Detective Divakar is very close to me: Rishab Shetty

Maverick actor-director sheds light on his journey from debut film ‘Ricky’ to upcoming ‘Bell Bottom’.

Rishab Shetty as Detective Divakara in Bell Bottom, which will release on February 15.

My journey till now has been an interesting one. Since the beginning, I was a man of dreams. Though my aim was to be an actor, I soon realised that it wasn’t easy to get noticed in the industry without any contacts.

In 2005, I completed my diploma in direction from Government Film and Television Institute, Bengaluru. I took baby steps into the industry by working as an assistant director with A M R Ramesh in ‘Cyanide’. I worked as an assistant in a couple of films after that.  

Soon, I started writing. I wrote and directed the film ‘Ricky’, a movie on the prevalence of naxalism in India. I acted in it too. It was a different project where I learned a lot.

After ‘Ulidavaru Kandanthe’ didn’t work out commercially, the film’s team was not sure how ‘Ricky’ would turn out. The producer interfered a lot in the filmmaking process too. He was initially happy with the film’s story but afterwards, he felt that the film did not have commercial elements in it. 

Unnecessary elements like songs and comical scenes had to be introduced to make the film commercially workable. I worked on 16 drafts of the film but still, there were changes. There was a clash of thoughts and since I was debuting with the film, they were worried the film would not work.     

This was the only reason I decided to work on ‘Sarkari Hi. Pra. Shaale, Kasaragodu’. I had worked with children in ‘Ricky’ and I wanted to do something absolutely original. I felt good working with children and I wanted to work on a film for them. Issues in government schools were being discussed then and during the post-production work of ‘Ricky’, this thought came to my head. 

Somehow, it took a little longer. Rakshit Shetty was working on ‘Kirik Party’ and that project took off first. Over a while, we understood that it is important to justify one’s story. 

I had slowly dropped my dream of working as an actor. I received several roles but none of the projects took off. When hero roles did not take off, I agreed to work on villain roles too. But even those projects got stalled either because of financial or other issues. 

The director saw some of my Dubsmash videos and got interested in casting me in the movie ‘Bell Bottom’. I loved the character Detective Divakar; he’s very close to me. His story and mine are similar; we both love old films and more.

Divakar is influenced deeply by Dr Rajkumar’s detective films, he’s funny and not a phenomenal detective like Sherlock Holmes; he’s more of a ‘Johnny English’ guy.   

I am sporting a retro look in the film. The film’s song ‘Yethake’ has received a lot of attention. We had some funny moments while shooting the song. In the song, a passerby drops a goldfish on the road, while Harripriya is drinking water. I rush to the spot and hold the fish in my hands, while she spits the water out of her mouth. She and I have been friends from my ‘Ricky’ days and I teased her about the scene many times.   

Directing films gives a bigger kick compared to acting in them. After ‘Bell Bottom’ releases on February 15, ‘Katha Sangama’ will release. I am also acting in ‘Nathuram’.

I am always looking forward to exploring Rishab Shetty more.

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Detective Divakar is very close to me: Rishab Shetty

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