‘New artistes making inroads into industry’

Actor Raj B Shetty thinks the new wave in Kannada cinema has done well to break the monotony

Raj B Shetty

I have always enjoyed telling stories. After a stint as a radio jockey, I turned an actor and director with ‘Ondu Motteya Kathe’. I always made an effort to choose scripts that were not run-of-the-mill.

My conviction that the audience in the Kannada film industry is looking for innovative subjects was reaffirmed when the industry bagged 12 National Awards.

I have always noticed that whenever films do well, the director takes the credit but when they bomb at the box office, the audience gets blamed.

I don’t think this is the right way to go about things.

Films like ‘Sarkari Hiriya Prathamika Shale’, ‘Ulidavaru Kandanthe’, ‘Lucia’ and ‘U-Turn’ ushered in a new wave in Kannada cinema.

They provoked the audience to think differently. This was the beginning of change but the audience wasn’t sure if this is the change it was looking for. They still lapped up what these films had to offer.

While ‘Sarkari...’ crossed the 100-day mark, ‘Ulidavaru Kandanthe’ didn’t remain in the theatres for too long. But people began watching it online. It did well to break the monotony. In fact, all the films that won a National Award this year have something unique to offer.

The success of any film leans heavily on good technicians. There was, in fact, a dearth of good technicians here. But that has changed too.

We now see a new breed of actors, directors and technicians, making inroads in the Kannada film industry.

And the audience seems to have accepted this change. I also feel that this acceptance is what has inspired filmmakers to think in a different way.

Today, the audience is certain about what it wants. Social media platforms have also given them a chance to air their views. If they like a film, they say they do and if they don’t, they mince no words.

The final judgement and success of any film rests in the hands of the audience.

As an actor, I never set out with a definite vision for myself. I want to play a proactive role in contributing to the success of the Kannada film industry and work on subjects that appeal to a larger audience.

My latest work, ‘Gubbi Mele Brahmastra’ (releasing on August 15) is a slapstick comedy — a genre that hasn’t been explored much in our industry.

The events shown in the film cannot happen in reality. It traces the life of a software engineering and what innocence gets him into.

He is someone who lives in his own fantasy and has a lot going on in that space. For instance, put him in the middle of rowdies and he wouldn’t know how to react or what to do; talk to him about kidnapping and murder and he would ask you what it is. He is also someone who knows no fear. This may seem like a very absurd situation but this film is meant to entertain and make people laugh.

I had also asked the director to not have any message and leave it to the interpretation of the people. We have veered away from the set formula and tried something new.

Raj B Shetty

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