What is love?
TO me anything that you invest your soul energy in is love. It is the energy that you derive from within. The more you invest it in something, the more it will develop. Cinema undoubtedly then is something that makes me invest myself completely. Clearly it was love at first sight when I laid my eyes on the silver screen. I still remember the first time I went to the theatre to watch a Kannada film. It was Bhoothayyana Maga Ayyu and from the moment I entered the theatre, I sat riveted. The joy of standing in the queue, the disheartening feeling when the houseful board was put in front of us when we stretched out for a ticket, the giant red curtains that were drawn aside to the accompaniment of English music to reveal the silver screen behind… these are experiences that are etched in my heart, even today. It became a ritual every Sunday with my father, my two brothers and I, dressed in identical shirts going to watch a film with much eagerness. I had fallen in love, hook, line and sinker and that affair continues till today. Cinema has kept me on my toes. 30 years after I started out, I still look forward to getting ready at 9am and giving my first shot. While the selfies, autographs and fame are a by-product of the process, it’s the creativity itself that gives you such a high. As a director, to conceive a thought or a scene and see it transform on the big screen is something that enchants me till today. I’m in love and will always be, with cinema.

The butterfly, a symbol of self-nurturing love
When I first watched Queen, I enjoyed every word, scene, frame and song in the film. There are three big events in life — birth, marriage and death. And marriage, which is a mid-point, is such a big event in a girl’s mind and this holds good across the globe. There is nothing worse than breaking a girl’s heart and nobody should allow it to happen. This is why Queen and its remake Butterfly (which I have directed) is a film that will appeal to all — whatever language it is made in! I have been giving motivational talks for a few years now and I’ve been telling everyone the same thing: don’t go for a caterpillar life when you can have a butterfly life. The film is beautiful in so many different ways. It portrays how life exists beyond romantic love. Romantic love is just a part of the various facets of life that complete us. There is friendship which fosters love of a different kind which Parvati, played by Parul Yadav, finds in a female friend in France. There is a platonic love that she later shares with her male friends. And of course, the enriching love from her family which sustains Parvati all through her difficulties. I know it’s the month of love. But always know this: just because you have a break-up, you don’t have to sit in a corner and mope. You should have the conviction that ‘I can heal my own heart’.

Love — then and now
When I did films in the earlier days, love was pristine. If I said ‘I love you’ to the leading lady, it meant forever… like even being buried together! But these days, commitment levels are lesser and we all know that is the truth. I guess there are too many temptations and that has sort of led to indecisiveness among the current generation. There are way too many things that they want. In the earlier times, it was an unsaid rule amongst both partners that there has to be certain sacrifices and compromises on both sides. When you’re in love and there’s commitment, the concept of you and me just disappears and it is all about ‘us.’ But the moment you start questioning it and ask why you should do so, there will be trouble in paradise. It’s just about intelligent compromises that need to be made and it will hold you in good stead. I give a lot of talks at schools and colleges and I have always said one thing: every conflict can be resolved in two ways. One is to say, “I’ll show you,” and roll up your sleeves; the other is to choose the path of love and look at the problem from the other’s viewpoint. Trust me; it works wonders and love always wins.

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