Celebrated film-maker and actor, Rishab Shetty joined for a candid media interaction on the sidelines of the 54th International Film festival of India (IFFI) in Goa today. Representing the vibrant and dynamic Kannada film industry, his widely celebrated feature Kantara, of which he is the director, actor and writer, is one of the three Indian films to make it to this year’s list of 15 exceptional films competing for the prestigious Golden Peacock award at IFFI 54.
Kantara is a 150 minutes long Kannada masterpiece that has taken the audiences and critics by storm ever since its release last year. A spell-binding tribute to culture and folklore, Kantara weaves magic as it portrays the complex and dynamic conflict between man and nature, through the magical medium of dance and emotion.
“The audience connected with Kantara because it is a story rooted in the culture of Bharat,” said Shetty. “The audience took the film to where it is today, truly making it their own,” he further added. Authentic to its core, Kantara gave new expression to the traditional Kola dance and the community that performs it. Rishab said that he has consistently been in touch with the community long after the release of his film. “I belong to this tradition, I believe in this ritual and I worship this God. We took care that we do not hurt anybody’s emotion and made sure that there was no damage to the culture or community,” he elaborated.
Crediting the success of Kantara to faith, Shetty said that one must believe in themselves and the work they do, only then can one truly do good work. The actor also added that one must do work for work’s sake and not chase success.
Speaking about Kannada cinema, Rishab Shetty spoke about the OTT challenge where platforms are still apprehensive about Kannada audiences and are not open to Kannada films yet, causing critical losses in the industry. He appealed for greater exposure and reach. “Cinema has given us so much, we must give back to Kannada cinema,” asserted Shetty. He firmly believes that content in Indian cinema today has truly gone global. “At present, there is a revolution underway-good content is widely accepted overcoming the language barriers,” Shetty expressed.
Talking of his connect with IFFI, Rishab Shetty mentioned that it is his second time in the film festival. He shared that film festivals are a space to watch films and learn. Festivals like IFFI almost feel like an extended family to him. He appreciated film festivals and appealed that these platforms must be utilised to give recognition to small films.
Shetty recently announced the much-anticipated prequel to Kantara, theposter for which was released yesterday, explaining that the idea was always of a two-part story. On the question of what is his true love amongst direction, writing and acting, Shetty claimed, “Direction is my first love.” “I rely on life experiences, I am connected to people and try to bring that in my films,” he added.