Hailing from a typical middle class household, Madan Ramvenkatesh had no qualms in being labelled as the guy who was ‘spoiled’ by cinema. He lived and breathed it, only stopping every now and then to write his own scripts, even as he pursued an engineering degree.
The 30-year-old Bengaluru filmmaker made waves across international film festivals with his earlier short films U-Turn and ABC in Hindi. Now, he’s on a new mission – to shine light on Kannada through The Last Kannadiga.
Bengaluru is one of the most cosmopolitan cities you will find. And in this rapidly urbanised and modernised city, Madan believes that Kannada, something that’s not just a language, but culture and a way of life, is getting lost.
“Bengaluru has moved on with time and space. We are definitely not trying to fit people from other places amongst us. In fact, we are trying to fit in amongst them,” says the young director.
“Through the film, we are neither trying to get everyone to speak in Kannada or encourage them to become Kannadigas. We just thought it was time to show a language that gave us our identity, led to our growth and development, some respect, gratitude and love,” he says, hoping it’ll ignite a spark in dormant Kannadigas and amongst Internet trolls that seem to be having a field day making memes about the sad state of affairs pertaining to language in the city.
The film has on board actress Sruthi Hariharan of Lucia fame as its producer too and Madan is glad he got to work on a project with his friend. With a master’s in science, Madan comes from a family that was absorbed in classical music.
“My grandfather was a vidvaan in classical music and so films were never on the cards,” he tells us. But it was only when he got working on his first film U-Turn that he got pulled into all its glory — foley, sound design, colour grading — the works. That saw the film travel across the country and to over 13 international film festivals. He was also recognised and awarded as the Best Student Filmmaker by the Delhi Student Filmmakers Society, Delhi, completing his diploma in script writing for TV and radio from Doordarshan.
His recent short film ABC created history with a worldwide release and traveled to over 15 international film fests including the Los Angeles Cine Fest, Texas Ultimate Shorts Film Festival and River to River Florence Film Festival in Rome, for instance.
While he gets busy with the post production of The Last Kannadiga, he tells us that he still finds time for his other passions – his love of exploring new places, reading books and collecting stamps and currency. Like he says, you need to show what helps you grow, some love.