It was a celebration of all the arts coming together when a Kannada film completed 100 days at the box office in the past. What followed after hitting this coveted century was a memorable extravaganza honouring the makers, and most of all — a thanksgiving to the fans and audience. The process itself was so exciting recall a couple of Sandalwood personalities who have seen the glorious days of the past, and compare it to present day which has seen a sea of change which seems to have forgotten this 100-day mark with only a few films like RangiTaranga, Ramachari and Krishna Leela hitting a century in 2015.
“There were not many theatres in the past, and any film that released had a long path to success. All Dr Rajkumar’s films would complete 100 days, whereas films of Dr Vishnuvardhan, Ambareesha, Shivanna, Ravichandran would witness a huge support from the audience. As the films inched towards the 100-day mark, the producer would start planning celebrations, by placing orders for specially-made shields and momentos. It would take weeks for the momentos to arrive from Chennai. Once they reached Bengaluru, there would be a festival mood and a grand celebration,” says Venkatesh of Raghavendra Chitravani who is more popularly known as Sudheendhra Venkatesh, who has so far promoted more than 800 Kannada films.
Crazy Star Ravichandran, who started a new craze in the industry with the impeccable success of Prema Loka and Ranadheera, is known for his larger than life celebrations honouring success. After his debut film as both actor and director starring Juhi Chawla broke records, giving birth to the Crazy Star himself, and musician Hamsalekha, his second film which was inspired by Subash Ghai’s Hero witnessed another historical feat. “Many cannot forget the 100-day event of Ranadheera. The shields can still be seen at Kapali Theatre. It was the genius of Ravichandran and his producer father Veeraswamy who planned the event. The shield has a metal flute and a pistol hat. Any producer would love to keep it as a memory of a past success and even prestigious film houses would take this as an opportunity to honour the makers. It was success of a film beyond commercial business,” says film critic Subramanya.
Films like Bangarada Manushya, and almost all of Dr Raj’s films would often witness this grand scale of things. “At present, most films have a short life span of not more than four weeks at any cinema hall. Those earlier celebrations have become a rare phenomenon. From shields, some banners shifted to distributing silver merchandise and gold coins. When Mungaru Male completed 100 days, the celebrations saw a huge gathering at Palace Grounds,” adds Venkatesh.
Indeed, the golden era of Sandalwood had all the reasons to celebrate, and with the glimpse of it making a comeback, many hope for the glorious past to reinvent itself with more 100-day marks. With shields and coins in abundance, of course.