I went from RJ-ing to making Kannad Gothilla

Mayuraa Raghavendra talks about how his stint as a radio jockey helped him understand the dynamics of filmmaking
Last Updated 26 November 2019, 13:06 IST

I am a Bengaluru boy and I completed my schooling from Jain Vidyalaya in V V Puram and pre-university from PES College. I studied engineering at Bangalore Institute of Technology (BIT).
Looking back, apart from working in the software industry for a couple of months before losing my job during the recession, I haven’t really done anything connected with my academic qualification. I believe most engineers who are creatively inclined tend to diversify their interests.

The initial days

My first full-fledged feature film as a director, ‘Kannad Gothilla’, released last Friday. Most of what I have narrated in the film stems from my own experiences and of those I know.

I never set out to be a film director. It happened by accident. But the journey of how I landed up in the film industry is worth recounting.

There was a phase in my life where I wasn’t working for about six months. During this phase, I was clueless about which direction to take. That’s when I recorded my voice and sent it out to a few radio stations, hoping to get hired. I didn’t receive any response. I then decided to play a prank. I called up the security guard at Fever 104 FM and said that I had misplaced the boss’s number and asked him if he could give it to me. He did so without a second thought. I gathered the courage to call up Soujanya, the boss then. I met her the following day. She said that I was overqualified for the job but promised an internship.

After two months, the shooting for Ganesh’s film ‘Maleyali Jotheyali’ began. The Fever team wanted me to do an outside broadcast. My task was to capture whatever Ganesh was doing for the day. If I did well, I was told that I will be employed. The director was impressed with what I had done and I promptly landed myself a job at Fever. This was the beginning of my journey as a radio jockey.

Journey as a radio jockey

Sudharani in Kannada Gotilla
Sudharani in Kannada Gotilla

One of the first shows I hosted was ‘Loverboy Mayura’. It was a late-night edition show about love. It was a wonderful learning experience.

During this time, I was offered a job at 92.7 Big FM to host their breakfast show, ‘Unplugged with Mayur.’ The show did 230-odd weeks and it became so popular that I had all the top shots in the music industry like Illaiyaraaja, Shreya Ghosal, Raghu Dixit on my show.

I was inspired to take this radio show to the stage. A bunch of my musician friends and I, for the first time, presented it on stage.

I hosted the show and the musicians performed. The show did so well that I had requests from across the world. I travelled with the show to the Middle East, Australia and Singapore.
Another unique thing that I did was compose an A cappella of the entire collection of Rajesh Krishnan’s songs. I was a big fan of his music. When he completed 25 years in the industry, I couldn’t think of a better way to pay a tribute to him.

The turning point

It was at this time that my friend pointed out that I had a budding director in me and that I should contemplate taking up direction. I broached the idea of directing a short film — the script was ready — to actor Rachita Ram, a good friend. She inquired about the budget and volunteered to produce it.

My first short film, ‘Rishabha Priya’, launched in 2017. It released in a multiplex. The tickets were priced at
Rs 250 and it ran like a regular film. I made some good money. It was the first of such musical short film. We later released it on YouTube.

How did Kannad Gothilla take seed?

When I used to work in the software industry, the most common thing I would hear people in my office say confidently was ‘Kannad Gothilla (I don’ know Kannada).

I wondered why people (non-Kannadigas) were so proud about not knowing the language. This triggered an idea and I wrote a fictional story around how not knowing a local language could impact your life, culture and disturb a peaceful surrounding.

I have always believed that people must make an effort to learn, love and respect the local language of the place where they choose to reside. We don’t hear many converse in Kannada.

This, I believe, is not a good trend. We must help non-Kannadigas assimilate into the local culture. This will not only promote the growth of the language,
but also bring about a sense of belonging.

My experience as a radio jockey and as a director helped me understand the nuances of filmmaking. I realised that working on a short film and a full-fledged feature film requires different dynamics. While you need a huge budget to plan and execute a feature film, short films can be made on a shoe-string budget.

I followed my heart and have come this far. I think it is important for everybody to chase their dreams and give in to their passion.

(Published 26 November 2019, 13:06 IST)

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