Though he forayed into film production recently, he has been around in the industry for more than 20 years now. Sharath Raj Kumar has seen many ups and downs that one must endure when pursuing a career in the film industry. He is one of Sandalwood’s most prolific independent film producers, and all his movies have been successful in both high and low budget categories since his debut. In a candid chat with Shwetha Shivakamal, he unfolds his film journey
How has your journey been from being a cameraman to being one of the most successful producers in the film Industry?
I started my career as an assistant cameraman for Malayalam and Telugu movies. My first project in the Kannada film industry was Kavirathna Kaalidaasa which we started working on in 1981 and then it was released in 1982. After that Raghavendra Rajkumar also came into the industry and while working together for movies, we became good friends and my rapport with the Rajkumar family increased. During Saagara Deepa movie, Raghavendra Rajkumar asked me if I could handle the production work and I agreed upon the same. He made me the production manager and from then on I continued to work as a production manager for films.
While this was going on, I tried my hands at producing a few daily soaps like Tulasi, Vaatsalya, Godhooli and many more for Udaya TV in 2001. After experimenting with small screen I got into big screen and jointly produced the Puneeth Rajkumar starrer Prithvi along with my friend Babu. After finding success with Prithvi, I moved on to independently produce Mynaa, Kammannana Makkalu (joint venture) and then Jatta and now I am produced Maithri which is the upcoming movie of Puneeth.
If you were to encapsulate it, how would you describe the job of a producer and the sequence of a production process?
Producing a film is definitely a huge responsibility. It is not a desk job nor is it something that is done just by shelling out money. Every producer is different and works in a different format
According to me, a producer has to have an eye for everything. He has to make sure that he produces an appealing, high quality movie and the main challenge is producing a movie within an estimated budget without harming the film making process. A producer has to supervise and package the project from the conception to distribution to theatres and also has to interface with the studio and manage the work of hundreds of individuals.
All the movies produced by you have tasted success. How does that success part appeal to you?
Success of the movie is definitely not my success alone. It’s a team effort. Of course as a producer, I would definitely be happy about recovering the money that I’ve invested inclusive of profits. Tasting success with one movie gives me the encouragement to move on to the next project and without any doubt increases the responsibility upon me of producing a better movie next time.
What do you think it takes to be a good producer?
I think the strongest producers are the people who know about all aspects of film making. They should know about the technology and techniques and should be able to solve the problems with the crew. He has to be a flexible thinker, and should have mastered in the art of being patient.
How was it to work with the bigwigs of the industry?
Not only in Kannada, but I’ve worked with many big names from other industries as well. Working with them is a one of its kind of experience. They all teach you one thing in common and that is staying grounded even after having reached the heights of success.
Share your experience of making an experimental cinema.
Experimental cinemas have been doing well in the Kannada industry and such cinemas need to be bought onscreen. I took up such a project, because I was convinced with the story line and the way director Giriraj narrated the script was impressive. The raw essence of cinema was something that caught my attention and I’m sure this criterion would have pulled the crowd to theatres. I’m happy that audience and the critics accepted such a movie and this has inspired me to make a much better film. We as producers need to find good projects and develop them.