Published On: Fri, May 12th, 2017

Chaitanya to recreate Aa Dinagalu Magic in upcoming Aake

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Beangaluru, 12th April 2017. It’s tough to describe namma KM Chaitanya of Aa Dinagalu fame. Is he art-house or the commercial type? Mainstream or middle cinema? Maybe even he can’t tell. But why bother when people who watch his movies stand up and applaud him in a theatre? It happened when audiences stood up and clapped watching Chaitanya’s Aatagara, an edge-of-the-seat thriller. Critics lauded its unwavering narrative and unflinching pace – a signature style of Chaitanya, the Creative.

Now, he’s back with Aake, starring again Chiru Sarja, the hero of Aatagara, and Sharmila Mandre. An adaptation of the hugely successful Maya in Telugu, Aake also will mark the entry of Eros International in Sandalwood who will be releasing the film worldwide along with Mysore Talkies. Eros International is co producing the film with KS Dreams and Nakshatra.


Aake’s first look and trailer released recently has stirred the expectations of the audience. Much of Aake was shot in UK with a mostly British crew. Carl Austin has co-written the screenplay with Chaitanya, while Ian Howes is the director of photography and Paul Burns the production designer. Gurukiran has been roped in as the music director, his first ever film with Chaitanya. The Aake team has almost wrapped up the post-production work and it is due for release in a few weeks from now. Will Chaitanya’s magic once again wow the box office?

Sandalwood industry is excited that after Eros International’s debut entry in Kannada with Aake, the buzz is that Chaitanya’s next film is being distributed by yet another corporate biggie, Reliance Entertainment.

Many diehard kannada film buffs feel that Chaitanya is talented enough to recreate the late legendary Shankar Nag’s magic. Like Nag, Chaitanya too straddles both art and mainstream films, TV and theatre. The irony is, he has no great love lost for TV, though his repertoire encompasses the complete range including a number of TV serials, documentaries, feature films and corporate films. “Frankly, TV soaps are not my cup of tea and I hate the idea of shooting 22 minutes of footage every day,” he says candidly. He also does not like to bow to the dictates of TRPs, which basically throttles creativity. And yet, he’s the most deserving flag-bearer of Shankar Nag – and arguably, Puttanna Kanagal – given his visual sense and unflagging narrative style which mark the grammar and syntax of his movies, from Aa Dinagalu to Aatagara and even Parari, an out and out commercial comical romp.

Aa Dinagalu, which won him the award for best direction, in addition to best film and best supporting actor, has become a benchmark for bridge cinema in Kannada. Based on Bangalore’s notorious underworld and essentially a face-off between the 80s dons, Kotwal Ramachandra and Jairaj, it did not glorify violence, and also did not have any fight scenes. It won both critical and commercial acclaim and also opened the international market to Kannada films for the first time.

From movies based on real life incidents to thrillers and comedy and now horror, one is tempted to believe that Chaitanya likes to do different things, but then it would be more accurate to say that he does things differently rather than doing different things. For example, in Parari, a laugh riot, he experimented with the idea of making the viewers laugh without having to say anything. This is really a tough thing to do for we are a very auditory audience, but that’s how he pushes the creativity barrier, frame by frame, movie by movie.


For a person whose filmography is a pocket book-encyclopedia, you would expect that Chaitanya takes films for the well informed and the smart movie junkie. Again, he surprises you by saying that his essential target audience is those under 25 years. Though, one may add, conditions don’t apply!

Chaitanya idolises Girish Karnad and has even made a documentary on him for the Central Sahitya Academi. Like his guru Girish Karnad who effortlessly strides across both art and commercial films, Chaitanya has proved his hand at both, winning encomiums from both critics as well as the masses. Even though he abhors the idea of a trade-off between creativity and commerce, he concedes that “the basic idea of cinema is it has to be entertaining and we intend to entertain with every piece of work we do”. In other words, Chaitanya, the Creative, makes films that can be seen in an international festival as well as your neighbourhood theatre.

After being a documentary filmmaker for BBC, director and producer of TV shows, ad filmmaker, passionate theatre person, and the pioneer of bridge cinema in Sandalwood, Chaitanya has nothing to prove, save one: To make Kannada films great again.

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