A travel flick that portrays the emotional journey of five protagonists, director Sunil Bhimrao’s debut film Onthara Bannagalu promises to be an intriguing tale. Up for release in February, the movie stars Kiran Srinivas, Hitha Chandrashekar, Sonu Gowda, Prathap Narayan and Praveen Pugalia. Throwing more light on the project, Sunil says, “Bannagalu means colours and represents the five main leads. The film shows the five of them going on a trip, what happens to them and what they go through during the journey. Kiran, Prathap and Praveen play childhood friends Jai, Sree and Ram respectively. They’re frustrated with the corporate world and want to get out of the rat race, and end up travelling with the two girls,” reveals Sunil.
A computer engineer from New Horizon, Sunil went on to do his MBA in marketing and finance from Symbiosis University. With eight years of corporate experience, he’s worked for various companies across Gurgaon, Delhi and Bengaluru.
His team journeyed to various locations including Badami and also shot at Symbiosis, Pune making Onathara Bannagalu the first south Indian film to be shot on that campus.
As for the cast, Sunil maintains that the team worked like they were family or friends. “We made them travel in one car so that they could bond and build a rapport. They were down-to-earth, had no egos and did not treat us like freshers. We wrapped up the shoot in 29 days,” he says.
Sunil has two brothers and is married to Roopa, who’s working as an assistant professor and also pursuing her PhD.
Reminiscing his journey in films until now, the filmmaker reveals that he was an assistant who was chosen to script Upendra’s Uppi 2 in 2013. “Around that time, I visited Badami with my friends and that’s where this idea was born. Sometimes, when you watch a film or eat something and you’re unable to judge how it was, you say it was ‘onthara’ and the characters in the film are similar. They’re good, but also do things that aren’t right — that’s how the title came about,” he says.
In 2016, Sunil thought of giving the project a serious shot and that’s when he met cinematographer Manohar Joshi, who asked him to develop the script. Soon, Sunil met the lead cast and had to do a bit of convincing to rope Kiran in. Having quit his job at an MNC, the filmmaker reveals that both the environments are as different as chalk and cheese. “During my job, I had to work in a controlled environment, had no monetary worries, but couldn’t do anything interesting as I was bound by processes. But now, I’m free in my thoughts, need to be on my toes 24/7 and any wrong move can hamper my progress,” he shares.