The maverick is back

m.l. narasimham
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Chat A.S. Geethakrishna is back doing the job he enjoys most

films with a message Geethakrishna
films with a message Geethakrishna

H e wished to be a path-breaking filmmaker when he started his career two decades ago. He believed cinema, besides an entertainment medium has a social responsibility too. A.S. Geethakrishna chose the middle road approach to filmmaking combining art with commerce where at times the art dominates the commercial elements in his films. This also made him choose an alternative profession, garment export business where he tasted huge success. But his mind was always in cinema. Soon he returned to make some more films in the genre he believed without compromising a wee bit. After meeting with mixed response he chose to make visual ads setting up a company in Mumbai. But habits die hard. Filmmaking has become a way of life with Geethakrishna who is back at the job he enjoys most. This time around he chose to make films simultaneously in three languages —Telugu, Kannada and Tamil. Excerpts from an interview:

Though you have made ‘Time' with Prabhudeva and Simran as a bilingual in Telugu and Tamil this is the first time you have attempted a trilingual. Koffi Bar (in Telugu), Coffee Shop ( Kannada) and Nimidangal (Tamil) have the same story line and similar star cast in major roles, but it is actually making three separate films at the same time. I strictly adhered to the norms and guidelines set by the film trade bodies in each of these language industries. Now that all the three films are releasing on April 8, hope it will be a rewarding experience. I mean the reward coming from the audience.

You are considered an ahead of the times filmmaker. Is ‘Coffee Bar' an exception?

Perhaps the themes that I chose for my previous films might have prompted critics to say that. For example in Sankeerthana which starred the then upcoming Nagarjuna and Ramyakrishna was on superstitions. In Kokila I dealt with cornea transplant, a rarity then. Priyathama was about schizophrenia, not heard much in those days and Keechurallu starring Usha Uthup was about performing arts and youth unrest. But this time I need not fear that tag. Koffi Bar is a contemporary subject on terrorism. Primarily the idea is to create awareness among people and to caution them on the impending dangers of terrorism.

But how does a coffee shop fit into this?

Everything in the film happens around a coffee bar which is the centre stage where different characters meet and what happens there after is narrated in a thriller format.

There is a love story too. How the lover couple is caught in the web of horrifying terror act and whether they could wriggle out of the situation forms an interesting sub plot. Atul Kulkarni played the antagonist while Shashank is cast as the protagonist with Biyanka Desai making her debut in Telugu films. Suman is in a pivotal role as a CBI officer. There is a message for the youth. How best they can use their brain power is conveyed through the character of Shashank as he outsmarts the antagonist playing mind games.

Ilayaraja used to compose music for you but this time you chose to take the mantle?

It was a rewarding experience working with the maestro. I managed to pick up some music knowledge from him. It was not difficult for me to compose the tunes for the songs, but giving background score was a challenging task for a thriller like this.

A thriller needs to be technically superior too

It is more on the lines of a reality show. No hanky-panky approach or graphic gimmicks. We used Red One camera with 4K resolution. We used Zeis lens for the highest quality. In fact it was I who first used Red one camera five years ago for my ad films. The film will not scare you like regular horror flicks but the subject and the narrative style will have emotional bearing on the viewer.

m.l. narasimham



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