Shivarajkumar on ‘Ghost’, de-ageing, and doing an off-beat action drama


Shivarajkumar in ‘Ghost’

Shivarajkumar in ‘Ghost’
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Shivarajkumar is enjoying the attention he is receiving for his super-hit cameo in Rajinikanth’s blockbuster JailerBut he admits that he can’t hang on to the glory of one film. 

“I need to move on and do more interesting films and Ghost is one such project,” he says about his next, a highly-anticipated action drama directed by MG Srinivas. “I am slightly nervous about the film, but at the same time, I am confident as well. Ghost is a complete package. Nothing is exaggerated in the movie. The script is as focussed as it can be.”

Srinivas, aka Srini, calls Ghost a heist thriller. “It’s not entirely a gangster movie. It’s a thriller based on a newspaper article I had read long ago. The idea of the film is from an incident that took place in Chennai. The entire film happens in a 48-hour timeline.,” says the director.

Apart from liking his character’s attitude, Shivarajkumar was impressed by the unconventionality of the plot. “Having done more than 120 films, I have to be open to doing off-beat movies as well. There are no songs in Ghost, nor does the movie have a female lead. The fact is, the plot doesn’t require these elements. When we forcefully put songs or extra characters, they affect the film’s pace. That said, my fans love to see me dancing on screen. I will not entirely stop doing full-fledged mainstream films,” offers the veteran.

Director M G Srinivas (second from left) on the sets of ‘Ghost’

Director M G Srinivas (second from left) on the sets of ‘Ghost’
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

The buzz around Ghost, set to release on October 19, has been massive. The Kannada film will release as a pan-India project worldwide. Well-known names such as Dil Raju and Pen Studios have bagged the Telugu and Hindi distribution rights respectively. The film team has scheduled a show for fans at midnight of October 18 in Bengaluru at a popular single screen on K G Road. The hype could ensure a strong opening for the film, which will face stiff competition from Vijay’s LeoRavi Teja’s Tiger Nageswara RaoNandamuri Balakrishna’s Bhagavanth Kesariand the Tiger Shroff-Amitabh Bachchan starrer Ganapath.

“There are a lot of expectations, and that makes me more responsible about my job,” says Srini. “More than focussing on the hype, I will be fully involved in promoting the movie. Till the release date, we have planned creative promotional strategies.”

The de-ageing of Shivarajkumar was one of the biggest attractions of the film’s trailer. Fans loved a younger-looking Shivarajkumar, with the look inspired by the actor’s yesteryear hits such as Anand, Samyuktha, Ranaranga, and Inspector Vikram.

Shivarajkumar is a demi-god in Karnataka,” says Srini. “So I had to be extremely careful with his vintage look. We roped in an Iranian company that had worked in RRR and PS-2We sent them Shivanna’s old photographs, film posters, and videos, and they created his face using CGI.”

The de-aged avatar of Shivarajkumar has reminded fans of his late brother and actor Puneeth Rajkumar. Shivarajkumar is naturally pleased with the comparisons. “Since childhood, Appu (Puneeth Rajkumar) and I resembled each other. Our complexion, face, and hairstyle were similar. Once the film’s trailer was out, people in Karnataka weren’t surprised by the resemblance. However, non-Kannadigas, especially Tamil Nadu and Kerala fans, were shocked.”

A de-aged Shivarajkumar with Anupam Kher in ‘Ghost’

A de-aged Shivarajkumar with Anupam Kher in ‘Ghost’
| Photo Credit:
Anand Audio/YouTube

The actor explained the challenges of performing for such a look. “It wasn’t just about appearing like a younger version of myself. I also had to speak like I did 20-30 years ago. I had to do some facial exercises and adopt a different body language for the character..”

The actor promises Ghost to be an action-packed thriller. “I worked with four stunt masters, and they have tried something different. You will see different kinds of action sequences in the film.” Apart from appearing agile, the veteran star looks stylish in the trailer. On the actor’s look, Srini says, It was created with prosthetics. We teamed up with a makeup artist called Chidanand Kaul, who previously worked for the popular Hindi web series Rocket Boys,” he says.

Shivarajkumar says he had great fun filming Ghost, which also features senior actors such as Jayaram and Anupam Kher. “Jayaram is a clever performer. He can remain silent yet convey a message. Anupam Kher plays a crucial character. After he came into the mix, we felt this film deserved a sequel. We felt just one part would not do justice to the story. Overall, I felt like I was on a picnic while shooting for the film,” he signs off.


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