Actor Shivrajkumar looks back at the recent dubbing controversy and says he shouldn’t have been so impulsive
His enthusiasm and energy is infectious. He’s shooting for a song but doesn’t complain when shots have to be retaken for no fault of his. A break is called, but Shivrajkumar never eats lunch. He asks for tea, before obliging fans for photographs. He hops on a bike, dangles over a ledge and poses wherever our photographer asks him to. Excerpts from an interview on the controversies he’s involved in: You are known for being non-controversial. What triggered this public outburst about the dubbing controversy?
I have a very positive attitude in life. It’s very important to know what we can do for society not vice versa. I was born and brought up in Chennai. We were supposed to learn Tamil in school. I still speak in Tamil with my close friends there. We were there because all the film industries depended upon Chennai for post production. There was no language bias. Kannada films were screened for the local Kannadigas. Even during the Ooty incident things were sorted out with the help of MGR and Ramakrishna Hegde. We should be friendly with everyone. But mother tongue comes first. When all language films are being released here why do you want dubbed films? That’s my grouse. I watch all language films and am the first to call and praise a director or actor. Dubbing should be avoided because we can remake anything here. The best example is Kannadadha Kotiyadhipathi. Puneeth’s version is extremely popular. My point is, if you remake instead of dub, a lot of localites will get jobs.
So you’re not insecure about dubbed films affecting the collections of Kannada films.
Definitely not. I’m bothered about the families not getting work if films are dubbed. When we went to Dubai recently we were like one big family with technicians and artistes from other states.
Are you angry because it’s not outsiders but people from the Kannada industry who want dubbing?
Hundred per cent true. I don’t understand the reason. I mean this is the place that made you rich. There are some software guys who seem to want dubbed films. I’m requesting them to watch it in the language it’s made.
Now their point of view is who is Shivanna or anyone else to dictate terms. They want to be given a choice.
I would suggest a public poll. I’m not a dictator like Hitler. I’m fighting for my language. Let’s have an open opinion poll. I request people to decide whether I’m right or wrong.
I’m not ordering them. I was angry with the people in the industry, not the public.
Why didn’t you talk to the concerned people? Every problem these days seems to be sorted out in TV studios.
I agree with you. It’s become the order of the day. The media has become so fast and no amount of sensational news seems to be enough.
But nobody expected you to do that in public with the media watching.
I know. I was upset and something probably snapped. I agree I was impulsive. I’m not saying what I did was right. It was in the heat of the moment.
My voice just reflected my love for the language. I’ve never been against the release of other language films here. Let them stop that and dub all the films in Kannada.
The industry has become like a joint family, which has lost an authoritative elder.
You’re right. The legends Raj Kumar and Vishnuvardhan are dead. They forget that Ambarish is there and he’ll not keep quiet. I was not trying to be a leader that day.
People seem to be fighting over everything but the lack of quality in Kannada films.
I don’t think there’s a lack of quality. Every industry goes through a bad phase.
Let’s have a little about the latest controversy.
I honestly don’t want to talk about it. I think a person has to think before speaking about someone who’s done 100 films and completed 25 years in the industry.
I’ve treated everyone equally. So many producers owe me money. I will talk to the industry elders once I’m free. I’m also being accused of uploading something controversial on YouTube. Honestly I don’t know how to do that. I don’t need to do all this. I just want to work hard, look after my family, meet my friends and do something good to society. And please don’t blame my fans.
There seems to be a vertical split amongst the actors here too. Groupism has started.
For me everyone is the same. I love my brother and all the youngsters. They treat me like a friend even though I’m much older. I’ve heard this but it’s not touched me. They have to learn that it doesn’t matter whose film is a hit. The Kannada industry is the gainer.
You are carefree. A friend comes and says he wants to produce a film and you don’t refuse him but you don’t know when you’ll do it. That seems to have become a problem.
(Laughs) I don’t think so. A producer had to wait for seven years to do a film with me but that’s because he was not prepared. I have made mistakes but my producers have never left me. I’m booked till 2014. I don’t know which film I’ll start. That depends on my mood.
So it’s not as if you force people to give you an advance.
I never bother about that. I’m doing a film for Suri produced by Chandru. They’ve been asking me for more than one year. I’m doing the film but haven’t taken any advance. I don’t want money. If I’m staying in a beautiful house today it’s because of producers and the love of my fans. Everyone is comfortable in my house, be it a fan or producer.
Okay you don’t need money so what is the secret of your energy?
It’s purely because of love, affection and trust. We were in Bijapur recently and I had to dance barefoot on the road, which was scalding hot. I did it because the choreographer Imran said I could do it.
Lastly to stop Shivanna from opening his third eye what should be done?
Like you pointed out I’m going to be less impulsive. I hope everyone understands my point of view. It’s our language.
I apologise if I’ve been rude to anyone. I’m very open. You live and you learn.