It’s Ramesh’s silver jubilee year in the Kannada film industry. This multi-faceted personality reads Kannada literature when he is not acting

It’s always a pleasure to meet Ramesh. His affable nature, warm smile and hearty laughter are infectious. You feel at home in his house shorn of the trappings of stardom or success and the pleasant presence of his wife Archana who serves the best coffee in any star home, save Raj Kumars. He doesn’t talk in conspiratorial tones and is not curious about the latest gossip, but excited about the cinematic conquests of young directors like Pawan (Lucia) and Ashoka (6-5=2). It’s hard to believe that Ramesh has been around for 25 years. “Time has just flown but the good thing is I’ve spent it productively,” says the actor whose mere presence in a film automatically certifies it for wholesome family viewing. Never shy of saying yes to an interesting prospect. Ramesh has progressed from debating to drama, radio, TV and then cinema making a mark in every medium. “I think I just took the right decisions,” says the engineering graduate. In all these years I’m yet to hear about even a minor misdemeanour or indiscretion. It’s not only the audience which likes him but colleagues and peers too, even the haughtiest of them. Now this in no way means he sucks up to people or is obsequious on the sets. “As far as Ramesh is concerned everyone is a good person,” Vishnuvardhan once told me with a wry smile. Supremely confident of his craft he’s never shied away from sharing screen space with the best of talents. A multi-lingual and multi-dimensional film personality often loses his/her identity locally and this is probably what happened to Ramesh, briefly. Also, sweetness was replaced with sickles on-screen.

Today, Ramesh is a multi-faceted film personality. When he’s not acting he’s busy reading the best in Kannada literature, has written a book, is planning to write more and is penning scripts for future directorial ventures. “There is a treasure trove waiting to be tapped in our history and literature,” says Ramesh, who’s essayed the title role in ‘Basavanna’ releasing today. “It’s a small film only budget wise not in thought. We’re talking about a fascinating personality who fought against the caste system way back. I thoroughly enjoyed portraying this great personality.” After a couple of days of promotional activities Ramesh will be in Chennai to wrap up the script of his directorial debut in Tamil, ‘Utthama Villain’ starring Kamal. Ramesh, who’s very close to Kamal has already directed him in the hugely successful ‘Rama Shama Bhama’. “I know it’s a different ball-game in Tamil with the monstrous expectations but I’m confident. People say he interferes, but during the Kannada film not a single day did he ask for changes. Anyway, just spending time with that man is educative.” There are regular rumours floating about the cast, crew and story-line of the film. “With ‘Crazy’ Mohan penning the dialogues everyone thinks this is going to be a two-hour laugh fest. One thing I can assure you is that it’s a feel good film,” says Ramesh. The film will keep Ramesh busy for around half this year but he already has a bound script which he plans to make with a Kannada superstar. An interesting tale of friendship and revenge, the plot, knowing Ramesh will involve more brains than brawn.

Is there a separate censor board that passes English films or do the upholders of our morals watch them with their eyes and ears closed? ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’, is a three-hour tale of greed, debauchery, dope and the power that ill-gotten pelf can buy. Martin Scorcese who’s always been fascinated by crime and its perpetrators spins another tale of avarice and every conceivable vice. You can count the number of lines sans profanity with one hand. If this had been an Indian film every sentence would have at least two beeps. Now the one word I abhor in films is ‘message’. I thoroughly enjoyed the film, a modern day ‘Caligula’ for the consistent characterisation, the brilliant performances and the razor sharp editing. I don’t believe in censorship, definitely redundant in today’s world but if we have to suffer it at least have a consistent code.

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