Ere Gowda went from being a security guard to an award-winning filmmaker – a perfect example of chasing dreams and achieving big. His film Thithi has bagged a number of awards, nationally and internationally.
He started out as a security guard at an automobile store in Mysore after finishing his schooling, owing to financial troubles within the family. Then just 15 years old, he earned Rs 850 a month. But two years later, his mother fell ill – and he needed a higher salary to treat her.
He then got a job as a guard at producer Pratap Reddy’s office. At that time, Pratap’s son, Raam (who later produced Thithi) was in school. The two of them would play cricket everyday after he got back home. “I didn’t know English and he didn’t know Kannada, but language wasn’t a barrier and our friendship grew,” said Gowda to Times of India. “Three years later, my mother passed away. I was not interested in working as a security guard anymore, so I decided to return to my village and find work there.”
But, fate had different plans.
Raam refused to let him go back to his village and, instead, arranged for a job for him at his mother’s NGO, where Gowda began to work as an office boy.
“I didn’t have a house, so I used to sleep in the office,” he remembers. “I was interested in computers, so I learnt how to use them myself after office hours and went on to do bigger jobs, like data entry. I also used to shoot and edit events, which is where my interest in cameras developed.”
At the same time, Raam also developed an interest in films during his college days at St. Stephens in Delhi. “When he came back, we decided to make a short film together,” Gowda recounts, “We shot Eka on a DSLR camera; it was like a test movie, but it went on to be screened at 21 international film festivals and we won many awards.”
With the awards pouring in, the duo decided they should next take up a feature film. “I had told him several tales about my village, so after a visit there, Raam decided to study filmmaking for a year to make Thithi.”
Raam Reddy directed the film, while Ere Gowda worked on its screenplay and helped out in every other aspect of the film. Within six months of its release at film festivals, the movie got seven awards, even two awards at Locarno, one of the oldest film festivals in the world, along with a National Award for Best Kannada Film.
According to Gowda, not having a plan in life is what brought him success. “I have chosen to continue to be a filmmaker,” he said. “I don’t know what the future holds, but I always put my best into everything that I do, and I will continue to do so.”
Released on May 6, Thithi is a light-hearted film set in Mandya. It’s about how three generations of men react to the death of their 101-year-old patriarch.
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The film stars people who have no experience in acting or the film industry. The film brings to light the different ways society behaves in the face of death.