Doha-Qatar: Karnataka Sangha Qatar, city’s prominent socio cultural group conducted a press meet with ace sandalwood actor Dr. Shivarajkumar at Mercury Hall, Radisson Blu Hotel Doha.
KSQ president H K Madhu introduced Shivarajkumar to the media and highlighted his commendable contribution to Kannada cinema. Senior Vice President Venkat Rao, General Secretary Sandesh Anand, Vice President Subramanya Hebbagelu shared the dais with Shivanna.
Addressing mediapersons Shivanna said, “Kannada Cinema is the industry where major roots of Kannada literature and traditions have been nurtured and kept alive and I am happy to be a part of it”.
Doha major media representative and KSQ committee members were present on the occasion. The programme continued with an interactive session with the superstar. For every question Shivanna answered with exuberant yet humble words and a smiling face. Here are the excerpts of the interview:
Media: You have always been against dubbing of movies from other languages. Why?
Shivanna: Yes. Dubbing will ruin our artistes. We not only concentrate on the commercial success of our movies, but also are concerned about our artistes.
Media: Are you against remakes of movies from other language?
Shivanna: No. My opinion is, if the story of the movie is good, we can think about remaking it into Kannada. The idea is to entertain our Kannada audience. But I always prefer originality. We have to think about our own stories and scripts.
Media: What is your opinion about Kannada Cinema nowadays?
Shivanna: Movie trends are changing nowadays. There is more creativity and innovation in the industry. Movies like “Rangi Taranga”, “Mungaru Male” and “Kotigobba” are not only commercial successes but also game changers for Kannada Cinema.
Media: While the old Kannada movies were taking a place in people’s hearts, the new movies are not that effective. What is your say on this?
Shivanna: Old Kannada movies were mostly close to common man’s life. The lyricist and directors used to put great efforts and dedication to write every single line and it was equivalent to a sadhana. But nowadays, everything is done by clicking computer keys; everything is quite easy. However, I feel, a few movies like Mungaru Male, Rangi Taranga, Doddmane Huduga have brought in new trends and earned commercial success too.
Media: Some Kannada movie songs are meaningless and matchless to the story. What is your opinion about it?
Shivanna: Some people like such songs and some people do not. Even such songs are commercial successes. But I prefer having good songs because music will always capture both heart and mind. There are many young talented lyricists and directors like Anup Bhandary, Yogaraj Bhat, Rakshith Shetty. I hope big changes will come in the future.
Media: Do you watch other language movies?
Shivanna: Yes. I go to theatre, purchase ticket and watch movies if they are really good. Usually I watch south Indian movies. There are a lot of good Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu movies. Recently, I watched “Puli Murugan” and Mohanlal has done a very good job. All south Indian movie makers are our best friends and we always give respect and love to each other.
Media: How do you spare time for your family amid your busy schedule?
Shivanna: Family is always first in my life. I am very lucky to have a sweet family-Ammaji, my brothers, my sisters, wife and kids, who always support me. I work from 9 am to 6 pm every day. But after work, I spend most of my time with my family. Punctuality is necessary for every actor. When I am at work, I put all my efforts to stick to the timings. I advise other crew members too to follow discipline, as extending the time will delay a film’s release and also increase the cost of the movie. Going early from the work or coming late will create bad impression; hence I never prefer such things.
Media: Who is your favorite actor?
Shivanna: My favorite actor is Kamal Hassan. He is a versatile actor and has played different roles. I like his acting style and creative adaptabilities.
Media: What is your dream project?
Shivanna: I would like to make one movie like “Bhakta Kumbara”. Technology was not developed in the 70s, but Kannada Film Industry gave good movies those days.
Media: What is the secret of your energy? You look ever young and smiling always?
Shivanna: To be frank, I really don’t know. I am always active and interested to meet new people and visit new places. I am keen to know and meet my fans.
Media: What’s your say on fans’ way of celebrating movie releases like making big cut outs of actors and pouring honey, milk etc.
Shivanna: I always advise my fans not to do such things. Don’t waste your money. Even if it is Rs 10, spend it on your family. But still some crazy fans do such things. It’s their love and respect to the stars. I am not great; my fans are always great. They made me whatever I am today. My fans are like God to me.
Media: What is your opinion about demonetisation of Rs 500, Rs1000 notes in India? Has it affected the Kannada film industry?
Shivanna: It is a great move from Narendra Modi government. Kannada Film Industry can never get affected from this because we all have hard-earned money, but the release of some movies has been postponed. Even I had many Rs 50, Rs100 notes in my house. I always keep all these notes in one big box. When I counted, it was Rs 60,000. Every small amount of money is important for me. I am always against wasting of money.
Media: Your old movies were always having the story with a village backdrop. Do you prefer such characters only?
Shivanna: Those days Kannada movies concentrated on such characters. Good directors and story writers kept an eye on our village traditions and fairs. I want to try every character. Some of my movies were shot in London and Paris. Very soon my movie “Leader” is going to release. I’m a sporting a different look and character.
Media: Why do many Kannada actors speak in English while conversing? Is that they do not know Kannada?
Shivanna: That is their choice. Most of the Kannada actors know Kannada. Outsiders come to our sets, learn Kannada and speak more fluently than us. I speak in Kannada and minimise the use of English words, especially while conversing with Kannadigas.
Media: What is your opinion about “Mastigudi Tragedy”?
Shivanna: Yes, that is a great loss to Kannada Film Industry. We lost young actors like Uday and Anil. Both were growing well in the industry. Both had signed new movies. According to me, it was a big blunder. If they didn’t know swimming, they should not have gone for such stunts. Every actor must think about his own safety every time. They could avoid such tragedy. We have assured help for the deceased actors’ families from our side, and even appealed to the government of Karnataka for help.
Media: Many say you will take Rajkumar’s (Appaji) place in the film industry?
Shivanna: No, not at all. Rajkumar is different and Shiva is different. Shiva has come from Rajkumar. That’s why my name is Shivaraj Kumar. Neither Shiva nor any other can replace Rajkumar.
Media: Your purpose of visit to Qatar?
Shivanna: I am here to join Karnataka Sangha Qatar’s Rajyotsava celebration. I felt that I should visit this beautiful country at least once. During Kalyan Jewellers’ outlet inauguration, I got an opportunity to come here, but because of my movie schedule, I couldn’t make it. After coming here I realised that there are many Kannadigas and many fans too! It is a real surprise for me.
Media: What is your opinion about Karnataka Rajyotsava Celebration?
Shivanna: Everyone from Karnataka and who reside in Karnataka must celebrate Rajyotsava. It is important to give respect to mother Bhuvaneshawari. My ancestors are from Tamil Nadu and my education was in Tamil. But my mother tongue is Kannada and profession is in Kannada. I am proud to be a Kannadiga. Rajyotsava is a day to celebrate unity and harmony. I feel the whole world is one. We should not differentiate people by languages. Even Tamil Nadu, Kerala have their formation days. We have to respect each and every one. We have to give priority for communal harmony.