Now Larry Fernandes to Play Lead Role in Kannada Movie
Report by Gabriel Vaz
Pics by Jessie Rodrigues
Daijiworld Media Network - Bangalore
Bangalore, Aug 18: Mangaloreans are hailed at the most intelligent people, who pioneered and prospered in many ventures.
And one such self-made entrepreneur, who has come up the hard way and made a mark in the highly competitive and the capital intensive shipping, cargo handling and logistical sectors in distant Gulf region for more than two decades, has now embarked on a completely alien adventure of producing a big-budget Kannada film.
He is the 58-year-old Frank Fernandes, Managing Director of Mosaco Shipping and Forwarding (L.L.C.), with operations in Dubai and Jebel Ali of United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), who has endeared himself to all those involved in the Konkani music, cultural, theatre and even literary world through his generous disposition.
On turning 58, Frank, as he likes himself to be addressed by his legions of friends spread literally across the globe, on his birthday on August 18, has taken up the adventurous task of producing a Kannada film, ``Ellelloo neene, Nannalloo neene,’’ to launch his son Larry, who goes by the screen name of Rohith, as a hero.
The film, being produced under the banner ``Ferns Movie International,’’ as the tastefully designed publicity blurb says, is about love or more precisely, ``True love never dies.’’
For both father and son, though venturing into Kannada filmdom is a first of its kind experience, they are familiar with the rigours and demands of tinsel world as the former had produced his first Konkani film, ``Kaajaar,’’ which also became the launch vehicle for Rohith.
The father-son duo were keen to undertake the formal ``Muhurat’’ ceremony as a Tuesday unmindful of the disinclination of the highly superstitious and tradition-minded film industry, which normally desists from embarking an any venture including journey on the day considered inauspicious by most.
Apart from the largely unorthodox fixing of the muhurat function on what is generally considered an the inauspicious day of Tuesday, another significant aspect of the function was the statue of Infant Jesus along with the idol of Ganesha to invoke divine blessings.
The father-son duo had the state and national award winning film director, Richard Castelino, who had also directed Frank’s maiden Konkani film Kaajaar, to give them company in the new venture, which incident
Richard, of course, is not a novice in the film industry having undertaken the onerous and challenging task of direction in as many as nine movies, mostly in Tulu. But he has the distinction of producing possibly the best Kodava movie, ``Ponnamma’’. He shot into fame through his maiden Tulu movie, ``Bangaarada Patler.’’ The other Tulu movies directed by Richard are: ``September ‘’,``Badi,’’ ``Nyaayagaad namma badk’’ and ``Bolli Thota.’’
The first Konkani movie directed by Richard is the widely acclaimed, ``Bhogsaane,’’ which impressed Frank Fernandes to such an extent that he decided to enagage him as director for his maiden Konkani venture, ``Kazar.’’
The muhurat for the new Kannada film was a simple function at the Karnataka government owned Sri Kanteerava Film Studios, near Yeshwanthpur, the first for Mangaloreans traveling to Bangalore. A portion of the Kanteerava Studios’ land is a must visit spot for all Kannada artistes and movie buffs as it serves as the ``samaadhi’’ or burial ground of celebrated Kannada matinee idol, Dr Raj Kumar.
The function began with the cutting of a huge cake, with the letters 58 inscribed, to mark the number of years of the birthday boy and producer, and the loving dad that he is, Frank offered the first piece to his movie-hero son Larry, well Rohith. The latter offered a bite of the cake to his lady love in the movie Supritha, who had also acted as the heroine in the super-hit Kannada movie, ``Ambaari.’’
While the veteran film artiste, screen-play writer and director Geethapriya did the honours of directing the first scene, philanthropist cum industrialist (he is more widely known and popular for the first) Ronald Colaco operated the camera, the young Malleswaram BJP MLA Dr C N Ashwathanarayana, who is better known as a medical practitioner than his political role, did the clap for the muhurat. The brief function that preceded had the celebrated Kannada film director and president of Karnataka Film Directors’ Association S V Rajendra Singh Babu and Shalini Prabhu of the Film Censor Board along with another celebrated Catholic film producer, Raymond Quadros, who brought out films like ``Manmatha,’’ ``Paadri’’ and ``Badi’’, were among the dignitaries apart from the others who did the honours at the muhurat, extended their warm greetings and good wishes. A good many Kannada artistes graced the occasion.
``Ellelloo neene, Nannalloo neene’’ is about love and all that goes in the game of love. It will be shot in Bangalore, Mangalore, Chikmagalur besides other exotic and picturesque locations of Shimla and Ooty and even abroad in Bangkok, Malaysia and Singapore, according to director Richard Castelino, who spoke to Daijiworld but declined to reveal further details at this stage.
``We must keep some elements of surprise. Otherwise, the excitement and fun will be lost,’’ he quipped. While Richard has also penned the screen-play, the camerawork will be done by Mallikarjuna and music by Vijayabharati. Dance sequences will be choreographed by Prasad with Srinivas P Babu doing the editing. Apart from Rohith and Supriya, Ashwath and Neenasam as the other lead actors.
Young and affable Rohith, who did his early schooling upto 12th standard in Dubai where he was born and brought up and his graduation in St Aloysius College, Mangalore, frankly admits that he is not able to speak Kannada. ``Yes, I have now picked some words and am able to understand,’’ he says confessing that he is totally at sea even in his own mother-tongue, Konkani.
``But love does not know any language. So does cinema,’’ he said in a brief chat with Daijiworld. ``In films, the ability to speak a language is not that important. It is the expression and the way one is able to portray emotions that really matters,’’ he remarked and mischievously referred to the film’s catchline, ``True love never dies.’’
``He loves dancing and is quite adept in dancing. He has neither stage fear nor any reservations about facing the camera,’’ chips in his elder brother Oliver, who is into business. He also reveals that his younger brother has several offers from Tamil and Telugu film-makers.
Frank Fernandes, who took time to speak to Daijiworld on the sidelines of the muhurat function, confessed that he was totally ignorant of the movie industry. ``I decided to produce the first movie, Kaajaar, in my mother-tongue Konkani. I am told it has come out well, even though I say as a producer like a father speaks of his child,’’ he said pointing out that he was keen to hold the premier show on September 9, 2009, obviously a numerology buff, as the date of 09/09/09 suggests.
``But due to various circumstances, beyond my control, the premier show had to be delayed. I can’t say when the next date for the premier show of Kaajaar will be fixed,’’ he said, adding: ``It will probably be in October.’’
When asked why he dared to produce a movie in Kannada starring his son, who does not know nor is able to speak in Kannada, Frank says: ``I produced the first movie in my mother-tongue Konkani. The second movie is in the official language of my state, Karnataka, which I had studied in school.’’
So what next? He is quick with his repartee: ``eradu beku, mooru saaku’’ or two is necessary, three is enough, reminding one of the widely used family planning slogan when it was first coined, which was subsequently changed to, ``ondu beku, eradu saaku’’ or one is needed, two is enough. However, Frank himself mentions that he is a proud father of six children, of which one had died in less than 45 days after birth.
Born in Thottam, Frank had studied in the local government fisheries school, and moved to Bombay in 1968, where he worked in Larsen & Toubro and other companies from 1968 to 1977, before flying off to Dubai to make his fortune. Today, as Managing Director of Mosaco Shipping and Forwarding (L.L.C), he has offices in Dubai, Jebel Ali and other places besides trading ties with several countries. He has over 100 employees.