By Jyothi Venkatesh
NIHAL RAJPUT tells senior journalist JYOTHI VENKATESH (who flew all the way to Bengaluru from Mumbai to nab him for this exclusive interview for Cine Blitz) that the film Vijayanand, to be released as a Pan India film in five languages- Kannada, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu on December 9 this year, is the emotional tale of a father and his son, and will drive home the message of how determination and perseverance will take a person to new and greater heights.
Is it true that you are all set to make your debut as a leading man with the biopic Vijayanand?
Yes. Though I had earlier played the lead in a horror film called Trunk, it is true that I am making my debut with a full-fledged role in the biopic called Vijayanand directed by Rishika Sharma. For your information, Vijayanand is the first ever biopic to be made to date in Kannada
You bear a very striking resemblance to the popular Tamil actor Vijayasethupath. Tell me more about yourself.
It is true that I had earlier made my debut with the Kannada horror film called Trunk way back in 2018, after having played negative roles in some films as well as TV serials.
On whose life has the biopic film been made?
The biopic has been made on the life and times of the fleet magnate Padma Shri Vijay Basavanneppa Sankeshwar, who started at the age of 19 years, his transport business from Gadag, a small city in the heart of North Karnataka. Although he faced many difficulties, in the beginning, he bravely faced all of them and started his business with just one truck and became the owner of 5500 vehicles.
What is Anant Nag of Ankur fame playing in the film?
In this film, Anant Nag, the veteran actor in Bollywood as well as Kannada films plays my father who worries that his son may get into trouble by venturing into a new business that he doesn’t know about. But the same son one day grows up in the same industry and becomes a big businessman. His fleet Vijayanand Road Lines (VRL) grew into one of the largest transport companies in India. Vijay also ventures into the media business and floats a successful channel Vijaya Vahini in Kannada.
What do you have to say about the Kannada film industry today?
The Kannada film industry has been making some amazing films of different genres that have been liked by audiences across the country. While there have been some larger-than-life films like ‘KGF 1’ and KGF 2 from the franchise, there have also been emotionally stirring content like Kartikeya 2, ‘777 Charlie’ and ‘Kantara’. In the wake of these films, the biopic of Padma Shri Vijay Sankeshwar which is titled ‘Vijayanand’ is all set to release on 9 December in not just Kannada or Hindi but also 3 other languages including Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam.
Tell me more about the character that you are playing in the film!
Vijay Sankeshwar is known for his eventful journey of starting from a humble beginning to becoming the owner of the largest commercial vehicles fleet in the country. The humble and modest business magnate also owns a leading newspaper called Vijayavani besides a news TV news channel called Digvijay 247 News in Karnataka. Many had earlier approached his son Anand Sankeshwar, who is also the chairman of VRL group and the man behind VRL Films for the rights to make a biopic, but the sincerity and the script of Rishika Sharma and Nihal convinced the father and son duo that Rishika Sharma was the right person to do justice to Vijay Sir’s journey so far.
What message does the film drive home to the audiences?
Vijay Sir’s son Anand Sankeshwar says that he has learned a great deal from his illustrious father and the film is about his various struggles in life. The film, which is the emotional tale of a father and his son, will drive home the message of how determination and perseverance will take a person to new and greater heights. Anand Sir is planning to produce a few more films under the banner of VRL Productions, after the release of the film Vijay Anand.
It is surprising that not many people all over the country are actually aware of Vijay Sankeshwar!
Yes. This film was destined to happen. After I suggested to Anand Sir the first ever authorized biopic film in Kannada on Vijay sir, Rishika and I were amazed that there is so much more in his journey that people are not aware of. His story will inspire everyone. Now with UFO Moviez coming on board, we are looking at reaching out to a wider audience across the country. There is a lot to tell about Vijay Sankeshwar Sir but the film has to be restricted to just two-and-a-half hours. The plan is to come out with a web series also at a later stage.
Tell me something about the technical credits of the film.
The melodious and catchy as well as soothing music of the film is composed by National Award-winning Malayalam film composer Gopi Sundar. Keertan Poojary and Hemanth have done cinematography and editing respectively, while the art and costumes have been designed by director Rishika Sharma herself, while I have also served as the Line Producer. The film Vijayanand also stars Bharath Bopanna, Anant Nag, Ravi Chandran, and Prakash Belawadi, as the antagonist who wages a war against Vijay Sir, besides Siri Prahalad, Vinaya Prasad, Archana Kottige, and Anish Kuruvilla in pivotal roles. UFO Moviez, known for distributing the Pan Indian films like ‘Rocketry’, ‘777 Charlie‘, ‘Karthikeya 2‘, ‘Bimbisara’ and ‘Prem Geet 2’, will distribute the film pan-India. The film also marks the production debut of VRL Films.