October 20 2017
A leader in his own right
08 August 2017

Shivrajkumar-starrer Mass Leader will hit the screen on August 11

Of late there is an increase in the number of films about the Indian Army. After Hebbuli starring Sudeep, now Mass Leader, starring Shivarajkumar is all set to hit the screens on August 11. Mass Leader is different from other films on the Indian Army. Mass Leader tackles the issue of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.

Talking about the research, director Narasimha, says, he was “shocked”, when he learnt there is no accurate data about the number of Bangladesh citizens, illegally residing in our country.

“According to statistics over five crore Bangladeshi immigrants are living in West Bengal, Assam and Kerala and it is believed they are protected by politicians. I wanted to create awareness among the people on the issue, fortunately I found Tarun Shivappa — an enthusiastic producer who is making the film, regardless of the size of the canvas,” says Narasimha.

Narasimha is inspired by films such as Airlift, Baby, Rustom. “Film makers such as Neeraj Pandey are trying their best to offer narratives that tackle issues that are bothering our country. Though the Kannada industry is producing an average of 150 films a year, very few attempts are made to take up issues of this kind or those that promotes patriotism. I took this as a challenge and wanted to show the world that the Kannada film industry is also capable of making movies of this kind. The result is Mass Leader,” he explains.

Is Narasimha aware that he is doing a film on one of the most controversial issues plaguing the country and might get into trouble with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)? “Yes, I was anxious and nervous and then relieved, once I got U/A certification from CBFC. Of course, I have not done anything controversial. The film speaks of the need for internal security of the country in the light of illegal immigrants,” he asserts.

The title of the film was a bone of contention thanks to filmmaker AMR Ramesh, registered the title Leader seven years ago. Ramesh claims he registered the title in 2010 under his banner Vasista Pictures and has been renewing it every year for the last six years. He has taken objection to the title of the film.

“After protracted discussions we have decided to opt for Mass Leader, using different fonts for ‘Mass’ and ‘Leader’ as the practice in the Kannada film industry,” says Tarun Shivappa, the producer of the film.

The film is drawing attention because of its big star cast. Besides Shivarajkumar, Vijaya Raghavendra, Gururaj (son of Jaggesh), Yogi, Parinitha Subash (female protoganist), Sharmila Mandre, Ashika Ranganath, Prakash Belwadi and Rockline Venkatesh are essaying important roles in the film. Guru Prashant Rai is the cameraman and Veer Samarth has offered the background score and music for the film. Though it is said that a whopping sum of 15-crore has been invested, Tarun, refused to divulge any information on the budget that went into the making of Mass Leader.

The film was shot in the Himalayas where temperature was as low as -14 degree Celsius and had unending snow fall. The crew visited Kolkota and few foreign locations as the script demanded it.

Recalling his experience of shooting in hostile locations, Narasimha says, “Besides the difficult terrain, terrorists also posed a threat. Safety and security were our major concerns. We were aware of the unrest in the Valley, and on location, we witnessed it. The crew managed with police protection. The weather was so hostile that, of the nine days shoot planned, we could shoot only for four days. We had to handle the furiously blowing wind and non-stop snow fall too.”

Shivarajkumar is thrilled with the outcome of the film. “That was a dangerous action scene. The cold was biting. Snow fall was completely blocking the vision. I was supposed to jump into a 20-feet ditch. Everyone was apprehensive and refused to allow me to plunge. Cinematographer Guru Prashant Rai was opposed to shooting the scene. But, I was determined to do the scene. Without a jacket and gloves, I jumped without any apprehension and every one was relieved when Narasimha announced cut and said the shot was okay,” narrates the actor adding, “their apprehension is wrong. Every one in the film is a leader in their own right.”

With the film ready for release, Tarun looks relaxed. “We are planning for a big release. In all probability, the film will hit over 250 screens across the State,” he beams and signs off.



Related Stories