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Rajaram speaks... as movie H2O,
his directorial debut with Lokanath
is completing 100 days


How did H2O happen?

That is an interesting story. Mr. Upendra had thought about the concept long back, even before making his movie “A”, with the star cast being Dr. Rajkumar, and superstar Rajnikanth.  This thought came due to the riots in Karnataka because of the Kaveri Water issue. Unfortunately, this movie could not takeoff and was dropped due to Dr. Rajkumar’s knee problem.  After Mr. Upendra became Hero through movie "A", he went on acting in several other movies, until one day when Mr. Dhanraj showed interest to produce the movie “H2O”. Mr. Upendra considered this offer and went with Mr. Prabhudeva as the co-star. And the movie "H2O" was launched on 8th December, 2000 and was released all over Karnataka on 29th March, 2002. And now on 6th July, 2002 it will be completing 100 days of successful run.





H2O Producer Dhanraj and Rajaram
at Kapali Theatre

Your directorial debut H2O is nearing 100 days. How do you feel?

As our directorial debut (Lokanath and Rajaraam) "H2O" movie is nearing 100 days, I am proud to be a part and parcel of this prestigious project which will be in the history of Indian Film Industry.  Working with so many great personalities made me more matured as a Technician.

How was it working with Lokanath? You have any idea to continue this combination of you two?

Mr. Lokanath is a hard worker with an interest to do something different in the film making. He is a very good co-director to work with, and he loves films so much that he will never miss to watch any good movies and he used to discuss about those movies with his colleagues to learn good points from them and use them in his work. And I would very much like to work with him in a future project, provided that the project is a bigger one like “H2O” and the producer is willing to have two directors.

'Shooting for a movie, without a title’. Did that just happened or was that pre-planned?

It was not pre-planned! When Mr. Upendra discussed the concept of the movie with Mr. Dhanraj, he started discussing in his circle that his next venture with Mr. Upendra will be titled "KAVERI", but to his bad luck Mr. Upendra suggested that class title will never match to his kind of movies. So, we were searching for a mass title and could not find one before the Muhurat date.  Hence, the movie was untitled for some time.  When Mr. Upendra finalized the title as "H2O" after discussing it with Mr. Dhanraj, it was officially announced in the local tabloids.

Did you have any unforgettable moments during the making of H2O?

There were many, and a few among them are: 

  • The Muhurat at Bangalore Palace.
  • Tremors in Rajasthan, while shooting at Sam Sand Dunes.
  • Shooting location was 60 km from Pakistan Border.
  • Using 200 Horses for Scenes related to an ancient kingdom.
  •  Erecting sets for the first time on a sand dune which is highly impossible.
  • While exploding smoke bombs, petrol bombs, color bombs for our filming, Border Security Force interfered and checked all our ammunition kit and allowed us only for one day, because we were shooting at the national border of Pakistan, where helicopters were not allowed to shoot the movie
  • Priyanka fell on a fire ball and burnt her arm, while moving backwards, away from Prabhudeva in a song sequence. Fortunately, only a part of her hand was burnt and she was able to make it for the next day’s shoot.
  • Upendra while shooting at Bangalore Palace got his leg fractured doing a chasing scene.  And the shooting schedule was postponed for almost a month.
  • Upendra & Priyanka both on the 12 feet Globe at Ooty was a highlight.
  • Bringing Ganga-Jamuna the only Siamese Twins alive in the world, from Calcutta to Bangalore and working with them and their eagerness towards acting.
  • Composing tunes for the film, while traveling in a Mahindra Voyager with Upendra & Sadhu Kokila
  • Working with the whole team throughout the project was most unforgettable.

H2O, Was that not a risky title?

Never !  "H2O" can never be a risky title. In fact, it was a Million Dollar Title!  Because the name can educate the illiterates about the chemical formula for water and at the same time, it can refresh the memory of those educated ones too. Apart from that, it was short, a crowd puller and a ‘mass’ title

How was it, directing Upendra?

For me, it was cool because, I had already been in that position in the movie "UPENDRA" where I worked very closely with Mr. Upendra. He respects people who are capable of handling the situation very well from behind the camera.  It is not just taking care of the acting part but also to control the whole team. If he is comfortable with the other person’s capability, then he takes suggestions for his performances too. So, I had a similar experience with "H2O" also. But, I don’t know about my counterpart director Mr. Lokanath's views on this question.

Did you have any bad experiences at Gujarat due to Earthquake?

Though we never shot at Gujarat, we faced a tremor while shooting at Sam Sand Dunes and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. But we never had a bad experience. The fort at Jaisalmer, Sonar Killa was partly broken from the impact of tremor.  While coming back we had to cross Ahamadabad, Gujarat where the maximum earthquake had struck. We were there half an hour from 5.00 AM to 5.30 AM at the Railway station. All that time in the railway station, all of us were trying to get out of Ahamadabad at the earliest to protect our lives!  We were holding our breath until the train got onto its wheels.

What was peculiar in using a 435 camera for H2O?

A technical question!  ARRI 435 ES is the latest camera of its kind in India. But, it is outdated in the western countries. There are a lot of advantages in using this type of camera. This is a Hi-Fi Camera, which one can use for shooting Graphical shots, Masking, Ramping, Indoor-Outdoor one shot auto exposure, variable frames, safety line during night times in the view finder, remote controlled operations, Kowa Lenses of high quality and ranges, monitor for viewing the shots taken on the spot with footage and other details which won’t be there in other cameras. It is a Cinematographers delight, if one gets an ARRI 435 ES.

You had said 'Film Making and Direction are not easy; you need dedication and proper homework’. What type of homework you do?

As part of our home work, we should put each and every stuff, whatever we do to our making, in BLACK & WHITE, i.e., it  should be in a document format. That improves ones dedication and commitment towards the work. And producing a movie like "H2O" is almost equal to performing 100 marriages, because every day a producer has to arrange all the things just like for a marriage event. And 100 days of shooting was estimated for H2O. Hence directing a movie is not a joke, it is almost a penance. Only if you have proper concentration on the project, you can realize whatever you imagine. It is not a child’s play to direct even a small budgeted movie, because you are held responsible for all the consequences of the project.  Hence, a director will always be referred to as the 'CAPTAIN OF THE SHIP'

How is your life after H2O?

Life after "H2O" is like a Britannia 50-50 Biscuit.  I hope you got it! We got the recognition through "H2O" as Film Director, but the product couldn’t reach the mass properly baked, for so many other reasons which could not be conveyed to a normal person. In these circumstances, we are now in a situation, where our next individual directorial movie will become our first movie! Preparations are going on for our forthcoming projects.

What else you do other than film making?

Apart from film making, I read a lot of books, watch movies - both in theatres and  television, surfing the internet, chatting, going for weekend ‘get together’s with my friends, Yogasana class, Health club, watching cartoons, spend some time with my family,…

What is your relationship with Upendra?

He is a good friend of mine and  he was my classmate while I was doing my Commerce Graduation at Acharya Pata Shala College of Commerce, NR Colony, Bangalore for 5 good years.  Now, he is my Guru in my profession, Godfather in the Industry. I had a working experience under him for 4 years as an associate director for all his films. Films titled "A", "SWASTIK" and "UPENDRA" were the films I assisted Mr. Upendra in the direction department. Later on, he assigned me the job of directing "H2O" along with Mr. Lokanath.

What are your current projects?

I am planning a movie with M/s.UshaKiran Movies, and we are working on the script.

What is your future plan?

I would like to show rather than disclose my future plans!

What complications did you face as director for H2O?

For me there were no complications at all.  Because whatever I do while working for a project, I love the work I am doing. 

While shooting for 'SWASTIK'

What’s your focus? (Direction or Acting…)

My first preference is direction (as a Technician). Next comes acting or whatever it is.  Generally most of them who come to the film industry in search of a job will be having an ambition to come in front of the camera at least once in their lifetime. That is one of the reasons why I am into acting recently, as a Professional Artist accepting films for outside banners.

What change you would like to bring into the Kannada industry?

I am like a just born baby with my naming ceremony recently done at Kapali Theatre as a Film Director in the Kannada Film Industry.  Let me first come out of this phase of Baala Kanda, and then only I can show what I can contribute to the Kannada Industry!

How do you feel being directed by someone else?

Let me be frank to you. The one who directs will always be the main person in the sets.  One should be obedient to the said chief Technician, because he is the one who is having a vision of the project. At the same time, a director should also be comfortable to discuss and form a team to do a neat project. So, feeling of being directed by someone is great and I will go on performing according to the situation. If the director thinks in a different way, then I will take his suggestions and try to perform better for the sake of the project. Remember that its  "TEAM WORK".

Still from 'UPENDRA' Movie