Simply elementary

Hungry for a commercial hit, Suni is happy to be working at a time when fresh ideas are encouraged, writes A VARSHA RAO

candid Simple Suni

Bazaar isn’t just Dhanveerrah’s debut, it’s mine, too,” says Simple Suni during our conversation in his office in Rajajinagar. And he’s right. Known mostly for romcoms, Simple Suni stepped into the big, bad world of commercial cinema with Bazaar. “I was hungry for a commercial hit in my career after facing failures in Ulidavaru Kandante and Bahuparak. So I wrote the script for Bazaar keeping commercial aspects in mind,” Suni says.

Initially, Simple Suni, or Sunil Kumar, wanted to work on a script focusing solely on betting. But while doing his research, he stumbled upon the world of pigeon racing and betting. “While betting is banned now, pigeon racing still exists in the State. No one in Sandalwood has attempted to cover this area, so I decided to make a film on it,” he says.

Apart from the genre, there’s also one other thing Simple Suni did differently with Bazaar. He cast a newcomer for it — Dhanveerrah. Explaining his decision to do so, he says, “A guy who races pigeons is called shokdaar, a role which is completely new to the audience. People wouldn’t have any expectations or reference point for him. So, instead of casting an established actor and trying to convince the audience to visualise him in that avatar, I thought it would be easier to cast a newcomer. Also, Dhanveerrah looks convincing as a guy who can easily beat up villains on the big screen. So, I decided to cast him.”

And that’s where Simple Suni’s strength lies. As a director, he has the talent to convince the audience to accept whoever he puts on the big screen, be it Rakshit Shetty in Simple Agi Ondh Love Story, Srinagar Kitty in Bahuparak, Rishi in Operation Alamelamma, Praveen Tej in Simple Aaginn Ondh Love Story, and more. 

A tough catch

But Bazaar had been a lot more difficult for him to shoot than others mainly because of the pigeons. “One can train dogs, but how do you train pigeons? So, it was quite difficult dealing with them and getting the shot right. There were many restrictions, too: I couldn’t use bright lights, I had to get clearances from a vet every day... But the pigeons were really comfortable with Dhanveerrah, not so much with us,” explains Suni.

Only six movies old as a director, Simple Suni says he’s already learnt a lot in terms of film-making. But, would he change anything now if he had to remake his hit debut film, Simple Agi Ondh Love Story? He says, “No,” before adding, “but after every movie, I feel I could have done a lot better if I had just five or six more days. I like to believe that God made Simple... not me. But now I have an idea of how things work. I may not be able to make a Bahubali, but I can now understand how every scene was shot.”

Success hasn’t been Suni’s constant companion till date, but his passion and thirst for good cinema have definitely been. And this thirst has been in him ever since his college days. “In college, the last few pages of my notebooks were filled with poems and stories. That’s when I began to dream of becoming a lyricist. I used to bunk classes and go to film sets. Soon, I landed a gig as an assistant director and realised I could be a director someday,” he reveals. 

Imaginative

After about two-three years, wherein he sustained himself with odd jobs, Suni gave the world the humorous Simple... in 2013. Since that movie, Suni has dealt with different storylines. And the source of ideas for his movies? “Bathroom,” he says candidly! “Honestly, I don’t know where the seed germinates, but travelling and bathing seem to motivate my imagination to work in overdrive!” he laughs.

Simple Suni is now busy with his next film with Sharan titled Avatar Purusha. “It’s based on black magic and will be humorous,” he says. But what happened to his dream project with Shivarajkumar? “Yes, Manamohaka will happen, but only after I secure producers for it. Since the story spans from 1950 to 2020, I need a huge budget,” he says. But right now, Suni is happy to be working at a time when fresh ideas are encouraged. “There’s a lot more pressure now to deliver a good film. Since the audience is exposed to good global cinema, they expect something fresh in every film. And that’s where the challenge lies,” he says.

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