With each day passing, I see that I am nearing the END. The end of the most memorable journey of my life (so far). Lucia is almost over, and I can’t help but remember every other person who made this happened. If you are someone who has never been on the side of making a movie, you will not understand why I make such a BIG deal out of this. Making a low budget kannada film is like moving a mountain, only those who have tried it will know.

Anyways, I want to tell you all about a person, whom I don’t know how to thank. This guy is an ardent Kannada movie buff, every week when a Kannada movie releases, he makes sure to drag a few friends/family along and watch it. It doesn’t matter to him how good or bad the film is. He just watches.

A year ago, he heard about Lucia. He did his bit – Pre-Ordered a Ticket. He told his friends “Hey I am supporting the new idea, lets see what happens.” That just ended there.

A month later we asked everyone in our network if they could let us know of any space where we could shoot. This guy wrote to us and asked us to check out his office. About two weeks later, we did go to his office, seemed like it was going to work out and for the first time we met him. He Introduced himself as Ashok.

I got back home, later a little late in the night I got a call from Ashok. For the first few minutes, I didn’t know what to talk, I am not a very social person on the phone with strangers. Finally Ashok managed to ask me something that was bothering him. He asked “Why do Kannada movies look so different from Bollywood or any other language film, why is something missing?” After a minute I got to know that he was asking about the visual treatment, though I was not very keen on spending time on explaining in detail, I did a bit bcoz I had to still get his office to shoot. So I had to be in his good books. I told him that we have a huge challenge in getting the RIGHT locations. And it is the locations which give the richness to the film. He and I both knew that some of the Kannada films have shown great shots of the nature, but when it comes to interiors or House kind of shots, we do lack something. Like any other innocent audience who is not aware of film shooting, he asked – “Why don’t you guys work hard and find the right locations?” By then I was a bit pissed, bcoz we keep hearing a lot of ‘Talkers’, the ones who can only say – Do this, Do that  etc etc. They fail to see that the ability to not do it is already killing us, and when you ask, it is like pinching salt on our wounds. So I responded saying “Look, I will give you a list of things we need for this film, you find them and we will shoot in those spaces.” He was not aware of what was being given to him, he readily agreed. He thought it was a very easy job and we were just not doing it, especially bcoz he is a VP of an IT company and has many contacts, he was sure it was going to be a cake walk. The first challenge he took up was to get us Mac Donald’s.

Ashok made few calls and started speaking to some people and then the reality dawned upon him. Mac Donald’s rejected our proposal. In a week, his energy and optimism was completely crushed. He knew what I meant when I had said – ‘It is difficult”. I thought that I had successfully brushed off another ‘Talker’. But Ashok was not just a ‘Talker’.

With each day passing, he would make more and more calls, ask me more and more details, to an extent that sometimes I was wondering if I was wasting time with him. I had to scout for locations, rewrite scripts, cast etc etc and this guy was asking me questions after questions.  For some reason I was giving him the information, may be with the hope that he would make a miracle. And a miracle is what he did.

Ashok took me to various marketing heads of all top food chains, I was offering them a tie up, but most of them didn’t want to do it bcoz we were a Kannada Film. Every time he heard this, he’d be hurt and that got him more n more aggressive. It came to a point where it became a personal challenge for him. I had seen it over 5 years, so I think i was prepared for rejection, I was already preparing for alternatives in the script. But Ashok wouldn’t give up.

It took him about 45 days but he came back, he came with Papa Johns. YES! We shot at Papa Johns for almost 6 days. An international company giving their space for a Kannada film with no star in it, is a huge achievement. My entire team now knew of Ashok. He had become one of us. More than 75% of the locations that we shot for Lucia were sourced through Ashok. He is one adamant guy. He made his north Indian friends give up their homes for a day for us to shoot. People who have never seen a Kannada film have given us their factories and offices, all thanks to this stubborn person. Not just locations, he got us a Range Rover, another fancy car, and finally a Harley Davidson!

He has got nothing to do with FILM INDUSTRY, he is an IT guy with rich experience in his job alone. What connected him and us is – “Lets make a good Kannada film”. There was no money in it for him, yet he’d make LONG trips in his own BIG CAR to offices in Whitefield with our movie proposal. For the last one year he has worked with us while he successfully managed to do Multi Crore deals in his IT company.

Today when I sit back and see our movie being color graded, when the colorist says the shots look beautiful, I don’t feel like thanking my DOP as much as I feel like thanking Ashok. I wonder how the film would have been without him. It was so easy to build spaces in my head while I scripted the film, but he has a BIG role in bringing those spaces to life.

I think he is a classic example of “the Man who walks.” I hear so many complains about our films, about our work, people talk to us like they own us, I have heard people freely pouring in suggestions and orders…. so much that it messes with our own moods. None of them do anything other than talking from their chairs. But Ashok is a true Kannada film follower, in the last one year he has read every comment, every post about Lucia made by people. He never spoke, he just worked and ironed out our problems. I hope he is an example to many out there who have the potential to do wonders but instead choose to simply talk. We don’t ‘have to’ speak in Kannada, we don’t have to hate other languages, we dont have to blindly worship someone, we dont have to do any of those to have a progressive vision. We don’t even have to be in the Film Industry to bring in a change, we just need to have the right intention.

Team Lucia owes it Ashok R – The Walker. 

ashok