'I would like to continue acting and also direct films'
Rishabh Shetty, a diploma holder in film direction from the Government Film and TV Institute in Bangalore started off in the Kannada film industry by assisting director AMR Ramesh in Cyanide.
He then assisted Arvind Kaushik on a TV series and went on to make his acting debut in Thuglak. Rishabh played a small role as a police officer in Pawan Kumar’s Lucia.
He has a strong theatre background having done yakshagana (a folk art form in coastal Karnataka).
The enthusiastic and talented actor from Kundapur will soon be seen in the Rakshit Shetty directed Ulidavaru Kandanthe (As seen by the rest), in which he also worked as an associate to the director.
He talks to rediff.com about his character in Ulidavaru Kandanthe and his future plans.
In the trailer of Ulidavaru Kandanthe, bold block letters scream that it is about ‘something that you stole for a reason’. What is it that you steal?
(Laughs) You have to watch the film to know what it is. I definitely cannot break the suspense.
What is your character all about?
I play Raagu, the childhood friend of Richie (actor-director Rakshit Shetty).
An incident takes place in his village in coastal Karnataka when he was a child and he runs away to Mumbai out of fear. There, he begins to work in a hotel.
After he grows up into a young man, he understands that he has lost his father, and his mother is struggling to make ends meet back in his village.
He goes back to his village and meets his childhood friend, Richie and then…you will have to watch the film.
My character appears in the first chapter of the film.
Image: Rishabh Shetty
'The characters are based on nature's elements-- water, fire, wind and earth'
Cinematographer Karm Chawla told me that the film’s main characters are based on the elements of nature, and yours is based on water, the ocean to be precise.
Yes. When Rakshit finished his first draft he told me that the characters are based on nature’s elements, mine being water, Richie is fire, Kishore is wind, Tara is Earth.
With regard to my character having traits of the ocean, it has this quality of being calm and serene and also violent and catastrophic.
These metaphors are not spoon-fed to the viewer; they reveal themselves as the scenes play out in the film.
My character Raagu is a drug addict. He talks about things when he is high on drugs which may be his illusion.
Is your character connected to the rest of the chapters in the film or does it end in your chapter itself?
Apart from my chapter, I also appear in other chapters here and there; like in Tara’s story – she plays my mother in the film. Her character portrays earth, another element of nature.
Image: Movie poster of Ulidavaru Kandanthe
'I am confident that Ulidavaru Kandanthe will strike a chord with the audience'
You also worked an as associate director in the film?
Yes, Rakshit is more comfortable writing his scripts in English. Right from translating that to Kannada, to working on the sets as an associate, I have been involved with him in the making of the film. It was a great experience.
It is a brilliant script. What comes across as truth in one chapter may reveal itself as a deception in another chapter.
Seems like another ground-breaking film in Kannada. Are you nervous about how the audience may respond?
Be it Simplag Ondhu Love Story or Lucia or even Jatta, we have a new audience now.
It’s not a newly-born audience – they had moved away from watching Kannada films a little over a decade ago, and now, they are back in the cinema halls and they want to watch something ground breaking.
I am not nervous. I am confident that Ulidavaru Kandanthe will strike a chord with the audience not only in Karnataka, but outside too.
We started off with a fierce passion to make a quality film. We did not expect that the trailer of the film would go viral online or the music would become such a phenomenal hit.
If I may add, I may be nervous immediately after the release of Ulidavaru Kandanthe because I will be making my debut as a director in a film with Rakshit playing the lead role.
Image: Rishabh Shetty
'We will be sending Ulidavaru Kandanthe to the Cannes Film Festival this year'
Are you looking for a market outside of Karnataka for Ulidavaru Kandanthe?
Yes, we will be sending Ulidavaru Kandanthe to the Cannes Film Festival this year.
Rakshit has been working for it day and night, background score, visual effects and the other post-production work is on at a brisk pace.
We want to set a benchmark with Ulidavaru Kandanthe.
The interesting thing is the film has all the ingredients of a commercial entertainer - love, mother sentiment, action - but all in a different format and not in the beaten-to-death form of storytelling.
Will you release Ulidavaru Kandanthe in other metro cities in India?
Yes, definitely. Due to extensive promotions on the social media platforms, film industries from other states have also started making inquiries for the remake rights for Tamil and Telugu.
Kannadigas in other cities like Hyderabad and Delhi have been requesting us to release it there.
You said you will be making your debut as a director next with Rakshit Shetty playing the lead role. Don’t you want to continue acting?
I would like to continue acting and also direct films. I have a few concepts and I would love to make films out of them.
We have certain restrictions with the existing market for Kannada films, so I would like to go bi-lingual with my scripts.
That would enable me to tap the market outside of Karnataka too. My theatre group is also active and I would like to keep that alive too.
Image: Rishabh Shetty