Actor Rishab Shetty, who has become a nation-wide sensation thanks to his Kannada language blockbuster film Kantara, attended IFFI 2022. He was addressing the audience at the ‘In-Conversation’ session at IFFI with producer T G Thyagarajan on November 24.
Rishab has also written and directed the film and he explained how he had made it for the audience in Karnataka without even dreaming about wanting to make the movie a pan-Indian hit. But he is glad that so many people outside the state could connect with the concept. “I believe that regional is universal,” he shares.
His family has been practicing the folk tradition for years and his inspiration for the movie came from the same idea. He acknowledges that he practices and actively believes in the local rituals, and he believes that this is what led his audience to believe in the theme and watch his movie. In his opinion, it is vital to occasionally look back on one’s own cultural roots because, in the times we live in, everyone is eschewing their own culture and customs and moving quickly toward globalisation.
Rishab always wanted to play a character like Shiva which could give an expression to the angry young man within himself. “I was approached with a lot of comedic roles previously because of my acting history in the genre but I did not want to fall into just one genre and wanted to explore further.”
When asked if he is ever going to make films in any other languages, he confirms that he does not want to work in any other film industry because it is the Sandalwood industry that has first given him a platform and showered him with love. “I want to give back to the industry and language in which I eat, breathe, think, and live,” he shares. However, he is willing to dub all his movies if need be, but his base will always be in Kannada. He wants to promote regional Kannada films at a national and international level.
When questioned over the criteria for films to qualify as pan-Indian. Rishab explains, “There are no requirements. Any movie can perform wonderfully if the audience can connect with or believe in the content.”
Rishab never plans his budgets in advance or begins a project with the intention of the movie becoming a pan-Indian sensation. “Instead, I decide to go with the flow and make a flexible budget as per the demands of the movie,” he avers.
He concludes by stating, “I haven’t received a proper break ever since the release of Kantara as more and more states are demanding that the movie be dubbed in their regional languages. Because of language constraints, the cast has now arranged for more dubbing artistes.”