaga Bharana, who has enacted many interesting roles, directed the recently released film ‘Happy New Year’. “I used to roam around with my script everywhere but producers only wanted films like ‘Mungaru Male’ or ‘Duniya’ at that time. This was before movies like ‘Thithi’ and ‘U Turn’ happened,” he says.

Pannaga vouches that direction is a huge responsibility. “From convincing the producer about the location of a scene to why a particular actor should play a specific role, there arise multiple questions. A director should always have an alternate plan in place for everything that will be executed on a set as things can go wrong at the last minute,” he adds.

Every director has to coordinate the minutest details on the sets that an actor doesn’t have to bother about, notes actor Rakshit Shetty.  “Making everyone see a scene through the director’s vision is quite a task. When I was directing ‘Ulidavaru Kandanthe’, I had to take care of the scene both as an actor and as a director. But it was easier for me because I knew exactly what I had done in the scene,” he says. Rakshit says that the pressure can build up when one has to do justice to a role and also take care of other shoot details while being a director or producer. “Focussing on things like budget details and holding meetings as a producer are additional responsibilities,” he adds.

Helming the project as a director while also acting in it can be a multi-layer experience, says actor M G Srinivas. “I believe in creating my own opportunities instead of waiting for them. While I directed Upendra in ‘Topiwala’, directing myself and a young lot can be quite a challenging task,” he says.

Srinivas recalls, “While I would enact a scene, I would also have to switch to a director and be analytical about my acting. This worked to my advantage as I know my strengths and weaknesses and the angles I look best in. The shift of focus and mood for an actor-director can be quite a struggle.”

For Sruthi Hariharan, it was a learning process with many challenges. Sruthi, who turned producer with ‘The Last Kannadiga’ and ‘Rita’, says that producing a project requires a lot of ability to convince others and conviction in oneself. “I realise that as an actor, I might not always stay at the forefront.

I think of the production house ‘Kalaathmika’ as a meaningful media for investment. I know that eventually I will go behind the camera and explore more. Many female artistes in the industry complain about not getting equal opportunities and I’m trying to create my own path here. Exploring other avenues in the film industry is common now,” she says.

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