Sagar is a good friend of mine and also my associate director for the first film, Gubbachigalu. Ever since I started working on Shikari, he too was a part of it. Santosh Eashwar is (a close relative of great writer from Kerala, Mr. Kaidapuram) an experienced associate director from Kerala. These two formed a strong team for direction department. Santosh also took up the job of writing the dialogues for the film (in Malyalam) with the guidance of Mammootty sir himself. Rajeev, Unni and Nagesh formed rest of the direction team who looked after other responsibilities like continuity, editing report, clap etc.
Harikrishna started composing music tracks for the film. He had 5 tracks to prepare. Some of the most important writers of Kannada and Malyalam film industry were requested to pen the lyrics to the tunes. In Kannada Jayant Kaikini wrote two songs, Nagendraprasad wrote two songs and Kaviraj wrote one song. In Malyalam, Murugan Kattakada, Kaidapuram Damodaran Nambuthiri, Vayalar Sharatchandra Varma, Santosh Varma wrote beautiful, soulful lyrics. Preparation of tunes, coordination of lyrics, singing, and track lying all started happening in Bangalore, Cochin and Chennai. Creating the music tracks for Shikari was a very beautiful experience. These tracks are not run of the mill tracks. They are created with the feel and sense of the period the film is happening in. I am sure you will enjoy all the tracks as much as we did creating them.
We started casting for the film. Film doesn’t have many characters in it. Since the film was happening in two languages, we also wanted to mix actors from both the languages. We hope that would appeal to the audience from both the languages. From Kannada, Aditya, Mohan, Achutha Kumar, Ashwath Ninasam, Sharat Lohitashwa, Satish Ninasam, Sihi Kahi Chandru, Naveen D Padil, Chandrahas Ullal came on board. All of them are very talented actors most of them with several years of theater background. We decided that most of them can act in both the languages and for some of the key roles; we decided to have a different actor for Malyalam alone. So from Malyalam, Tini Tom, Suresh Krishna and Innocent sir joined us; a talented bunch from Kerala thus joined the journey of Shikari. I have seen many films of Innocent sir and I adore him very much. When I met him for casting, I learnt that he knows Kannada so I decided that he can work in both the languages. Thus now, the Kannada audience will have a wonderful experience of watch Innocent sir on screen.
And then the search for heroin started. The character demanded a good performer who would be able to carry two different characters from two different time zones! She also had to be a good pair with Mammootty sir. She would have to manage both languages too! After searching for several months, we had not found a suitable heroine. There are some talented actresses in Kannada and Kerala but somehow nothing worked out for us. Some of them didn’t have dates when we wanted some of them had difficulties managing the other language etc. we even tried some actresses from Hindi. But nothing was appealing enough for this project.
So we decided to start the first schedule of film without heroine. There was supposed to be a month’s gap before we could start the second schedule. We postponed our search till that time and started our preparation for the first leg of shooting.