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Exclusive! Sharan: My audiences come to theatres expecting to be entertained; Guru Shishyaru will not fail them

The actor plays a PT master in the film, which is also a home production for him and introduces his son, Hruday, along with a bunch of other star kids.

Exclusive! Sharan: My audiences come to theatres expecting to be entertained; Guru Shishyaru will not fail them
Sharan in a still from the film
  • Prathibha Joy

Last Updated: 02.56 AM, Sep 23, 2022

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Ten years ago, when Kannada comedian and character artiste Sharan decided to make the transition to lead hero with his 100thfilm as an actor, he had to do it with a home production. The film, Rambo, was a runaway hit at the box office and gave Sharan the confidence that he had it in him to shoulder the responsibility of an entire movie. “Rambo was not a film that was made to launch me as hero. The intention was only to take a good story and present it on the big screen. My partner-in-crime, (actor-filmmaker) Tharun (Sudhir) and I were excited about the story and had pitched it to multiple producers. We had visualised the entire film in our minds and every time we got someone on board to back the project, they’d suggest changes that we were not okay with and they’d back out. The idea to make it ourselves came only after multiple attempts to get someone else to bring the story to the big screen. In fact, in the beginning, I wasn’t sure about turning hero and took time to agree to this change in career trajectory. Deep within, I was scared and wondered if audiences would accept me as a leading man, after years and years of being something else onscreen. The worry was that if Rambo doesn’t work the way we hoped, it will affect my bread and butter. Failure may not always be a stepping stone to success, and, more importantly, people in the industry would shy away from giving me the kind of work I was doing until then because I had now turned hero. I eventually gathered the courage and took the plunge, and, thankfully, it worked out just fine,” says the actor, reminiscing about the turn of events that led to him being producer too.

Today, Sharan and Tharun are presenting their latest co-production, Guru Shishyaru in theatres, a film that the former is excited about. “This is a film that was written, re-written and shaped perfectly during the entire duration of all the pandemic lockdowns. Director Jadeesha K Hampi and Tharun, who serves as creative director on all our collaborations, literally burnt the midnight oil throughout this process. When you are involved with a subject right from its inception and travel along with it, as it is developed and you know how it has turned out, it tells you whether it is something that you should stick with it or not. We don’t decide to do a film and then start looking for a story. If there is a story that deserves to be brought to the screen and fits my image, we will do it and Guru Shishyaru is one such,” says Sharan.

Sharan in a still from the film
Sharan in a still from the film

The film has the actor playing a PT master, who comes to a school to get an experience certificate. How his life and that of the people around him, including his students, changes thereafter, forms the crux of the story. What will be appealing, says Sharan, is that the film is a sports drama too, revolving around a kho-kho team. As per the trailer, the film does look like a regular underdog story, so you know that the team will emerge victorious in the film. “That is true, to a large extent, but that is not what the film is all about, which you will see when Guru Shishyaru opens in theatres today. The trailer has the gist of the film – what it is going to be like. We have provided audiences with certain expectations – this is a story set in a village in 1995. A PT master comes to this village with an agenda. There is so much more to this story, which I am excited to share with people,” he says.

In the last decade, Sharan has done 15 films as a leading man, which have been different in terms of story and presentation, but were all comedies that played on the actor’s strength in handling humour. Has he ever thought of doing something completely out-of-the-box to see if audiences will accept him as a complete actor? “In these 10 days, none of the films I have done have been repetitive. I’ve tried experimenting with each of them, whether it is Jailalitha in which I played a woman for most of the film, sporting six-pack abs for Jai Maruti 800, playing someone with a rural background in Adhyaksha, or Bullet Basya, in which my character had a negative shade - all of them are world’s apart in terms of styles of films and challenged me as an actor. My audiences want to be entertained and comedy is a great way to achieve that. I will not disappoint them on that aspect and, Guru Shishyaru is right up that alley,” he states.

A still from the film
A still from the film

But comedy is not a pre-requisite for entertainment, right? Other genres can achieve that just as well. “I must admit that I have not entirely stepped out-of- the-box because there are expectations of me as an artiste and of my films. I can’t change the pre-set image that my audiences have of me, overnight. Whatever experimentation I do with genres has to be in small doses that I keep increasing with every film. I don’t want my audiences to be bewildered by doing a totally non-comedy film. Guru Shishyaru is yet another baby step that I have taken in terms of experimentation, be it in my looks, mannerisms or acting style. Based on the feedback I get for these tiny steps that I take I decide how much more to push myself out-of-the-box the next time around. As an actor, I want my efforts to be noticed, only then will I have the courage to do more of it, else, I will just be contemplating whether doing something different is a risky affair,” he signs off.

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