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Kannada Actor, Director, Producer, MG Srinivas: ‘Being an RJ Taught Me to Use Silence in Film’

MG Srinivas, better known as Sreeni, created a stir with his 2023 film, Ghost. The film featuring Shivarajkumar and Malayalam actor, Jayaram, got appreciative nods and applause for its content and screenplay. Before Ghost, he helmed 2019’s Birbal Trilogy Case 1: Finding VajraminiNow the RJ turned writer-director-producer has launched the second part of the planned trilogy, Birbal Case 2.

Sreeni launched the poster of Birbal Case 2 a few weeks ago. “Keeping the plotline intense in sequels is challenging, specifically when part one does well,” says Sreeni over the phone from his office in Sadashivanagar.

“As a filmmaker, I am in no hurry to bring out the second part. I am taking my time to see what can be further added to make it more entertaining and thrilling, without diluting the content or the main storyline. It’s a package and we need to keep all the entertainment factors in mind.”

Birbal, Sreeni says, is the common thread that runs through the trilogy. “Birbal solves a case in each film. Birbal is a series character like Sherlock Holmes solving standalone mysteries.”

The name, Birbal, Sreeni says, is inspired by Emperor Akbar’s famous courtier. “The man was witty, intelligent and these are the characteristics of the protagonist here too.” Sreeni will direct Birbal Case 2.

“We are in the process of finalising the cast and are looking to start the shooting in August in and around Bengaluru as the film is mostly set in the city. Srini describes Birbal Case 2 as a thriller with ample courtroom drama.

The Old Monk and Srinivasa Kalyana The director is in talks to helm a film for Shivarajkumar’s Geetha Pictures. “All I can say now is that it is a children’s film, and currently I am writing the screenplay. The project will be taken off post Birbal Case 2.,

Making films post the pandemic, Sreeni believes, is no longer about just watching a film. “They want to experience a film. It can be a technical or a sound experience, music, drama, anything.

They may enjoy a film more if it is in 3-D or 4-D format. Streaming platforms provide ample content and varied styles of cinema in all languages. We filmmakers need to come up with original content, something different from what audience have seen online.”

Sreeni in a still from Birbal Trilogy Case 1: Finding Vajramuni.
Sreeni in a still from Birbal Trilogy Case 1: Finding Vajramini, Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

There seems to be a lull in the industry post Kantara“I would say the lull is not just in the Kannada industry, but in every language industry. Except for Malayalam cinema, no other language film has done well in the first half of 2024. Star-led films are not happening as often as they did in the past in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu cinema.”

Newcomers, Sreeni says, are not crowd pullers yet. “We should promote both so that the stars draw the crowd to the theatres and promote new comers so new talents also get traction. The lull is just a phase, which we will overcome as the second half of 2024 looks good for Indian cinema, with both star vehicles and content-driven films lined up for release.”

Before moving to films, Sreeni was an RJ and her show, Blade King, made him a household name. He credits his time as an RJ for teaching him to be spontaneous. “Being an RJ taught me to have presence of mind and forge a bond with my listeners. I learnt about the science of sound, which plays an important role in cinema.

It is not about having sounds or music throughout the film, but also about having silence, which can be a powerful tool. This is what I learnt from the world of radio. The transition from the audio to visual medium has been an interesting process for me.”

David Dass
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