Ravichandran is an uncompromising filmmaker, but sadly there haven't been any worth remembering in recent years. Manjina Hani is on its way…

He's around 50 years old and it's about 30 years since he made his acting debut. Son of one of Kannada cinemas biggest producers, Veeraswamy, Ravichandran has come a long way since I first bumped into him in Chennai before he made his debut. It was at a high stakes gambling session in a hotel room along with Ambarish and a couple of deep pockets from Bangalore.

I next met him on a flight after the release of “Premaloka”. Mani Ratnam had loved the first half of ‘Premaloka' (the dubbed Tamil version which was released simultaneously was distributed by Mani's brother GV). I conveyed this to Ravi who said, “Please tell him ‘Agninakshathiram' was a great film.” Sadly, while Mani has gone on to garner national acclaim Ravi has never matched the sparks he showed in his debut directorial venture. The budget of his films got bigger but the quality of content seldom improved. He dreamed big visually, but sadly there was an emotional vacuum which he's still trying to fill. When his magnum opus “Shanti Kranti” and “Kindara Jogi” probably the most expensive kid's film ever made sunk at the box-office, it was the remake “Ramachari” that bailed him out. There are no doubting Ravi's intentions for Kannada cinema which are very ambitious. A trusted aide who's no longer with him confesses that somewhere Ravi got ‘disconnected' with his audience. He became highly self-indulgent. A classic example is “Ekangi” an expensive experiment set in a lavishly built house constructed with glass. His song sequences were getting repetitive most of them with multi-hued birds. Well, Ravi never compromises on his directorial efforts but acts in pot-boilers to keep the home fires burning. He's known to re-shoot major portions till he's satisfied. His fans still expect something stunning from him. There are some like the extremely busy Prakash Raj who swear by his never-say-die attitude and accommodate him at short notice. The much delayed “Manjina Hani” is still being re-shot. Ravi promises that the film will be path-breaking. I sincerely wish, hope and pray it is.

If you haven't seen too much of the ever busy Ramesh on-screen lately it's not because of lack of offers. He's working on a whacky comedy that he plans to direct in the near future. He's giving final touches to the script. “It's come out very well. I'm sure it'll have the audiences rolling in the aisles,” says the ever-smiling Ramesh. In fact, the positive energy he radiates is infectious. He's wary of accepting acting offers in films that are not promoted at all. Most people are unaware of the last couple of films Ramesh starred in. Right now he's charged. He's zeroing in on an apt title and talented co-stars to play key roles.

sshivu@yahoo.com

Keywords: Kannada cinema