ama Bai (Mrs Ambedkar), a Kannada film on the life of Ambedkar’s wife will release on April 14 that will coincide with Ambedkar's 126th birth anniversary all over Karnataka. The film is produced by Srinivas and directed by Ranganath. The film stars Yajna Shetty in the title role and Siddarama Karnik as Dr B R Ambedkar.

Producer Srinivas said he wanted to do a good film and when director told him about making a film on Rama Bai he readily accepted to do it.

Mohan Raj of Dalit Sangharsha Samithi said he had provided information, material and CD on Rama Bai to the director. He said Bhavya or Sudha Rani were on the verge of being selected to play the title role but it went to Yajna Shetty. He said Rama Bai had died at 27 on May 27, 1935 after contributing to Ambedkar’s life. Jayanna of DSS said he supported the project from the beginning.

Siddarama Karnik said he used to play Ambedkar in dramas and added that he had authored a book on the legend. He said the cinema medium is more powerful than a book. Siddarama Karnik has incidentally written the lyrics and dialogues for the film.

He also said a Marathi film was made on Rama Bai which did not reach people. Rama Bai signified the strength and power of a dalit woman who stood behind her husband and became a role model for a number of women.

Director Ranganath said he had watched the play and wanted it to made into a film. The film is close to reality and will appeal to Dr Ambedkar’s followers.

Yajna Shetty said she came to know of Rama Bai only after starting work on the movie. She said Rama Bai had contributed a lot to her husband’s achievements.

ama Bai, a biopic on Dr Ambedkar’s wife has completed shoot and is readying for a June end release.

Producer Srinivas told journalists on Monday  that there was no cinema pertaining to Rama Bai’s life although many people have made films on Dr Ambedkar. He said he came to know that Siddarama Karnick had done a lot of research on Rama Bai and the life she had led.

He said the film had been shot in Karwar and Dharwad over a 30-day schedule. He said both Siddarama Karnick and Yajna Shetty were apt for their roles as Ambedkar and Rama Bai. He said the film will be released commercially but didn’t want to categorise it as an art movie.

Director Ranganath said the film was close to reality with the team able to find the right location and artistes. He said it was indeed a challenge to find the right location as the film had to get the right feel of period. He said he wanted to make a film on Dr Ambedkar but when he saw that many films were already made they decided to focus on Ambedkar wife’s contribution and strength behind Ambedkar’s achievements.

He said some research went into authenticating the life of Rama Bai.

Yajna Shetty said she was proud and honoured to be offered the real life character of Rama Bai. She said she didn’t know about the woman. She said Rama Bai had dedicated her life to Ambedkar’s success and has been truly an inspiration for many as she had been a bone of support to him till her last day.

Siddarama Karnick said he had written the play Mrs Ambedkar and Rama Bai continues to be an inspirational story for many women. The love and respect that the couple shared is something unprecedented, he said.

Cinematographer Gurudutt Musuri recalled some shots that he had taken which will be appreciated and added that he expected an award for his camera work.

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K N Nagesh Kumar, Photo Journalist
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