How Rishab and Hombale came together for 'Kantara'

How Rishab and Hombale came together for 'Kantara'


Rishab Shetty

The unrelenting pandemic hasn't snuffed out Rishab Shetty's trademark enthuthiasm. He starred and bankrolled 'Hero' even as the film industry was coming to terms with the huge blow from Covid. When the situation eased up a bit, he resumed his acting assignments. Now, when third wave looms large, the Kannada actor-director is gearing up for his magnum opus. 

In a big surprise on Friday, Hombale Films of ‘KGF’ fame and Rishab came together for 'Kantara', touted to be an epic man vs nature drama. The makers announced the project with a stunning poster. Rishab will also play the lead in the film. 

“I got this idea during the second-wave-induced lockdown. I was brought up in a Western Ghat forest region. So since my childhood in a village called Keradi in Kundapur, I was very close to nature and it’s beauty,” Rishab tells DH

Rishab reveals that the first talk of a project with Hombale happened two years ago. "Karthik Gowda, the exeuctive producer of Hombale Films, pitched the idea of a collaboration after the huge success of my third directorial 'Sarkari Hiriya Prathamika Shale' (2018). Director Prashanth Neel also had a word with Hombale on roping me in for a project. Karthik and I are friends since 'Ulidavaru Kandante' days. I am glad I am working with Hombale Films," says Rishab.

Hombale Films' rapid growth is a hot topic in Sandalwood. Founded by Vijay Kiragandur, this is the banner's 11th film since their debut with 'Ninnindale' (2014). Apart from ‘Kantara’, they have announced Puneeth Rajkumar’s ‘Dvitva’ and Raksthit Shetty’s ‘Richard Anthony’ in the last five months. Their ‘KGF: Chapter 2' is one of the most-awaited films of the year. Slowly, they are turning into a great platform for gifted storytellers.  

"Once the script and screenplay was complete, I discussed the project with Vijay sir and Karthik in a phone call and they were excited. They assured me that there won't be any pressure from their end and asked me to focus completely on the project. This kind of support drives you to aim bigger," he says. 

The film will go on floors from August 27, meaning Rishab’s earlier planned project ‘Rudraprayag’ will be stalled for now. “I plan to resume ‘Rudraprayag’ next year. It involves lot of senior actors, including Anant Nag sir. So until they are all fully vaccinated, I don’t want to take the risk,” he says. 

As an actor, Rishab’s upcoming releases are Raj B Shetty’s ‘Garuda Gamana Vrishabha Vahana’ and ‘Harikathe Alla Girikathe’. Rishab will also be seen in the sequel of the hit comedy thriller ‘Bell Bottom’, directed by Jayathirtha. "For Bell Bottom 2, we need to erect many sets to recreate the 80s era. Majority of the shooting will take place in cities. But with no clarity on the pandemic, we were worried about lockdowns hindering our shoots. Since 'Kantara' will mainly be shot in forest regions, I felt I must go ahead with it first," he says.