Career lost and found, says director Sunil Kumar Desai

Director of runaway Kannada hits such as Beladingala Bale and Tarka is returning with Udgharsha after a long, dry spell.

Sunil Kumar Desai

Sunil Kumar Desai, maverick filmmaker and master of the Kannada suspense thriller genre, is back after three years with Udgharsha.

The Kannada-Telugu bilingual, also dubbed into Tamil and Malayalam, is hitting screens this Friday.

Desai, who hasn’t given a major hit since Sparsha (2000), is upbeat about Udgharsha.

In an interview with Metrolife, Desai looks back at his journey in the Kannada film industry.

You are back after three years...

I am back after a gap. I am doing a suspense thriller after 14 years. I planned Udgharsha three years ago and began working on it a year and a half ago. I’ve successfully overcome all


Udgharsha features a multi-lingual ensemble cast. The bulk of the film
has been shot in Kodagu.

hurdles.

Is Udgharsha your own story or is it inspired by anything you’ve seen?

It’s my own story. I thought of a murder. Then wove circumstances around it. It took a year for me to write it. I changed it 12 times.

You haven’t tasted success after Sparsha. Reasons?

I don’t know. Whether I failed to understand the industry or the industry failed to understand me is a mystery. No one came forward to produce the kind of films I wanted to direct. My conscience didn’t permit me to direct films the producers wanted.

Why didn’t you direct anything like Nammoora Mandara Hoove, Tarka and Beladingala Bale, which brought you fame and also did well at the box office?

I always wanted to do such films. There is one such subject that I will be taking up in future. It’s neither a suspense thriller nor a love story. It’s the most violent love story which thrills. I plan to do it in seven languages. I may launch it this year end. Its fate depends on Udgharsha’s success.

Did you restrict yourself to a particular genre and fail to grow beyond it?

My Marma, Utkarsha are Udgharsha are unrelated. So also Tarka,  Sangharsha and Nishkarsha. I have tried different genres. There’s also Nammoora Mandaara Hoove, Beladingala Baale, Sparsha, Prathyartha and Re.

Do you feel you have been underutilised in the industry?

The pain that I couldn’t do anything for long intervals will stay with me till my death. In the last 15 years, I have not been able to do projects I had dreamt of. It could be my mistake. It could be fate. I would be more fulfilled had I given at least 10 films.

Where were you lost all these years?

I am unable to understand what happened to me. I don’t know why, where, when and how it happened.

Which of your films has satisfied you?

Undoubtedly Beladingala Bale. Normally, I don’t write screenplays for others’ stories. Here, I did, and used the novel by Yandamuri Veerendranath.

Is Desai’s best yet to come?

I have four subjects. My best will be 10 times higher in terms of everything. It will draw attention at the national level.

Any offers from other states?

After the trailer of Udgharsha was released, offers have come from Tamil and Hindi producers. I had received no offers in the last 10 years.

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Career lost and found, says director Sunil Kumar Desai

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