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Exclusive! The late Puneeth Rajkumar’s James to be re-released every year, says director Chethan Kumar

The film, which had released in theatres on March 17, will drop on SonyLiv on April 14

  • Prathibha Joy

Last Updated: 02.38 PM, Apr 11, 2022

Exclusive! The late Puneeth Rajkumar’s James to be re-released every year, says director Chethan Kumar
Chethan Kumar with Puneeth during the making of James

Everyone’s only talking about the release of Yash’s KGF: Chapter 2 these days, but let’s not forget that April 14 is a special day for Kannada cinema’s late Power Star Puneeth Rajkumar’s last commercial film, James, also. The Chethan Kumar directorial had released on Puneeth’s birthday (March 17) as a treat to his legions of fans and is now set to come to OTT. James will drop on SonyLiv on April 14.

“At a time when audiences have not been coming to theatres, Appu sir’s last gift to Kannada cinema had them flocking back. He brought audiences back, so we will keep it in theatres for as long as we continue to draw crowds. Even after the end of its theatrical run, the plan is to re-release James every year,” says Chethan.

Produced by Kishore Pathikonda, James was still in production when Puneeth Rajkumar passed away suddenly following a massive cardiac arrest. At the time, the team decided to ensure that his last commercial film should come out on March 17 come what may. Although about 20-days’ worth of shoot was pending at the time, the team made do with some computer graphic shots of the late actor, while one entire action sequence was canned with a stunt double.

“It was my duty to give Appu sir a befitting send off. Before his demise, he had shot for most of the film, be it the mass opening sequence, or the climax. As the captain of the ship, I did what was best in the interest of the entire team to ensure that his efforts did not go in vain, especially since Appu sir had done several things he’d not done before in this film. I had shot this film like episodes and my challenge was how to bridge that one episode that was missing. I had to manage something and stitch it together in a short period of time and present it in five languages. I think I have given him a good farewell,” says Chethan.

When the film opened in theatres, it created massive box office records, given that James was no longer just a movie, but an emotion, one that fans wanted to experience, one last time with their favourite hero.