Man at His Best

October Man Of Our Time: K Rajagopal

For showing us that itís possible to slay dragons.

BY Wayne Cheong | Oct 1, 2016 | Film & TV

Photograph by Chng Dju-Lian. Art direction by Eugene Lim. Grooming by Alex T Beauty.


Despite the accolades garnered since the release of his first short film, I Can’t Sleep Tonight in 1995, it was only recently that, at 51, K Rajagopal is appreciated for his work. “My filmmaking journey has seen a revival,” he says. But can something be revived if it wasn’t dead to begin with?

There is a period of inactivity in his filmmaking history that he credits to “apprehensions preventing [him] from becoming a fulltime artist because [he] couldn’t make a living out of it.” So he left the industry, but still carried that desire to create.

The dry spell would have continued had he not been invited to join six others to co-direct Lucky 7, an exquisite corpse—a cinematic approach that sees a director continue a film from where the last one left off.

Since then, he has been steadily making shorts, and now has finished his first full-length feature, A Yellow Bird, a film five years in the making.

“I’m not one to churn out films. I have to be inspired,” Rajagopal says. “That’s why A Yellow Bird took this long. There’s so much pressure, and it involved so many things, so many people, and a lot of time. I had to be careful.”

That slow cooking paid off: A Yellow Bird was chosen for Cannes and other international film festivals. It will begin its run at Golden Village on December 8. Apart from thinking about his next film, Rajagopal is working as a freelance director on smaller projects.

The fear, that smoking dragon, that once held him back, still exists, always making itself known before he embarks on a new production. But now, it’s easier to reach for the lance, to plunge it deep into the heart of that old serpent, and that’s the moral of K Rajagopal’s tale.