Julie swings again
S. SHIVA KUMAR
The remake of the classic Julie marks two debuts - Purnima takes a bow at the helm while Bangalore boy Dino Morea makes his foray into Kannada cinema
CLASSIC RECLASSIFIED Purnima feels being a woman helped explain the feelings of the lead character to Ramya (with Dino Morea below) in crucial scenes PHOTOS: COURTESY SHEETAL JAIN
Remakes are so the flavour of the season and the Kannada film industry has turned its eyes on Julie. Purnima, who produced Vijayadashmi, makes her directorial debut with the film starring Ramya and Bollywood hottie Dino Morea. Incidentally, Julie is not to be confused with the film where Neha Dhupia revealed more skin than histrionics. Purnima is remaking Julie, which was itself a remake of a Malayalam film, Chhattakari (1974). The film follows the story of an Anglo Indian girl played in both the Hindi and Malayalam versions by Lakshmi. The music rocked big time. The film also starred a teenage Sridevi as Julie's sister Irene.
Cut to the present and the sprawling KCN mansion is the venue for a photo shoot. Shooting has been wrapped up and the air is crackling with nervousness and excitement. The lead pair is a picture in contrast. Dino is the cool dude with rapier sharp repartee while the ravishing Ramya is chatting non-stop.Dino sets the ball rolling with: "Well she's a great actress," but he is stuck when asked to name a film of Ramya's that he has seen. "Oops. Anyway we hit it off the day we met. She's friendly."
Ramya chimes in saying: "He's a big flirt and started on day one. I was sick and my eyes were swollen and he says: "They look great. Keep them swollen!"
Talking about the film Dino says: "Ramya is the protagonist, sure, going from young girl to mature woman, falling in love, me leaving her and then returning. I'm the guy she's in love with but for certain reasons I have to leave. I do return and marry her in the end."
Dino rues the fact that he does not know Kannada when he says: "I grew up in a locality where there were more Tamilians. I studied in an Army school where Kannada was not in the syllabus. So I really never got to speak or learn Kannada. I regret it now. After doing this film I feel I should learn the language."
The intimate scenes are a point of discussion and Ramya says: "Dino had a cold and kept sniffing all the time and it was the first time I was doing intimate scenes. He was prepared and casual. I needed some time."
To which Dino says: "Basically I'm a good actor. When you got to do something, you got to do it. Intimate scenes in front of 25 people is not fun. It's not comfortable. It's tough but we have to do it. I think it's not easy for the girl."
While the short skirt wearing anglo-Indian is most definitely passé, Dino says: "It's contemporary. We are catering to today's youth. This is the way they dress. So why do we try to fool the audience?"
Changing track, Dino defends his choice of films. "I did a couple of films, which I thought were good but they turned out to be duds. I got paid handsomely though. I made some wrong decisions after Raaz became a huge success. I did not have anyone to advise me. I've learnt and am careful now. I have put all my savings to buy that house and am very happy.
Dino joining the project has a strange genesis as Ramya says: "Purnima wanted someone I would be comfortable with because there are intimate scenes. We didn't want any heroes from the Kannada industry because I've shared screen space with most of them. Purnima had mentioned Dino but he had refused because he thought it was with Ramya Krishna. I got a friend who knew him to speak to him and was happy that he agreed. It's a good-looking film and you need two people who share chemistry. We look great together and share good vibes. There is no vulgarity. This film will have the audiences riveted. We're being realistic in Julie whether it's kissing or the girl getting pregnant. The look is neither dated nor clichéd. I get to go through a gamut of emotions. I think the original Julie was way ahead of its time. I like the character because she's a go-getter and a survivor."
Director Purnima joins in the conversation and talks about her foray into direction. "I produced Vijayadashmi. I was involved with nearly every shot. So I thought instead of thrusting my thoughts on others I could make my own film. It was very difficult initially. It was so difficult that I was wondering what I had got into. It's my determination that made me go ahead and for a debutante I think the film's come out well. There are so many sentiments in the film. I think my being a woman helped explain the feelings of the lead character to Ramya in crucial scenes."
The choice of subject happened because "We held the rights and wanted to make it with some other director. I watched the movie and liked it immensely. Julie did well not only because of the songs but also the strong sentiments. I've retained the lilting tunes though."
Purnima says that when she looked at the rushes, she realised: "I have a lot to learn. There are a lot of minus points but next time I'll do better. I'm being self-critical but I think the audiences will love the film."
From a family of veteran producers, Purnima did however have a tough time convincing her husband, K. C. N. Chandrashekar to invest in the project. "He didn't have confidence in me but was forced to do the film because of the pressure from my side. Now he's impressed and wants me to do another film. In fact, I have outside offers too. I don't want to make money. Films are a passion I will pursue."
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