This is an inspiring story of a creative filmmaker, who despite having no godfather in the Kannada film industry, made it to the list of elite film directors of Sandalwood. His debut movie – “Shuddhi” (Nominated For Best Film – Jio Filmfare South Indian Awards 2018) – a women-centric thriller movie witnessed 100 days of successful screening in PVR Forum. He is none other than Adarsh.H.Eshwarappa. His journey from a normal college student to an extraordinary filmmaker having crossed several heartbreaking obstacles is awe-inspiring for any budding filmmaker.
I met him after I was blown away watching this extraordinary masterpiece – “Shuddhi”. I requested him for an interview and he readily agreed. Thanks to Adarsh.H.Eshwarappa for giving me loads of insights into his personal and professional life.
The trailer of the movie Shuddhi can be watched here:
The Story Of Adarsh H Eshwarappa
A Short Family Introduction :
Adarsh H. Eshwarappa was born in Haasan district of Karnataka state where he lived for almost 5 years. After his father started making a loss in business, the family decided to move to Bangalore to earn a living. Father started working as an auto-driver while mother became a school teacher. That is how the family started living in Bangalore.
Early Education and Interests:
Adarsh went on to do his diploma in Mechanical Engineering. The first set-back in Adarsh’s life was a year back in diploma course. He was almost broke and felt guilty about it. Parents were really worried about his education and career. He had to wait for another year to get back to college, while his friends moved on. In this year, instead of sitting home and wasting time, he decided to do some job and make some quick bucks. He started doing all kinds of odd jobs and during this time he realized the importance of studies and wanted to get back to college soon. From then on, he excelled in his studies. After completing his diploma course in Mechanical Engineering, he decided to further pursue a bachelor’s degree in engineering (B.E). Engineering became a craze for Adarsh.
Though being very much interested in engineering, for various reasons, he could not manage to get an engineering seat that year. This was the second setback for Adarsh. Again he had to wait for a year to get into an engineering college. He again decided to do some odd jobs to make and save some money for his engineering education later. Next year, he took a break from all his work, just prepared for 15 continuous days for CET (Common Entrance Test for pursuing engineering) and appeared for the test. This time he excelled and earned an engineering seat in one of the prestigious engineering colleges in Bangalore – Sir.MVIT in the year 2003. He got a seat in Mechanical Engineering Department.
While he was studying engineering, his only goal was to pursue a Masters Degree in the US and settle there with a decent career. During his interview with me, he recalls and laughs at – “He had never dreamt of becoming a filmmaker even in the wildest of his dreams”.
How Film Making Became His Interest:
Until the third year of engineering, he had no clue about theatre, drama or cinema. It was in the third year of engineering (the sixth semester to be precise), Adarsh played a character in a dance drama called “Ashtadasha” as part of the college fest. This was the first stepping stone into the world of performing arts and cinema. He participated in the dance drama with a lot of interest. It was directed by another person of the team. This drama was applauded by the entire college. The drama was further played at many other colleges as part of inter-collegiate festivals and competitions. The drama won hearts of the audience. People started appreciating the drama and the entire team. The appreciation that he was receiving from people around, made Adarsh incline towards performing arts. He started getting immersed in the world of theatres, art, and drama. His dreams of pursuing a masters degree from the US was slowly fading away from his mind.
In the same semester, he performed another solo dance at Dr.Ambedkar Institute of Technology and won a prize. The principal of the college personally invited and appreciated him. This was his second encounter with the world of performing arts. He took the appreciation so much into his mind that, he wanted to do more and more.
In the final year of Engineering (the seventh semester to be precise) he decided to direct and choreograph a dance drama for another inter-collegiate competition. He gave his heart and soul into the making of this dance drama. The dance drama had a 15 member team participating in it. Adarsh says this dance drama is his first experience as a director. Even though he did not have any strong intention of becoming a filmmaker in the future, today, he attributes his excellent directorial skills to his first-hand experience in this dance drama.
This dance drama was performed in NITTE college of engineering where the audience went crazy watching the performance. The dance drama was very much appreciated by everyone who watched it. After looking at the audience reactions and expressions, Adarsh expected the dance drama to be the winner of the competition. But, as the fate was not favorable towards Adarsh and his team, the dance drama was disqualified citing team size as the parameter.
This disqualification could not be accepted by Adarsh, as he had put his complete effort in getting the dance drama to its best perfection. He was completely heart-broken and depressed. He stayed home for three days locking inside his room for not winning the competition. These three days of being with self, made him realize his passion for filmmaking. In these three days, he decided to make filmmaking as his career. He decided to become an acclaimed film director. He did not want to settle for anything less.
He dropped his idea of going to the US for a masters degree. He stopped attending campus placements as he no more had any interest to work for an MNC. His thoughts were only into cinema. He lived and breathed cinema.
By now, he realized that to become a filmmaker, he had to watch movies made by other film directors. He wanted to sit at home and watch movies, but, his tight financial situation will not allow him to do this. For this reason, he decided to join any call center where he can work in the night and watch movies in the morning. But, even here he had to face troubles. He was rejected by almost 15 call-centers for not having a neutral English accent. He then joined an English accent neutrality course for 2 months. After completing the course, he managed to get a call-center job where he worked in the night shifts. He worked with 3 companies; Repcol, IBM and then Dell for around 4 years.
His daily routine was to watch a minimum of 2 movies in the day, sleep for few hours and go to work in the night. He continued this for almost four years. After a slight understanding of how movies are made, he wanted to pursue a formal education in filmmaking. He later quits his call-center job at DELL, withdraws all his savings and goes to Los Angeles, Hollywood to learn filmmaking from New York Film Academy. After completing his course in the US, he comes back to India and remains unemployed with a 4 lakh debt.
With so much of debt, he was unable to focus on filmmaking. He wanted to somehow get rid of the debt and for that reason, he joins UNISYS as a call-center executive again. He works there for three years to become financially stable. Though he was busy with his job, he never let go of his dream to become a filmmaker. To keep in touch with his interests, he made one short film – “Marethenendukondeyaa” and another full-length movie – “B.E Mech” – which was made at a shoestring budget of 2 lakhs which was Invested by Mr. Madesh T Bhaskar and Nandini Madesh, who eventually invested in ‘Shuddhi’ too. B.E Mech was purely made to get a hang of making a Feature Film and releasing it was never on his mind. The making of the movie “B.E Mech” gave him a true exposure and was able to practically put in all the stuff that he learned from New York Film Academy. The best part of making the movie “B.E Mech” is that, he got a dream team to work for his next dream project – “Shuddhi”.
After working with UNISYS for close to three years, he decides to quit to make his dream movie “Shuddhi”. He took a year gap from his profession to chase his passion because he knew, it was already late. In a year’s time, the movie “Shuddhi” was made. But, due to lack of funds, it could not be released as expected. As Adarsh was financially broken, he had to again get back to work. He joined the company Goldman Sachs to work there as a call center executive again. After 2 years and a half, he applied for a personal loan of 10 lakhs to finish the post-production of the Film. After crossing a million hurdles “Shuddhi” was finally released in March 2017.
“Shuddhi” went on to become a huge hit running for 100 days in PVR Forum making Adarsh.H.Eshwarapa one of the acclaimed directors in the world of Kannada Cinema.
Now, Adarsh is working on his new project “Bhinna” produced by Purple Rock Entertainers.
What Can You Learn From This Story:
Never ever dump your dreams when you are faced with tough challenges in life. Obstacles make human being stronger. If you believe in something and want it, do not quit until you achieve it. As Paulo Coelho has rightly said – “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”
Few Excerpts From The Interview:
1. How do you choose movie theme?
[Adarsh H Eshwarappa]: Based on Intuition. I love to talk about humanity.
2. What is the biggest challenge as a filmmaker and for a producer?
[Adarsh H Eshwarappa]: Finding the right story
3. How did you convince the producer?
[Adarsh H Eshwarappa]: By narrating the story. The producer was convinced by the storyline.
4. How long did you take to achieve your goal of becoming a filmmaker?
[Adarsh H Eshwarappa]: From the day I dreamt of becoming a filmmaker to the day “Shuddhi” got released, it was almost 12 years. So, it took 12 years to realize my dream.
5. What is your suggestion for upcoming filmmakers?
[Adarsh H Eshwarappa]: Have patience. Believe in yourself. Learn the craft of filmmaking and do not play for the sake of playing. Play for winning.
6. What do you think people got attracted to in Shuddhi?
[Adarsh H Eshwarappa]: Emotions. Especially, people cannot tolerate violence against women. People stood up with Shuddhi.
7. Is director the captain of the ship?
[Adarsh H Eshwarappa]: Of course yes. He drives the entire show.
What do you think about those movies that don’t get released sometimes?
[Adarsh H Eshwarappa]: A Film made with all Honesty and a right spirit will eventually find it’s audience, though funding will be one of the reasons due to which it may get delayed. On the flip side, wrong intentions & dishonesty when making a Film can be one of the reasons, it would not see the light of the day.
Hope you enjoyed this blog post reading about an inspiring filmmaker Adarsh H Eshwarappa. Please feel free to comment below on your opinions.
To watch the full movie of Shuddhi here: Shuddi on NetFlix
If you are an aspiring film director and want to know how to become a film director from scratch, you should read this: