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No heroine, no songs: Director M G Srinivas on ‘Ghost’

After impressing the audience with the thriller ‘Birbal Trilogy Case 1: Finding Vajramuni’ and the recent rom-com ‘Old Monk’, actor-director MG Srinivas is back to start his own cinematic universe. His upcoming flick, ‘Ghost’ starring Shivarajkumar will release on October 19, amidst other Dasara big releases. In a conversation with Showtime, he reveals more about the film. Excerpts:

Why did you have Shivarajkumar in mind while writing the script for the film?

I started working on the script during the pandemic. The moment my previous film ‘Old Monk’ released, I got a call from Sandesh Productions asking if I had a script for Shivanna (Shivarajkumar). Things started falling into place swiftly.

He was one actor I’ve always wanted to direct. I am his fan first, director next. Apart from the professional front, working with him and being around him has taught me the importance of humility and simplicity. If he can be this grounded, real, and humble, after delivering so many hit films, it only makes me realise how I need to conduct myself going forward.

What is the film about? Do you reprise your role as Mahesh Das in it?

The film takes place in a span of 48 hours and in a jail. My character from the ‘Birbal Trilogy’, Mahesh Das, is a part of this film too. With this project I hope to establish a cinematic universe. We need certain kinds of characters and situations to create a multiverse and ‘Ghost’ and ‘Birbal’ gave me the space to do so.

Does this mean that the next instalment of ‘Birbal’ is on its way? Or will ‘Ghost’ see another part soon?

Yes. Next in line is ‘Birbal 2’ and after that we will be shooting ‘Ghost 2’.

How many languages will the film release in? Do you feel that pan-India films work?

The film will see a release in all south Indian languages and Hindi. If the story is universal or has someone or something that one can connect with, I don’t see why language should be a barrier. Also, in ‘Ghost’, actors from different industries (Jayaram and Anupam Kher) have come together to be a part of a Kannada film.

Tell us about the de-aging technique that has been used on Shivarajkumar.

Writing a look like this is easy but the execution is challenging. We checked with a few VFX companies in India and I was not satisfied. So, we went ahead with Asoo VFX in Tehran, Iran, who has also worked on projects like ‘RRR’ and ‘Ponniyin Selvan: II’. The company sent me a reference shot of the de-aged look of Shivanna, and we were convinced and went ahead.

In ‘Ghost’, the younger version of Shivanna looks similar to his younger brother Puneeth, which has created a buzz online. However, this was quite evident in the actor’s earlier films like ‘Anand’, ‘Ratha Sapthami’, ‘Inspector Vikram’ etc.The film does not have a female lead and songs. Why?

The story doesn’t demand a female lead or any songs, one can expect background music in fight sequences.

Is the film releasing at midnight?

We are planning a fan show at midnight at K G Road, Gandhinagar. This will be the first time in the Kannada film industry, where a theatre will have a midnight show.

What are otherthings the industrycan expect from you in the next few years?

Being an actor and director is not easy. I started as a background dancer, and went on to become a radio jockey, after which I made short films and feature films. I always wanted to be an actor and Upendra sir suggested that I should try my hand at being a director.

(Published 13 October 2023, 23:47 IST)

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