Rai, the latest of biopics in Kannada

Star power -- Vivek Oberoi and Muttappa Rai  

It seems to be the season for biopics. While Nagabharana is making Allama, on Allama Prabhu- the 12th Century saint, Hamsa Vijeta is making Shivayogi Sri Puttajja, a film on Pandit Puttaraja Gawai, the visually impaired Hindustani classical musician and scholar, and director Indrababu is making Santeyalli Ninta Kabira – a film on Kabir Das. Making biopics is nothing new to the Kannada film industry. Films were made on many historical figures including Kanakadasa, Purandaradasa, Santa Tukaram, Bhakta Kumbara and Raghavendra Swamiji. There were also films on rulers such as Krishnadevaraya, Immadi Pulikeshi, Mayura and others. The legendary Dr. Rajkumar breathed life into every historical, mythological character he essayed.

At a time when most film makers are focussing on life of saints in Kannada, maverick film maker Ram Gopal Varma, known for making films on the lives of gangsters such as Satya, D - Company and their sequels, is now making Rai. The film is based on the life of the reformed former underworld don Muttappa Rai. Claimed to be one of the most expensive films, Rai is produced by C.R. Manohar, who is also an MLC from Janata Dal (Secular).

The first look of Rai, with the tagline “The Greatest Gangster Ever”, was unveiled recently on Muttappa Rai’s birthday at his estate.

The who’s who from politics and cinema were at the launch. There was a 15-minute laser show before the launch.

When Varma planned to make Rai, he originally chose Sudeep, but later zeroed in on Vivek Oberoi, to essay the role of Rai in this multi-lingual film. Vivek made his film debut in Varma’s Company and was recently seen in Varma’s biopic, Raktha Charitra. After finishing the script and etching out the characters, Varma says, he felt Vivek could do justice to the character, as he has right attitude.

Vivek beamed saying it was “an opportunity for him to essay the role of a one-time underworld don and do justice to the character.

The film will be shot in London, Dubai, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Varma has not “depended only on the inputs given by Muthappa Rai”, instead he says he has done his research and spoken to Rai’s former colleagues, cops, advocates involved in his cases, besides various persons who have passed through the protagonist’s life.

Talking about his choice of topic, Varma said, “For me Rai is more than what is portrayed as legend.” Varma adds that he has not “revealed the storyline to Rai; he trusts me.”

Varma is at the moment focussed on making a film on one of the most dynamic characters he has come across. Because of the subject and its maker, the rights of the Hindi, Telugu and Tamil have already been acquired by noted distributors.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 7:26:15 PM |

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