Director Siddalingaiah was happy about his star movies Doorada Betta and Bangara Manushya. But the kind of response he got for the movies made him angry, and he wanted to prove a point. Bhootayyana Maga Ayyu is the result of this situation.
Siddalingaiah was congratulated for the success of his movie Doorada Betta and Bangarada Manushya with a tagline; you have a star Rajkumar who weaves the magic of success. Siddalingaiah felt all his effort was going in vain. He had to prove himself now.
It was at this time; he read a 12-page story written by Goruru Ramaswamy in his compilation of stories, Vayyara. The director, along with producer Varadappa knocked at writer Gorur’s door. The writer was shocked when the successful director was requesting permission for his 12-page short story to be made into a movie.
In fact, Gorur sent the due away, saying it was a bad idea. “How can anyone make a movie out of it. Even if you try, you will incur a loss. So put this idea out of your mind,” he said and sent them away.
Both were disturbed and decided to have a coffee in the hotel situated near to Gorur’s house. As their coffee glass became empty, both had decided to meet Gorur again and rushed towards his house.
There was a knock at Gorur’s main door. When he opened the door, he couldn’t believe his eyes. The due was back again, requesting for the rights to make the story into a movie. Siddalingaiah tried to explain Gorur how the story has the potential of being woven into a magical movie.
Hearing this, Gorur started smiling and said, ‘I was speaking, keeping your welfare in mind. If you like the story so much, you can make it into a movie. I have no objections.”
After getting the rights, Siddalingaiah wanted to put his heart and soul into the movie as he wanted to prove his mettle. As planned, Chandulal Jain and Veeraswamy joined hands with Varadappa in producing the movie.
Thus the story of 12-pages was being transformed into a screenplay of over two hours. Siddalingaiah himself prepared the screenplay in three months. Hunasur Krishnamurthy wrote dialogues. Chi Udayshankar and RN Jayagopal wrote the lyrics according to the flow of the story.
This was like a do or die situation in the cricket match for Siddalingaiah. He had taken this project that seriously. Now it was time to shed the star value of the movie and to appoint newcomers in the movie. Thus theatre artiste and known for his roles in art movies, Lokesh was selected as Ayyu, Vishnuvardhan as Gulla were fixed. Vishnuvardhan had not become a star actor when the movie was being made. Another major role of the movie Bhootayya was played by MP Shankar. Bhavani and LV Sharada played the lead female roles.
The movie was shot at Kalasapur near Chikkamagalur. A set of a big house was put up where three roads met. The crew did not face any problem during the shoot as everything was planned and was being proceeded accordingly.
Some of the scenes were shot at Dharmasthala, and the climax was shot in Talakadu. With this, Bhootayyana Maga Ayyu became the first colour movie to be completely shot in the outdoors.
The movie was released on February 2, 1974. Even without the star cast, the movie opened to a huge crowd. The direction, quality of screenplay, dialogues, music and songs made the movie successful. So much so, the movie completed 100 days in three theatres in Bengaluru alone.
Bhootayyana Maga Ayu made in Rs 12 lakh earned Rs 45 lakh after the release. The movie won the hearts of critics too and won the State Award in four categories.
This movie became the turning point for the career of actors Vishnuvardhan and Lokesh. Thus as decided Siddalingaiah had proved that he could make a good as well as a successful movie even without the star cast.
The success was also an apt answer to the questions posed by the writer Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar, who wholeheartedly congratulated the movie crew.