Watch | Ganesh on playing a cricketer in ‘Baanadariyalli’ and reuniting with Preetham Gubbi for a love story
Outside the boundary rope at the Aditya Global cricket stadium in Nelamangala, Bengaluru, actor Ganesh, sporting a cricketer’s avatar, talks to me about his love for the gentleman’s game. “There’s a reason why most people aspire to be cricketers or actors in our country,” he says.
“I have loved cricket ever since I was a child. I play cricket when I take breaks from films. I meet my friends from the film fraternity to play friendly matches once a month. I never miss playing in the Celebrity Cricket League (CCL) and the Karnataka Chalanachitra Cup (KCC),” adds Ganesh, fondly called the ‘Golden Star’ of Kannada cinema.
In Baanadariyalli, Ganesh’s upcoming film with his best friend and filmmaker Preetham Gubbi, the actor plays the role of a cricketer. In one of the scenes from the trailer, he plays a reverse sweep, and his answer when asked about it is surely intriguing.
“I play a struggling cricketer who is also short-tempered in the film. Whenever he gets angry, he does something quirky or bizarre. The reverse sweep is not a traditional shot. You play it out of haste or desperation sometimes. It is a metaphor for his character. The film is about how the guy who plays reverse sweeps starts hitting straight shots. In this sense, the film is a tale of his transformation,” explains Ganesh.
The film, Ganesh’s fourth collaboration with Gubbi after Maleyali Jotheyali, Dil Rangeela, and 99 (a remake of the Tamil hit 96), is essentially a love story at heart. Like the actor-director’s previous films, Baanidariyalli too sees the protagonist travel to a specific destination to fall in love; if it was Sakleshpura in Maleyali Jotheyali and Goa in Dil Rangeela, the hero in Baanadariyalli goes to Maasai Mara, the National Reserve in Kenya.
“The reason why the protagonist travels in this film is very different compared to what we saw in Maleyali Jotheyali and Dil Rangeela,“ points out Ganesh. “Also, Baanadariyalli has more depth than the other two films. If I have to say it in one word, the film is an experience. If you have noticed, our trailer begins like a film, and then you get a feel of watching a documentary. It ends on an emotional note. The film is a blend of cinema and documentary, and I am sure people will know we have tried something different.”
Shooting in a National Reserve was challenging, says the actor. “Maasai Mara is a tourist spot, so there were a lot of rules for us to follow while shooting. We had to pay and get permission at several spots and the film’s budget kept increasing.”
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The actor’s career, which rose to prominence with the massive success of Mungaru Male (2006), has blown hot and cold in over 15 years. He stresses that he will strive to balance commercial safety with good craft. “I want to play different characters but I don’t want to compromise on entertainment. My audiences are children, women, and families. I want to provide them clean entertainment. At the same time, I want my films to do well at the box office,” he signs off.
Bankrolled by Sri Vaare Talkies, Baanadariyalli also stars Rukmini Vasanth, who is basking in the success of her sophomore film Sapta Sagaradaache Ello, directed by Hemanth M Rao, and starring Rakshit Shetty. Rangayana Raghu and Reeshma Nanaiah also feature in prominent roles. With music by Arjun Janya and cinematography by Abhilash Kalathi, the film releases in theatres on September 28.