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An Interview with Nagabharana
- Harish Mattur, Bangalore

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NagabharanaNagabharana has done it again. He has won the best film award for his critically acclaimed film Singarawwa at the prestigious National Film Awards. This is his seventh National Award. He is a film maker who has given us some very good films like Santha Shishunaala Sharifa, Mysoora Mallige, Chinnari Mutha, Aakasmika, Janumada Jodi and Naagamandala. I met him at the Poornima Enterprises Editing Studio where his latest film Chugirida Kanasu starring Shivrajkumar, Rekha and Vidya is being edited.

OKC: Congratulations you have won the national award for Singarawwa.You have won it after six years how do you feel?
I am delighted that I have won the national award after six years. First I must thank my Producer Sandesh Nagaraj for believing me. For me making the film Singarawwa was a dream come true. The backdrop of the story, the locations the actors the music the technicians have all contributed to make such a good film. So I must congratulate my whole team for their efforts. Whenever I get the national award it puts me on the right track. It motivates me to make better films.

OKC: Tell us about the film Singarawwa.
The film is based on the novel by Chandrashekara Kambaara .The film deals with the subject of fight against the feudal system prevalent during those times .The fight against oppression has given the film a very strong feel. Singaarawwa had to survive amidst a cruel father, an abnormal husband and the feudal society. The dramatic element in the film captivates the imagination of a viewer. It also highlights a lot of women related issues. I think Prema has given an excellent performance as singarawwa. Avinash too has excelled in his role. 

OKC: But unfortunately the film failed to capture the interests of people ,the film was a flop.What is the reason for this?
Its true that singarawwa did not capture the interests of the people. It is due to various reasons. Primarily the people here expect a film to have many special attractions like visual extravaganza, fight sequences etc .When they know that it does not exist in a film they donít even bother about such films. That is why many good films with a very good story does not work here. I also feel that the system of distribution and exhibiting films in Karnataka is very bad. I must admit that my producer Sandesh Nagaraj has been the pillar of strength for this project. His positive attitude and flexibility during the making of this film has helped me a lot.


OKC: Was the competition at this years award tough?
Well, you must ask this to the jury members. As far as I am concerned I know that there were 18 kannada films in the competition and my film won the award. I must also mention my technicians who have made this possible. C Ashwath has given music for the film. Cinematography was done by Gowrishankar. Editing was by Sounderrajan.

OKC: Singarawwa got international recognition when you screened it at the Carlo vi vari film festival. Tell us about the experiences there.
Singarawwa was selected for the other views section of the film festival. It was the only Asian film to be screened at the festival. After the screening there was a very loud applause for three minutes. The experience was very memorable. The people there were impressed because of the cultural base of the film. The character of Singarawwa was also appreciated. For me it was a dream come true as I always wanted to screen my film at carlo vi vari. I was the associate of B V Karanth when he did Chomana Dudi in 1977. It was screened at carlo vi vari. So for me itís a great experience.

OKC: You are one of the very few directors who have maintained a balance between Commercial and Parallel Cinema. How do you manage to do this?
For me each and every film is very important whether it is commercial or parallel. The results may vary. Akasmika Janumada Jodi were big budget films they were super hits. Similarly Nagamandala and Mysooru Mallige were made with small budget. They also were big hits. So its up to the people to accept or reject films. I believe in making good cinema all other aspects are secondary.

OKC: Are remakes killing the creativity of the kannada film makers?
Yes its true that remakes are killing the creativity and identity of the film makers. It is also very bad for the language. The people making remake films copy each and every line each and every scene. They even translate the lyrics of the songs to kannada. When you do this where is the creativity? Its very sad but true that these people who make remakes give some stupid and meaning less reasons for this. They fail to understand that our language kannada has got its own integrity. Our culture has its own identity. Why should we copy some other language films? Itís a crime.

OKC: What is the present condition of the film industry?
Even though the films now a days are below average, I think there are some good film makers here. I am an optimist. I always believe tomorrow will be better. I am confident that the younger generation of actors and technicians will give us some very good films.

OKC: Besides cinema you are also very busy with television serials. Are the serials today as good as the ones which you made in the early nineties?
The main intention of a television serial is to entertain the viewers at home. So its very important to have a very good story. I have enjoyed television as it gives you 
immense satisfaction. Tenali Raama was very popular in the early nineties. Then I made Stone Boy which was a Indo Mauritius project. Now Sankranti, Jeevanmukhi are very popular.

OKC: You also make a lot of children films. Donít you think the area of children films are neglected in kannada?
I am the member of CIFIJ an organization involved in encouraging production of children films. My film Chinnari Muttha won the national award. I plan to make another children film very soon. We have to encourage more film makers to make films for children.

OKC: You are also an eminent theatre director. What are your projects related to theatre and performing arts?
I encourage stage performances and theatre. I am the president of Benaka Makkala Nataka Kendra. B V Karanth and Prema Karanth have helped me to contribute to theatre. I think we must revive the theatre culture in Karnataka.

OKC: You are also a very good actor. Why are you not involved in acting now a days?
As I am a director I cannot act in my projects, I can concentrate only on direction. But for others I have acted in various films. Shankar Nag's Accident was my most memorable performance.

OKC: Who is your favorite director in world cinema?
I admire Kurasawa and Bergman. They have their own distinct styles. The visual treatment of Bergman is amazing. The dramatic structure of Kurasawa is mind blowing. I think these two are the best.

OKC: What is the future of film making in India?
Its very bright. Due to the advent of Digital Technology film making has become cheaper. Now for making an experimental film you need not shell out a lot of money. Soon you will see a lot of unique films made by budding film makers. So I think film making will see a lot of changes both technically and creatively.

OKC: Thank you sir for an wonderful interview.
Thank you.

- Harish Mattur, Bangalore

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