FRIDAY REVIEW

It still rains fame

NOT A FACE IN THE CROWD With six big hits, Ganesh still retains an air of simplicity

NOT A FACE IN THE CROWD With six big hits, Ganesh still retains an air of simplicity   | Photo Credit: Photo: Murali Kumar K.

S. SHIVA KUMAR

Mungaaru Maley came as a major turning point in the life of actor Ganesh. He continues to top the charts with his latest release, Aramane, running to packed halls

Failure can be dissected but success should only be savoured. From TV to being in the fringes of a film’s frame to the unbelievable fame he’s achieved today has been an arduous journey for Ganesh. He’s a phenomenon. He brought back the family into the theatres and there’s something endearing that each family member finds in him.

Ganesh had six big hits but retains an air of simplicity. He seems to be aware that all this is ephemeral. . Contrary to first day reports of half-empty theatres, families are now flocking the halls showing “Aramane”. .

The interview:

At the premiere of ‘Hudugata’ you spoke about the irony of being the brand ambassador of Reliance, while just the previous year you could not afford to have a phone. At that time what was your ambition?

I wanted to grow beyond my expectations. Becoming a top star was definitely something I aspired for. I wanted every one on the streets to recognise me.

Did you treat TV as a stepping stone?

It’s difficult without a godfather. People want to know what you’ve done. I left my village near Nelamangala and was all alone in Bangalore. I did some plays and then started acting in mega serials. I would knock on the doors of producers with my portfolio. If they took me fine, otherwise I felt it was their bad luck (laughs). I was curious about the craft too. I worked as an assistant director and cameraman for a serial.

Did you feel you had connected with your audience when you did the interactive show ‘Comedy Time’?

When I acted as one among four heroes in a film I wanted to outshine them. I wanted people and the producers to remember me. I had accompanied Srinagara Kitty to a shoot when I got a call from Udaya TV offering me this show. I was busy doing films and didn’t give it much thought. A friend who was supposed to do the show goaded me. I asked for more money simply because I didn’t want to do the show but they agreed. Within 15 days the show became a super-hit. I became famous and suddenly there was lots of money every month. I was the highest paid TV artiste. I had to break my back for 20 days in movies and then beg for a paltry sum.

I did one thousand episodes and like you said I started connecting. It was emotional.

Who gave you the confidence that you could make it big in cinema?

Everything just happened. I made my debut as a villain. Then I did comedy as the hero’s sidekick. M.D. Sridher and producer Jagdish had the confidence that I could play the hero. They felt that since I was popular on the small screen I could carry it off in films too. ‘Chellata’ ran for 100 days which gave me the confidence.

‘Mungaaru Maley’ happened because you took Yograj Bhat to the producer.

I took him to a lot of big producers. Nobody showed interest which is when I took him to Krishnappa. The rest is history. I was popular but the songs and dialogues in ‘Mungaaru Maley’ were on every tongue. The phone calls increased as more and more people watched the film.

You keep walking away from the girls you fall for in movies and yet you have a phenomenal female fan following.

I really don’t know what the logic is. I wish I knew. I think different people like different things about me. It’s true…you cannot plan success or my popularity.

You seem to have taken the elevator to success.

No I’m still climbing the stairs. I’m a big star but as an actor I haven’t achieved anything still. I’m hungry for good characters not money. Every character I play is challenging otherwise I wouldn’t play it.

But you haven’t tried anything different.

You should watch ‘Aramane’. It’s an emotional character. I did ‘Cheluvina Chitthara’ which was challenging to me.

Do you sometimes feel that it’s your presence that makes all these films hits?

It’s team work. I may be able to draw crowds for a couple of weeks but after that the film’s quality will decide its fate.

Have the female fans lessened after your wedding?

I don’t think so. They come to watch what I do onscreen. If that happens there wouldn’t be any superstars in India.

The flipside to fame is the loss of freedom. Are you enjoying being in the spotlight?

Everybody does their work. It’s because I’m famous that I’m written about. The press has a job to do and I feel any publicity is good publicity.

I’m enjoying every moment of it.



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