Exclusive: I was struggling despite delivering five blockbusters in Kannada: Director Nanda Kishore

The filmmaker is all set to debut in Telugu and Malayalam with Mohanlal's upcoming period fantasy drama 'Vrushabha'.

ByShashiprasad S M

Published Jul 13, 2023 | 6:30 PMUpdatedAug 10, 2023 | 1:05 PM

Nanda Kishore

Many in Sandalwood were left wondering when director Nanda Kishore vanished after delivering a blockbuster — Pogaru (2021) — with Dhruva Sarja and Rashmika Mandanna. The next year, he helmed Raana (2022) which was an average hit.

And then, he surprised one and all with the big announcement that his next Vrushabha — is with Malayalam superstar Mohanlal. Vrushabha is produced by Vishal Gurnani, Juhi Parekh Mehta and Abhishek Vyas of AVS Studios and is presented by Connekkt Media and Balaji Telefilms Ltd.

In an exclusive interview with South First, Nanda Kishore talks about his upcoming project which marks his debut in both Malayalam and Telugu film industries.

‘Didn’t get a break’

Nanda Kishore with his brother Tharun Sudhir.

Nanda Kishore with his brother Tharun Sudhir. (Supplied)

“I delivered a hit film, Pogaru, which easily made over ₹60 crore at the box office, that too during the pandemic. However, despite its huge success, I was surprisingly struggling to find an appropriate project. I felt like I didn’t get the break I was hoping for,” said Nanda Kishore.

He’s the eldest son of Sudhir, one of Kannada’s iconic actors.

Kishore’s mother Malathi has a strong theatre background. His younger brother Tharun Sudhir is a film director, too.

Of the eight films Nanda Kishore directed thus far, at least five are blockbuster hits.

These include his debut film Victory (2013), Adyaksha (2014), Ranna (2015), Mukunda Murari (2016), and Pogaru. His last venture Raana (2022) did average business at the box office.

Related: Mohanlal’s pan-Indian film ‘Vrushabha’ to go on floors soon

Felt isolated

Nanda Kishore Pogaru

Nanda Kishore on the sets of ‘Pogaru’. (Supplied)

Despite giving his best, the filmmaker felt isolated and eventually started questioning himself.

“There was a point when I kept questioning myself as to what went wrong — will my audience forget me soon?”

Nanda Kishore further added, “And then, I decided it was time to bounce back and fight for it. This is when I came across a friend, Shyam from Shimoga, who asked me if I had a good subject so he would take it to the best in the business.”

Soon, Nanda Kishore embarked on a new journey by staying in Mumbai for about eight months.

Meeting Mohanlal, the legend

Team Vrushabha

Team ‘Vrushabha’. (Supplied)

He got the opportunity to meet the Malayalam superstar Mohanlal who, he says, liked his script so much that things started to fall in place.

“I met Mohanlal sir for the first time in Kerala. I was so excited to share my work with him. When I narrated the script, a period fantasy drama, he liked it so much,” Nanda Kishore recollected.

“I am grateful that AVS Studios showed so much faith in me. However, I never revealed anything about the ongoing process since I want my work to do the talk,” he said.

Also Read: Mohanlal, Jeethu Joseph team up again for new movie

On Ektaa Kapoor’s collaboration

The next big thing for him was meeting Bollywood filmmaker and Hindi Television’s undisputed queen Ektaa R Kapoor.

Nanda Kishore recalled, “I was told to give a narration to Ektaa Kapoor. She might have agreed assuming that I’m just another South Indian director coming up with another project. She would have thought of listening to the script for 10-15 minutes.”

He added, “However, Ektaa Kapoor ended up listening to my narration for the whole two hours and 30 minutes. Later, she narrated the same to her actor-father Jitendra sir. He liked it too and that’s how we collaborated.”

The director also revealed that Ektaa Kapoor did not want to let go of this project and hence she asked her staff to start working on it at the earliest.

Also Read: ‘Bharateeyans’ movie review: A lopsided patriotic drama

Vrushabha star cast

Shanaya Kapoor and Roshann Meka

Shanaya Kapoor and Roshann Meka. (Supplied)

Vrushabha features Roshann Meka, son of Telugu actor Srikanth, as Mohanlal’s son.

Further, Shanaya Kapoor, daughter of Bollywood actor Sanjay Kapoor, is making her debut in South with this.

The film also stars Ramya Krishnan, Simran, Ravi Shankar, Sarathkumar, and Garuda Ram.

On the technical side, Santosh Thundiyil of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) fame is the cinematographer.

Devi Sri Prasad is scoring the music and Ravi Verma is choreographing the stunts of this period fantasy drama.