Kannada Interviews

Not Your Regular Sandalwood Director, Adarsh Eshwarappa On Cinema, His New Short Film And What’s Next

He’s not your regular Sandalwood director that will churn out commercial masala flicks with the typical song-dance routine. From his debut directorial Shuddhi to his next one Bhinna, filmmaker Adarsh Eshwarappa has created content in the Kannada Film Industry (KFI) that has been lauded for its new-age feel.


He’s one of the filmmakers who is responsible for bringing in the new wave of Kannada cinema that is being praised for being content-driven. This time though, the director has churned out a short film filmFAIR portraying every film buff’s current favourite topic – nepotism.

The short flick features students from the Tent Cinema Film School (run by Nagathihalli Chandrashekar) and has 14 actors featured in it. “I was told that all the actors need to be featured in it. These are artistes who’ve just passed out of the acting school and absolutely have no experience. So, I spent two days with them and tried to understand what background they’re from, what they’re good at and used it to build my story about them.”

With several ideas being thought about, Adarsh then chose nepotism based on the current situation. “In the film, most of them are fumbling with their lines, and this actually happened in real life too. The fumbling added to the natural portrayal of the characters,” he says.

filmFAIR has a run time of around 13 minutes and portrays an audition for a film with various actors including the producer’s son taking part in it. Shot in a span of a day with sync sound, Adarsh states, “The guy who plays the part is actually like Arjun Reddy in real life too. He was wearing sunglasses and sitting at the back when I met him. He’s influenced highly by Vijay Devarakonda’s character in real too. He speaks Telugu in it while there are other characters speaking Kannada.”

While a lot of award shows are known to be unfair, Adarsh’s film portrays one that is unbiased. Does he believe that star kids have it easier? “When you look at it, you can’t just get famous with money and family backing. You may get one or two films, but genuine talent ultimately wins. Ranbir was talented so he broke into the industry, but Uday (Chopra) didn’t make it despite being the biggest producer’s son. However, star kids do get more chances than others, but how many chances can they get after a point?” he ruminates.

For his films Shuddhi and Bhinna, he’s mostly had newcomers – how did he go about selecting the cast? “I’ve worked with newcomers and also someone like Niveditha, who’s been in the industry for 15 years and won two state awards. For me, it’s about how comfortable I am with them. Also, their humility matters when it comes to working with someone and how much time they can give me because I do rehearsals. I want my actors to give me a month before we start. In the future, I want to work with big stars as well. I want to bring in outsiders too – it’s all about who’s honest towards their work,” reveals the filmmaker, whose works have been critically acclaimed.


While he’s done movies that are niche, Adarsh is ready with an action film next. How did he choose to flip genres with his next project? “I’ve already finished scripting it. It’s a really big movie and cannot be shot until the lockdown ends and the vaccine is ready. The budget is Rs.8-10 crore and I have someone backing it. The story happens in multiple cities and a bit of it takes place outside India too. The casting hasn’t happened yet though. But it’s definitely going to be a well-known star given the budget of the film,” says the filmmaker, who’s a fan of action flicks like Mission Impossible, The Bourne Series and Kill Bill 2.

Before that, however, Adarsh states that he wants to do something small, like Bhinna. “I want to do a project that’s out of my comfort zone. I’m known for dark, female-centric films and I want to deviate from that. I’m ideating at the moment,” he signs off.

Watch FilmFAIR here: