Well-known Kannada film director Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar, whose Amruthadhaare just completed 28 weeks in theatres here, says he makes films purely for profit.
"I am not making films for charity and want to get my money back. I also want to entertain people," said the director.
"Frankly speaking, though I expected the film to strike a chord with the family audiences, the level of success has surprised me," Chandrashekhar said.
About Amitabh Bachchan's guest appearance in Amruthadhaare, he said: "Amitabh-ji was a perfect choice for the role he played. He did a great job in that five-minute role."
Excerpts from an interview:
You had started out by making films on a shoestring budget but now spend extravagantly on projects with songs shot abroad.
I don't think that I am deliberately going commercial by shooting song sequences abroad. I just shoot sequences according to the script. I firmly believe that though I narrate different types of scripts on the screen, I have to engage the audience throughout the film and it depends on good visuals and quality music.
I am not making films for charity and want to get my money back. I also want to entertain people. I became a popular writer because my writing struck a chord with the readers. I want to repeat the experiment when I am making a film.
Amruthadhaare has become a big hit. Did you expect this? What do you think is the major attraction of the film?
Frankly speaking, though I expected the film to strike a chord with the family audiences, the level of success has surprised me. Many people warned me that my film was too "classy" and might attract only a limited audience. But young people have thronged the theatres to see the film.
I think it is the success of the Kannada audience who were dying for a good film that was clean and progressive.
Do you think the presence of Amitabh Bachchan in the film helped?
Amitabh-ji was a perfect choice for the role he played. He played Amitabh himself. He did a great job in that five-minute role. I did not dream that he would accept the role when I sent the script to him through one of my contacts.
Most of your films have strong musical content. Is this because you take more interest in the music and write lyrics for films yourself?
I think lyrics are as important as the music. Happily, my NRI friend Mano Murthy from the US, a terrific music buff, helped me out by providing top-class music for three of my films.
Earlier films like America And America and Nanna Preethiya Hudugi, for which he scored music, became box-office hits because of the rich and fresh compositions. Now people are telling me that the music is a strong point even in Amruthadhaare.
Don't you think cinematography, too, played an important role in the success of Amruthadhaare?
Cameraman Krishna Kumar has always been a great asset to me. Though I had shot the songs sequences of all my earlier films abroad, this time I preferred some undiscovered shooting spots in the country. It was like a 'Bharat darshan', which involved shooting from Kanyakumari to Leh and Ladakh.
Expectations were high from Upendra-starrer Superstar. Why did it fail to meet people's expectations?
I think there is no point in post mortems. I have a lot of respect for stars like Upendra and Ravichandran who rise above the prejudices of the trade and agree to work in films that are slightly different. If everything falls into place, I will again work with Uppi and direct a successful film.
Is it true that you are directing a film with Vishnuvardhan?
He has been highly appreciative of my work since my first film. I will be working with him in a new film to be produced by K Manju. We are now in the process of shooting two song sequences in Amsterdam. Vishnuvardhan and Suhasini are participating in the shooting. But I would not like to divulge anything about the film's story.