An engineer who took to films full-time out of sheer passion, director Hemanth Rao is surely one of a kind. The filmmaker’s first directorial titled Godhi Banna Saadharana Mykattu which released last Friday is garnering critical acclaim and praise from film-goers.
“Godhi Banna is primarily about a 66-year- old man Venkob Rao who goes missing from Basavanagudi. It focuses on the search that follows and what really happens when a son tries to find his father. The film has other layers as well,” reveals Hemanth, who did a lot of research when he was writing the film.
“I got in touch with families of missing persons. When people go missing, there’s a lack of closure as the families don’t know what’s happened and have no idea if the person is even alive. It opens up a can of worms with what happens internally in a person. That is something I wanted to explore in terms of human emotions. I started reading about Alzheimer’s and wanted to give the film a naturalistic treatment rather than make it formula-centric,” says Hemanth.
Before taking up direction, Hemanth had assisted Girish Kasaravalli during Gulabi Talkies and Jacob Verghese in Prithvi and Savaari. “After my engineering, I got into films. I was the kind who would watch a film even before his exam!” says the director.
As someone with no filmi connection, how hard was it to get into the industry? “It’s always hard. Connections can get you through the door, but again it comes down to making things happen. I started off in 2005, so it’s been a good 10 years now. The journey has been enriching. I learnt a lot in the process.”
How did he choose the cast for his debut film? “When I was writing the script, I didn’t have anyone in mind, but as the story started taking shape, I knew that Anant Sir would fit perfectly. All the actors I approached said yes at the first go. Rakshit had his reservations, but later he was convinced by my story telling ability and filmmaking. Anant Sir liked the subtleties of the emotions that I was trying to portray,” he says.
For someone who’s making a content-rich film, Hemanth finds the current Kannada industry extremely encouraging. “I knew who I was making the film for. I grew up watching Kannada films. There has been an identity to Kannada films which hasn’t been present in the past 10 years. Twenty years ago, we had an identity. Telugu films were over the top and loud, Tamil films brought out rustic elements and nativity. But our films have been about human emotions and the bond between different elements in the family. I made the film for those who have stopped coming to the theatre. There’s a big audience for Kannada films, it’s just that they’re watching them at home. I’d be very happy if my film brings back audiences to the theatres.” Well, it looks like he has succeeded....