‘Vidyarthi Vidyarthiniyare’ is a teen cult film packed with Indian emotions, says Arun Amukta

The director expressed that he would love to explore making a film without a traditional hero or heroine if given creative freedom.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 23, 2024 | 3:32 PM Updated Jun 23, 2024 | 3:36 PM

'Vidyarthi Vidyarthiniyare' is all set for a 19 July release. (Supplied)

Director Arun Amukta, who initially joined the film industry, enticed by the prospect of free food on set, has certainly come a long way.

His second film, Vidyarthi Vidyarthiniyare, featuring rapper-turned-actor Chandan Shetty and newcomers Manoj, Amar, Manasvi, and Bhavana, is all set for a 19 July release.

“My first film, Loosegalu (2013) was so eccentric that nobody understood what I was trying to say. Now, when I am being given another chance, almost a decade later, I am playing it safe. Vidyarthi… is what I would describe as a teen cult, but into which I channeled so much ‘Indian emotions’ that it has turned into a family entertainer,” Amukta said.

He has released two songs from the film thus far—“Big Boys” and “Student Party”, both composed by Vijeth Krishna with lyrics by Chethan Kumar. He said both the songs—especially the latter, which has an earworm chorus—have been received well among the youth.

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Amukta said he is still holding on to many more trump cards musically—a song composed by Vasu Dixit, Bengaluru’s very own rock band Swarathma’s lead vocalist, who is known for his pulsating energy, and a song written and sung by Kannada rapper Chirayu, a name to reckon with in the city’s underground rap scene.

The film, produced by Shivalingegowda and directed by Arun Amukta, features a talented ensemble cast. (Supplied)

The film, produced by Shivalingegowda and directed by Arun Amukta, features a talented ensemble cast. (Supplied)

“I am gambling on the youth this time round. You see, every year, there are about 250 to 300 Kannada films, mostly about hero build-up, comedy, or action. In the last 10 years, there might have been 10 to 15 films that target the other big segment of the audience — the youth. So, I decided to make that my space,” noted Amukta.

Hailing from the small village of Chikkmalali in Shivamogga, which, according to him, still lacks proper roads and electricity and has a population of around 300, Amukta believes that films are all about entertainment.

“I can watch any films, in any language, as long as they are entertaining. I cannot stand serious films. So, I guess my films will always aim for mass appeal too,” he added.

‘I thought filmmaking was a cool job’

Unlike many who aspire to be a director to make path-breaking films, Amukta said he wanted to be a director only because he thought it was a cool job.

Twenty years ago, when Amukta moved to Bengaluru, he took on various odd jobs to survive. Eventually, he found himself on a film set. For the next five years, he observed people constantly seeking the director’s decisions and decided that this was a role worth aspiring to.

At the event organised to release the song “Student Party” on 15 June, the lyricist Chethan Kumar, who had directed Puneeth Rajkumar’s James–which was released in 2022, posthumously after his death on October 29, 2021–recalled how he, music director Vijeth Krishna and Amukta shared a room when they were all struggling to make ends meet in Bengaluru.

“So, yes, we stand with one another when we can. While making this film particularly, it often felt like those good old days when we used to discuss films and whatnot in our room,” said Chethan Kumar.

Amukta is acutely aware of the challenge of drawing audiences to theaters, especially with the availability of quality content on mobile devices.

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‘People are open to experimental content’

“I don’t mind failures. I believe that only through facing failures can you improve and become a better person,” he said.

However, he added, production houses will only support more innovative content, if films perform well.

According to Amukta, the key to creating innovative content lies in producing grand, larger-than-life films that attract audiences to theaters, thereby solidifying his reputation as a director.

“I believe people are open to experimental content if it’s good. However, execution often falls short of expectations because producers are reluctant to take risks. This forces filmmakers to create clichéd content. Despite this, I am optimistic. As the saying goes, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. One must keep going.”

Amukta expressed that he would love to explore making a film without a traditional hero or heroine if given creative freedom.

This is likely his last Kannada film, Amukta revealed.

“My next project will be a Malayalam film. Despite the language and other challenges, it’s worth entering the Malayalam film industry because the Kerala government is quite supportive, creating a thriving ecosystem that benefits both the audience and the artistes,” Amukta concluded.

(Edited by S Subhakeerthana, with inputs from PTI)

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