He is on cloud nine after signing on Mammootty for Shikari, the Malayalam superstar's first Kannada film. And director Abhay Simha now wants to rope in Bollywood actress Konkona Sen Sharma for the female lead.
"Konkona is busy with her Hindi projects, but she was impressed with the script. We hope that we would be able to get her dates once the project rolls," said Simha, who received a lot of appreciation for his directorial debut Gubbachchigalu, about the journey of city kids to search for sparrows.
Explaining how Mammootty came on board, Simha told IANS: "One of my batchmates from FTII (Film & Television Institute Of India, Pune) was working as a cinematographer for a Mammootty film. Through him I got the telephone number of Mammootty's secretary. I called the secretary and told him I have an interesting script for the star. Within a few hours I got a call from Mammootty, who asked me to e-mail the script. I immediately sent the content of the script on e-mail.
"A few days later, Mammootty's secretary called me again and asked me to call the actor personally. Two days later I met Mammootty and he agreed to work in the film and said he would finalise the dates in a few days. When he agreed to do my Kannada film, I was on cloud nine."
Mammootty has acted in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu films, but he hasn't worked in any Kannada film because none of the scripts impressed him. So "Shikari", which is about the systematic exploitation of nature and environment, will be the superstar's first Kannada film.<b1>
"The screenplay has some novel features. When I was writing the script, I had always thought about Mammootty sir," said Simha.
Shikari is being produced by Mangalore-based industrialist N.R. Shetty, who had earlier made Shubham with Shivadhwaj in the lead.
Simha believes in good cinema and his passion for filmmaking grew after he made a 45-minute documentary on the psychology of twins, triplets and quadruplets. He has 19 documentaries, 10 short films and two music videos to his credit.
"I believe in good cinema, which is both entertaining and sensible. No, I don't believe in abstract films because a film has to reach out to the common man," said Simha.
Well-known Kannada director Girish Kasaravalli is Simha's source of inspiration.
"I derive all my inspiration from him. He too is a student of FTII. I have seen all his films and I'm awe-struck by his brilliance. I was motivated by him and have now decided to concentrate on Kannada films rather than work in Bollywood," said Simha.