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It is not every day that a Kannada film gets as much acclaim as Anup Bhandari’s debut film, Rangi Taranga, is getting.

Bhandari, who quit his job as a software professional to follow his heart spoke to tabloid! about the film and its challenges.

Rangi Taranga is his debut film and a mystery thriller. It is centred around Gautham, a novelist living in Ooty with his pregnant wife, Indu. Indu, having gone through an earlier miscarriage, believes in performing some rituals at her ancestral home in Kumarottu to ward off evil spirits. So the couple arrive in Kumarottu.

Sandhya, a writer and filmmaker, is also visiting Kumarottu at the same time, in search of an anonymous writer with the pen name ‘Anashku.’

Bhandari said, “When strange happenings occur at Indu’s home and she goes missing, it takes Gautham on an investigative journey.”

Bhandari’s younger brother Nirup Bhandari plays Gautham, Radhika Chetan is Indu and Avantika Shetty plays Sandhya. Sai Kumar plays a significant character. Besides writing the script Bhandari has written the lyrics and composed music too. Cinematography is by Lance Kaplan and William David. Bhandari found the spark for this story from memories of his childhood visits to his ancestral village in Mysore.

“It was an annual ritual where the family worshipped a yakshagana [good spirit],” recalls the 33-year-old.

What convinced him that a story on superstitions would succeed in the present age?

“I strongly believe that the most important ingredients of a good story are its emotions. If the audience can connect with the characters, it will succeed. Besides, I have narrated it differently.”

Ask him about the film’s poster of a young man with a mask over his eye, and Bhandari explained, “The poster represents the theme of the story. Every character in the film has two faces. Some wear a mask knowingly, others unknowingly.”

A die-hard film fan since school days, Bhandari watched Kannada and Bollywood films regularly.

“Moving to the USA on work I was exposed to world cinema. That changed my perspective of cinema. I learnt mainly by watching films, the behind-the-scenes videos and listening to discussions with great directors,” added the self-taught film-maker.

Rangi Taranga is the first Kannada film to make a business of 3 crores in the USA; in the UK, tickets sold out on the first day of release. In places like Chandigarh (north India) where Kannada is little known, it ran to packed houses. Talks are on with Bollywood producers for a Hindi remake. Not to forget the eleven nominations for Rangi Taranga at the upcoming IIFA Utsavam (International Indian Film Academy) next year.

The software professional from Connecticut clearly has no regrets.

Rangi Taranga is out in UAE now.