(Southscope March 2012 Issue)
2006-2007 saw the emergence of a new face that created a sensation in the Kannada film industry. But in the subsequent years, success for him became elusive. For any other actor, the return to stardom would have been difficult. But Ganesh has bounced back in style with the hit, Shyloo, to finally silence his detractors.
“Showbiz is fun, and at the same time, challenging. How long we survive here depends on what we give the audiences. In my case, it has been entertainment and nothing else. Till a film hits the screen, nothing can be predicted about its performance. The business of filmmaking is always risky,” declares Ganesh, who has seen both the highs and the lows of tinsel town. The ‘Golden Star’ of the Kannada film industry delivered seven hits in a row, a record that has been emulated by very few actors. Beginning with the trendsetting Mungaru Male, directed by Yogaraj Bhat, Chellata, Hudugaata, Cheluvina Chittara, Krishna and Gaalipata, Ganesh was the man with the Midas Touch! But 2008 onwards, a downhill slide began.
However, Ganesh never gave up hope. His maiden home production, Maleyali Jotheyali, directed by Preetham Gubbi, became a superhit in 2009, and walked away with several awards. But success once again eluded Ganesh, as his films, Eno Onethara, Maduve Mane, Kool and Ullasa Utsaha failed to make an impact at the BO. To make matters worse, his second home production, Kool, ran into problems. Director Ravi Srivatsa walked out of the film midway, forcing Ganesh to wield the mega phone for the first time in his career. It was challenging indeed, but Ganesh promptly completed the job. However, Kool did not get the response that Ganesh expected. “The circumstances were different, and I had to turn to direction as there was no other option. See, every film is a learning opportunity. Kool taught me many things. Please don’t think that I have given up direction. There are many projects in the pipeline. In a few years’ time, I will direct my second film,” says a candid Ganesh.
Ganesh has come a long way since his TV days as one of the most popular anchors of comedy shows. “It all feels like yesterday. I have lived a dream. Several blockbusters came my way. I am really not particular about who directs a film, what matters to me is the storyline and the screenplay. Fortunately, I have worked with several intelligent filmmakers,” smiles Ganesh, pointing at the trophies and awards that his films have won.
Speaking of directors, the S Narayan- Ganesh combination was responsible for the hit, Shyloo. The same duo had created ‘Cheluvina Chittara’, another hit. Narayan and Ganesh seem to share a great rapport. Their next venture, Munjane, in which Ganesh is cast opposite Manjari Phadnis, is scheduled for release soon. His fans and the film industry are eagerly looking forward to his other movie with hit filmmaker, Yogaraj Bhat. “We have had discussions several times. But both of us are tied up because of our individual commitments. Hopefully, something should work out shortly. It will be great to work with him on another project,” the star asserts.
Ganesh is currently completing another film, a rom-com titled Romeo opposite Bhavana. He is understandably excited about the movie. “My fans will thoroughly enjoy Romeo. It is based on an original script, and we have canned several mind-boggling sequences.”
Emphasising that entertainment is the key factor for the success of any film, he says, “See, the audiences have become intelligent. They have plenty of options, and we can no longer fool them. They come to the theatres for entertainment. If we show them their own problems, they will not appreciate it. Why should they come to the theatres just to see their own life being played out? As filmmakers, we have to serve them something different, something entertaining, and that is what I am trying to do.”
Ganesh has been able to focus on acting because his wife, Shilpa has successfully taken over the home production business. “She has been a great support. After our wedding, we decided to produce one film each year, and have been maintaining that practice. By the end of this year, we will announce our third home production for which we are still looking for a suitable story,” he announces.
Ganesh’s schedule is jam-packed. But he does not want to live out of a suitcase. “I try to act in three or four films every year, and it has worked out well for me,” he claims. Ganesh does not hurry through this interview. He takes time to think before answering. The true signs of a good actor who is aware.