Kannada actor Murali's double whammy
Two of Sri Murali's Kannada films will fight it out at the box office this Friday.
This is because both the producers of his films -- Sihigaali and Shri harikathe -- are adamant on a March 12 release.
And Murali is far from pleased. "This clash could have been avoided. The producers of Sihigaali are very sweet so I just don't know what went wrong and who misguided them," he says.
Sri Harikathe is being produced by his father Chinnegowda.
Image: Murali and Shireen in Sihigaali
'I wasn't keen on cutting my hair short'
While Sihigaali talks about the mother-son relationship, Shri Harikathe dwells on the husband-wife relationship. The latter is one of Murali's "favourite" films and will see him sporting a sophisticated look.
Director Dayal Padmanabhan says that Murali's looks will remind us of Ajay Devgn in Bhoot.
"We took almost a week to decide on the look. I was asked to cut my hair short, which I was not so keen on, and also asked to lose weight; about 12 kgs," chips in Murali.
Speaking about his character, he says, "I play this very dignified person in the film. But I falter and compromise on my principles due to certain circumstances."
The team however says that Harikathe is 20 percent sentiment and 80 percent comedy.
"Sisters Pooja and Radhika Gandhi play my leading ladies. As comedy is integral to the script, a lot of energy went in from all of us to make it look real. In fact there was a lot of self improvisation," he says.
Naveen Krishna is also part of the cast. He has even written and sung a song.
Image: Murali and Shireen in Sihigaali
'Radhika is not one to lose her temper easily in real life'
Pooja and Radhika, who are sharing screen space for the first time, are also very upbeat.
"For a change I'm not playing a homely character. I'll be seen as a selfish and cunning model. Parts of the story revolve around three-four days in this girl's life," says Pooja.
The actress also says that she is very impressed with her sister's performance. In fact she is humble enough to say that the film belongs to Murali and Radhika.
"This is Radhika's third film but I still consider it her first. There is a lot of concentration on her and she has improved a lot in terms of performance," she adds.
While on the topic, she recalls how Radhika had to shout at Murali in one scene, which she found a bit tough. "She is not one to lose her temper easily in real life and we really had to coax her a lot to shout at him."
Talking about Murali, she says that he was less of a co-star and more of a buddy. "I've worked with his brother Vijay too. While he is reserved, Murali is totally chilled out."
Giving a boost to Pooja and Murali's camaraderie will be the film Hare Rama Hare Krishna. "With this film, she'll be the only heroine I've repeated," adds Murali.
Image: Pooja Gandhi in Sihigaali
'Murali was a great help with dialogue delivery'
Radhika, who plays Murali's wife shares fond memories.
"I had to do an emotional scene with Pooja and both of us had to cry. But Pooja kept laughing during the shot!"
Is she like her sister trying her hand at speaking in Kannada?
"In this film Murali was a great help with dialogue delivery. I hope to improve with each film," she says.
Radhika plays a Vedic Sciences researcher. Harikathe is also about how she manages her studies and marriage.
Most of the shooting was done in Mangalore. The team is excited no doubt, but are there no apprehensions about the simultaneous release.
"See this is not about competition. I have prepared my audience to come watch the film, if it is good, it'll definitely click," says a confident Dayal.
Image: Radhika and Murali in Harikathe
'I'm a debut director and hope producers' problems don't hamper my prospects'
Lakhan, director of Sihigaali also feels that the audience will support the best film.
"I'm sure viewers will relate to our story. We are talking of the unconditional love between a mother and son on one hand and the not so selfless love between couples on the other. I'm sure people will like it."
But why the delay?
"Last year our producers had some personal commitments. Thus delay was inevitable. And they had to release the film now as they had financial commitments. I am a debut director and just hope this situation doesn't hamper my prospects," says Lakhan.
Tulsi, Sharan and Shireen make up rest of the lead cast of the film.
Image: Murali, Tulasi and Sharan in Sihigaali