A first-of-its kind in Kannada cinema, Babru is a road trip film that will see Beladingala Baale Suman Nagarkar return to the silver screen as lead. What’s unique about this movie is that it’s been entirely shot in the United States of America. In a candid conversation, Suman and her husband Gurudev Nagaraj, who is the executive producer of the film, reveal more about their ambitious project.
“The movie happened when a group of us got together to make a short film about piracy and thought, ‘why don’t we do something nobody has done before.’
Since all of us live in the US, we wanted to do something there, and that’s how this first Kannada film to be completely made in the US originated — the entire crew is from the United States too. We shot in places like the Grand Canyon, Death Valley and Redwoods — we drove 10,000 miles to get footage for the film,” says Gurudev, adding, “It’s a journey movie about a car named Babru with two or three people travelling in it.”
In the story, the car is shown travelling from Mexico to the United States with numerous twists along the way, and encounters between strangers who travel together.
The film has been funded by Gurudev and his friends. Infact, the team is kicked about the fact that the entire project has been supported by NRI Kannadigas. “You could call it a Kannada Hollywood film as it looks like a Hollywood movie!” says Gurudev, who reveals an interesting bit of news. “We have Lauren Spartano, the lead actress in Shuddhi, playing a guest role in the film.”
The talented Poornachandra Tejaswi is lending music to the film. It’s also an exciting project considering Suman will be gracing the silver screen as lead. “When you make a comeback, you don’t usually get such good roles — so this was a great experience. The framing and ambience of the film itself will look different for the people here,” reveals Suman.
Talking about how the crew drove to many spots in the country, Suman recollects, ‘I remember we drove through Las Vegas and the very next week, we heard about a shooting that took place there! But all the places we went to are spots I’ve been to before. Filming at the Redwood Forest at 3 am when it was freezing is an experience I’ll never forget.”
While she’s busy juggling between her two homes — Bengaluru and California, Suman has also completed another movie titled Brahmi, under her own production house.
With KFI doing quite a few script-oriented, non-massy films, Suman is happy to see people in the industry thinking outside the typical formula. “We hope to see more encouragement from the audience and it’s nice to see the younger generation thinking differently.”
With most of her contemporaries not acting anymore or acting as mothers of lead characters on the big screen, Suman maintains that she’s looking for independent and significant roles. “I won’t play the heroine’s mom unless the story itself is about the mother. It’s not just the Kannada industry, the Indian industry itself feels that actresses should play mothers once they cross their 40s, while this rule doesn’t apply to heroes. But in Hollywood, you have female lead characters played even by 60-year-olds. With different stories coming up, I hope to get some good roles,” she says. When not engaged in films, Suman teaches Hindustani classical music to Indian kids and adults in the US to give them a knowledge of desi culture and Gurudev works for an IT firm. The couple also loves to haunt local food joints for a taste of the best doses. “We’re foodies and love to explore food places in namooru, which we feel is the food capital.
we’re vegetarians and what we miss the most in the US is what we eat here — masala dose and crisp uddina vada. Our favourite restaurants are Vidyarthi Bhavan for masala dose and SLV in Gandhi Bazaar for rave dose.”
Travel junkies, the couple loves to hike and travel in the US, Caribbean and other countries....