Upendra says he has given his best performance in Godfather after Gouramma, released seven years ago
Friday is the Varamahalakshmi festival. It is also festival time for Upendra fans, as his latest film, Godfather, starring him and Soudarya Jayamala, hits over 100 cinemas across the State.
Both Upendra and producer K. Manju are pulling out all the stops to market the film, directed by cinematographer-turned-director S. Sriram. They have stacked up over 3 lakh audio CDs as freebies — one per ticket — to give to the audience on the first three days, according to Prasad of Ashwini Media Network Ltd., which is distributing the CDs.
Upendra, who wrote the dialogues, says he has given his best performance in Godfather after Gouramma, released seven years ago. He says he has given it his all to ensure it works for the audience.
Soundarya, daughter of actor Jayamala, is debuting in this film though she was to have been launched in Lagori directed by Yogaraj Bhat. Besides her, Catherine and Shweta are also paired with Upendra, who has a triple role as father and two sons. The glamorous Bhumika Chawla appears in a special dance sequence.
The film marks Sriram’s directorial debut. He was the cinematographer for Wanted Meelenge and Tere Naam. Also, the music is by none other than A.R. Rahman, a first for a Kannada film.
Despite such hardsell, Godfather is a remake of Varalaru, a Tamil blockbuster directed by K.S. Ravikumar with Ajith, Asin and Kanika in the lead roles that was released six years ago. The story is also nothing extraordinary: the usual yarn about a rich father partial to one son and not very kind to the sibling whose looks are nothing to write home about. Ajit won critical acclaim for his performance in the Tamil original.
Rahman offered his services for free, says Manju, who spent Rs. 1 crore on the studio, artistes, instruments, recording and re-recording.
“I owe a lot to my fans in Karnataka. It’s time to pay them back,” the Mozart of Madras said with characteristic humility at a recent press conference.
Director Sriram said the producer is happy with the outcome and that Godfather will be a landmark for its technical superiority.
Godfather got some pre-release publicity because Manju objected to fellow producer Muniratna releasing Katari Veera Surasundarangi with Upendra and Ramya in the lead roles.
He feared that back-to-back releases of two Upendra films would harm his business interests. Finally he had to abide by the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce’s decision to release Katari Veera…, which got the censor certificate earlier.