Chaitanya to recreate Aa Dinagalu Magic in upcoming Aake

Beangaluru, 10th May 2017. It’s tough to describe namma KM Chaitanya of Aa Dinagalu fame. Is he art-house or the commercial type? Mainstream or middle cinema? Maybe even he can’t tell. But why bother when people who watch his movies stand up and applaud him in a theatre? It happened when audiences stood up and clapped watching Chaitanya’s Aatagara, an edge-of-the-seat thriller. Critics lauded its unwavering narrative and unflinching pace – a signature style of Chaitanya, the Creative.

Now, he’sback with Aake, starring again Chiru Sarja, the hero of Aatagara, and SharmilaMandre. An adaptation of the hugely successful Maya in Telugu, Aake also willmark the entry of Eros International in Sandalwood who will be releasing thefilm worldwide along with Mysore Talkies. Eros International is co producingthe film with KS Dreams and Nakshatra.

Aake’s firstlook and trailer released recently has stirred the expectations of theaudience. Much of Aake was shot in UK with a mostly British crew. Carl Austinhas co-written the screenplay with Chaitanya, while Ian Howes is the directorof photography and Paul Burns the production designer. Gurukiran has been ropedin as the music director, his first ever film with Chaitanya. The Aake team hasalmost wrapped up the post-production work and it is due for release in a fewweeks from now. Will Chaitanya’s magic once again wow the box office?

Sandalwoodindustry is excited that after Eros International's debut entry in Kannada withAake, the buzz is that Chaitanya's next film is being distributed by yetanother corporate biggie, Reliance Entertainment.

Many die hardkannada film buffs feel that Chaitanya is talented enough to recreate the latelegendary Shankar Nag’s magic. Like Nag, Chaitanya too straddles both art andmainstream films, TV and theatre. The irony is, he has no great love lost forTV, though his repertoire encompasses the complete range including a number ofTV serials, documentaries, feature films and corporate films. “Frankly, TVsoaps are not my cup of tea and I hate the idea of shooting 22 minutes offootage every day,” he says candidly. He also does not like to bow to thedictates of TRPs, which basically throttles creativity. And yet, he’s the mostdeserving flag-bearer of Shankar Nag – and arguably, Puttanna Kanagal – givenhis visual sense and unflagging narrative style which mark the grammar andsyntax of his movies, from Aa Dinagalu to Aatagara and even Parari, an out andout commercial comical romp.

Aa Dinagalu,which won him the award for best direction, in addition to best film and bestsupporting actor, has become a benchmark for bridge cinema in Kannada. Based onBangalore’s notorious underworld and essentially a face-off between the 80sdons, Kotwal Ramachandra and Jairaj, it did not glorify violence, and also didnot have any fight scenes. It won both critical and commercial acclaim and alsoopened the international market to Kannada films for the first time.

From moviesbased on real life incidents to thrillers and comedy and now horror, one istempted to believe that Chaitanya likes to do different things, but then itwould be more accurate to say that he does things differently rather than doingdifferent things. For example, in Parari, a laugh riot, he experimented withthe idea of making the viewers laugh without having to say anything. This isreally a tough thing to do for we are a very auditory audience, but that’s howhe pushes the creativity barrier, frame by frame, movie by movie.

For a person whose filmography is a pocketbook-encyclopedia, you would expect that Chaitanya takes films for the wellinformed and the smart movie junkie. Again, he surprises you by saying that hisessential target audience is those under 25years. Though, one may add,conditions don’t apply!

Chaitanya idolises Girish Karnad and has even made adocumentary on him for the Central Sahitya Academi. Like his guru Girish Karnadwho effortlessly strides across both art and commercial films, Chaitanya hasproved his hand at both, winning encomiums from both critics as well as themasses. Even though he abhors the idea of atrade-off between creativity andcommerce, he concedes that “the basic idea of cinema is it has to beentertaining and we intend to entertain with every piece of work we do”. Inother words, Chaitanya, the Creative, makes films that can be seen in aninternational festival as well as your neighbourhood theatre.

After being a documentary filmmaker for BBC, director andproducer of TV shows, ad filmmaker, passionate theatre person, and the pioneerof bridge cinema in Sandalwood, Chaitanya has nothing to prove, save one: Tomake Kannada films great again.

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