New record in Kannada film industry

, Bangalore Mirror Bureau

In March this year, the bail granted to gangster Bettanagere Shankara and his imminent release created a sensation in the city’s real estate business. Shankara was put back in prison under the Goonda Act immediately. But he is back after courts held it illegal. Now a film based on the lives of Shankara and his cousin Bettanagere Seena is all set for release. The film however had a trial by fire at the Regional Censor Board.In a record for Sandalwood, the film was given 139 cuts.Most of the cuts were on the use of the names Seena and Shankara. The director, Mohan Gowda Bettanagere is a relative of Seena and Shankara.

Mohan said, “It is both very difficult and very easy to make a film on real incidents. I am the brother of Seena and cousin of Shankara. But there are many who did not want the film to be made. I really do not know what will happen after the film is released. But at the Censor, we created a record of sorts, dubiou though. We were given 139 cuts. But since most of them were about the use of the names of Seena and Shankara the film’s story o narrative is not affected. We have changed the names o the characters. The title was not a problem.”

Mohan said making a commercial film out of the the gangsters’ lives was no difficult. “There are nine fights in the film. But remove one and there will be a disconnect in the narrative. Yes there are eight murders shown in the film but the story will not move forward without any of them. A commercial film cannot do without songs.We have a duet, item song and also a song featured in a village fair. We have integrated them to the story as far as possible.”

Seena and Shankara are from the Bettanagere village which has a record 80 people on the rowdy list of police. In the last two decades gangs related to Bettanagere are said to have been involved in over two dozen killings, usually revenge killings. The cousins turned rivals and Seena was killed in a police encounter in 2012 after escaping many bids on his life by rivals. Mohan said, “Shankara is my own brother. Seena and I were born in the same village just 15 days apart. We were classmates and grew up together. You will also see my life in a character in the film.” The director is already gearing up to make a sequel to this film. The film has a huge star cast with Sumanth Shylendra and Akshay playing the main characters.

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