Indrajit Lankesh says he will steer clear of adapting his father's literary works and making a film on his sister's life as the filmmaker-journalist believes he would not be able to do justice to them.
Lankesh is the son of illustrious Kannada writer-journalist P Lankesh and brother of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, who was assassinated by unknown assailants last year.
"I will not touch my father's books and my sister's biopic. It's very difficult and emotional for me to be able to do justice to them. My father's books are at another level, I can't translate them on celluloid. He was a Sahitya Akademi Award winner and he's also won the National Award for Best Director for Kannada film 'Pallavi' in 1976. The language and essence of his work, I feel, will get lost in a film.
"About Gauri's biopic or documentary, I'm a journalist too and she had an ideology. People are judgemental and people will question me on whatever I do... I know what relationship I had with her. A lot of questions were raised because of the differences in our ideologies," Lankesh told PTI in an interview here.
The filmmaker, who is currently busy wrapping up the "Shakeela" biopic, says till the investigation is over in the murder case, he will refrain from making any comments.
"Right now, I don't know. Maybe after the probe and judgement, I'll make a film. When the killers are nabbed and the verdict is out later, maybe. I'm not even thinking about her as if she's not here.
"I usually don't talk about it. I have told the media that till the time the case is on, I'll not talk about it. I still feel she's somewhere here. And that's the best way how you will not miss her and you stay calm."
Lankesh is helming "Shakeela", featuring Richa Chadha in the title role of the Malayalam adult film star who ruled the South Indian cinema in the 1990s. Pankaj Tripathi is also part of the cast.
The biopic is his Hindi directorial debut and he dubs the film as a pan-Indian project.
"Language is not a matter at all. It's the story. We felt the story had to be told for a bigger audience from a greater stage. So we had to choose Hindi. We are bringing the audiences from the south and the north closer.
"With Richa and Pankaj, we are taking a pan-India approach. We also have Malayalam actor Rajeev Pillai and Esther who has acted in Konkani, Mangalorean and Kannada films. So, we hope to bring India together," he says.
"Bollywood would not have seen this kind of backdrop. The canvas and what we have shown is very different," he adds.
Lankesh says he is lucky to have actors like Richa and Pankaj.
"Richa is a natural actor and she has taken it to another level. The film now feels even closer to the truth. It would have been incomplete without Pankaj. He came so much prepared on the sets. He is someone who gives lots of inputs and yet keeps the director's brief in mind while performing."
The director says through "Shakeela", the team is trying to tell an honest story without glorifying or demonising the real woman, who is still active in the film industry.
"We live in a judgemental society. People badmouth about such movies and yet watch 'Shakeela films'. Why else would a film with a budget of say, Rs 8-10 lakhs go on to collect Rs 50 crores? They still call her a porn star or an adult film star. And her films do well. The distributors and producers are happy. End of the day we brand her a porn star. This is hypocrisy at its best.
"We are not trying to project her holier than thou. As a director, I'm aware that she's made mistakes but in what circumstances she has made those mistakes is a question," he says.
The film is slated to release in 2019.