He has completed 30 years in the film industry and this year he completed shooting for his 100th Kannada film Pushpaka Vimana. He is amongst the most loved anchors on Kannada television and a director par excellence. Well, the legendary Kamal Hassan himself requested to be directed by him. Capping a year of many achievements, his directorial Sundaranga Jaana released in December 2016. Meet the super talented and yet very down to earth Ramesh Aravind who shares his journey in this heart to heart conversation.
As I catch up with Ramesh, he is in a great mood as his movie Sundaranga Jaana has opened to great reviews and naturally we kick start the conversation on this movie. “I am so happy that every comedy punch has been noticed and applauded. I am very satisfied that the audience has noticed all the clever lines in the movie. We have new dialogue director Guruprasad Kashyap in this movie, so the lines are very fresh.” The movie incidentally has introduced a lot of new talent in the form of Pradyumna Narahalli – actor cum lyricist, Lavanya – Singer and Balachander T.K. – lyricist. “I have always believed in introducing new comers pretty much the same way what K. Balachander and Geethapriya did for me. I think if I am in a position to do that it is my way of returning back to the profession and that is a great thrill. In fact I meet a lot of talented people but being able to match that talent with the film is a connect that needs to happen. In fact it was interesting as on one hand we had experienced actors like Sadhu Kokila, Rangayana Raghu, Devaraj and Ganesh and on the other we had new guys like Vasishta N. Simha and Shanti, so it was a good mix. Luckily they all went in the direction I wanted, so the movie worked out really well.” So how was it working with Ganesh? “Very nice as I always wanted a hero that can blend comedy and romance and Ganesh was the perfect choice as he has both. Also he is very amicable on the sets and gelled well with the team. In fact his role is like the roles I would do in the past.” Incidentally when he writes his movies, he instinctively understands whether he will play the part or get another actor to justify the role.
A Fulfilling Journey
When I ask Ramesh how he looks back at an illustrious career that he has carved out for himself, he tells me with his trademark charm, “I am a windshield guy rather than a rear view mirror guy and believe in looking forward. My view is to look ahead and be like a startup entrepreneur. As an actor and a director each project is new and we do not know where it is headed. Work is constant but I guess if you do your work sincerely, it becomes your priority. Of course I love my job and always worked hard to meet the needs of various films. So if you do your work, good things will happen to you.” In fact Ramesh says a boy designed a T-Shirt that read Ramesh – Right Attitude Makes Everything Seem to Happen and it is a philosophy he believes – do your job and the rest will happen. Little wonder then that he completed his 100th movie, released his directorial and also had his popular chat show Weekend with Ramesh and he rightfully says that “2016 has been a good year.”
So after all these years has he changed how he selects work? “Not really as it has to be something creative. In fact recently I designed a unique programme for high school kids called R360, where every child can respond. I got the idea and thought it was great and I jumped in. This is a platform for kids to showcase their strengths irrespective of the field and ensure they become confident.” And since he dons multiple hats, I ask him what really excites him and he says that the need to keep his mind engaged is constant. “Application of mind is very important as I cannot be idle. Acting, direction and anchoring have their own charm and when I do it, I enjoy it all. Direction gives me a different high and so does acting and anchoring. But one thing is I do not like to procrastinate as I believe that we must never delay anything – no one knows what tomorrow looks like.” Having worked for a long time in the industry Ramesh says that he has not changed his perception of how he views his work. “I have never been nervous before a release, bothered by a flop or over excited with a hit. Of course after a hit the offers are better but I never take these things personally.” This is why he enjoys what he does and says his television show Weekend with Ramesh has given him many happy moments when he was able to connect with his guests and audiences.
Commenting on how the Kannada industry has evolved Ramesh says that the new crop of actors come more prepared in terms of acting, dancing and the like. “They are well trained. I guess they know the tricks of the trade though the actual trade is something else. But as you grow here you realise that it is a great privilege to be in this industry and get the love and affection of so many people. This is why I feel sad when many people do not give the same kind of reverence and take things lightly.” The actor says that although he is not very active on social media, it does help when he has to share news related to his releases. “There are two sides to ever thing, whether in social media or otherwise. I respect things that grow organically rather than something that is choreographed. I am aware of what is happening but do not drown in it all the time.” Likewise his take on awards is clear. “All of us are looking for some kind of validation that what we do is being accepted and when it comes from a credible source it is great.” After acting in so many languages, Ramesh says that talent and ideas matter and what differentiates one industry from the other is budgets. Looking ahead he admits that he has a couple of ideas brewing but has not signed on anything new. Considering his busy schedule he says that “cinema is like a paid holiday but I do take off with family for a couple of weeks travelling after completing a film. In Bengaluru also we do check out new restaurants quite often.” Ramesh is truly a person like no other and it really is his easy going, amiable nature that makes him loved by his fans and friends alike.
This story appeared in Deccan Herald’s Sunday Herald dated 5th March, 2017 here