Decade-long struggle has made me stronger: Aniissh

Decade-long struggle has made me stronger: Aniissh

Kannada actor excited about his first film as director, released yesterday

Aniissh Tejeshwar in 'Ramarjuna'.

Sandalwood actor Aniissh Tejeshwar’s ‘Ramarjuna’ hit a roadblock due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Aniissh, who also bankrolled the film and directed it, struggled to release his ambitious project before an unplanned meeting with actor-director Rakshit Shetty changed his fortune. 

The Kannada actor, who got noticed for his role in ‘Nam Areal Ond Dina’ in 2010, is eyeing an elusive break with ‘Ramarjuna’, that hit the screens on Friday. In a candid chat with Showtime, Aniissh talks about his film and his decade-long struggle in the industry. Excerpts:  

From your first film till now, how has the ride been?

The ride has been good. I started off as an actor, and now I am also a director and producer. I have learned a lot in this process. I do not have any regrets.  

I have faced many struggles and humiliation and I am stronger because of them. I never lost confidence or gave up on my dreams.

How did Rakshit come on board for ‘Ramarjuna’?

Rakshit, Meghana Rao, and I started our journey with ‘Nam Areal Ond Dina’. Over the years, my bond with them has only gotten stronger. I have the freedom to disturb them at any time.

It’s interesting how we collaborated. I wanted to upload videos of ‘Ramarjuna’ after one distributor showed interest but poor internet connection at home became a problem. I needed help and that’s when I thought of Rakshit.

In his home, when I was checking the sound quality of the videos, Rakshit asked me about the film. I told him that I was about to release the film on an OTT platform. He insisted on watching the film despite me being hesitant. Finally, I agreed and showed him 10 minutes of the film. He got so excited about it and convinced me to put it out in the theatres.

He bought a stake in the film and KRG Studios is distributing it all over Karnataka.

How was the experience of filming ‘Ramarjuna’? 

Just beautiful! I used to go to sets at 5 am and explain to the cameraman about the shots, get ready for the shot, and discuss the scenes with other artists. I got to explore so many sides of myself. Nothing was a burden; it was planned this way.  

Tell us about the struggles to release the film.

I completed the film within eight months and wanted to release it in February last year. Slowly, the pandemic hit, and everything was out of control. I never expected that the film would get stalled for a year. I was totally confused if I had to release the film in theatres or take it to an OTT platform. I faced a lot of pressure. 

Is Sandalwood a supportive industry?

Till one achieves some success, you have to struggle to get support here. 

Will you be directing more films?

Despite getting other offers, I dedicated my time to ‘Ramarjuna’. Rakshit encouraged me to write and direct more. My next will be ‘NRI’. I’m also doing a film with Janardhan Chikkanna (‘Gultoo’ fame).