Rakshit Shetty looks back on his decade-long journey in the industry

Rakshit Shetty forayed into the Kannada film industry in 2010 with Aravind Kaushik’s Nam Areal Ondina. He drew fans with his acting and later filmmaking skills. On screen, he transitioned from a gawky nerd to an intelligent actor who could smoothly toggle between comedy and action sequences. Soon, Rakshit was seen donning many hats: producer, director, writer…

The actor, goes back in time with his typical analytical approach and tells MetroPlus all about what he could do better and what he plans to do next.

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Edited excerpts:

How has your journey in the industry been this far?

It has been a journey of learning.

Though films were a passion, I never thought I would become an actor. I always told myself that it would be a dream that may never come true.

My passion for cinema took wings when I came to Bengaluru and started working in the IT industry. I started by looking out for short film makers and was keen to act, simply to make my portfolio look good.

Gradually I found myself making short films on weekends and seriously penning the story of Ulidavaru Khandante. Soon, cinema became my career and I believe I have learnt enough, from my success and mistakes, to continue working in this industry for a few more years.

Does coming from an IT background influence the way you approach a project?

Though my stint with the IT industry was short, I did realise that it had a structure to everything, which helped the work process smoother and faster.

This helped in teams achieving their goals.

When I came into the industry, that was one strategy I wanted to adopt here too. Since I also have people from the IT sector as a part of my team, everything just fell in place or rather into the structure.

Were you affected with the uncertainty of the film industry?

Things changed for sure in many ways when I started working here, but, no it did not affect my work process.

You became popular with Kirik Party and Avane Sriman Narayana (AVN). Yet, when people compliment you, you say there are many faults that could have been avoided. What are they?

This was very clear in AVN. People get restless if it is a long duration adventure/fantasy film. But, if it is an emotional story, then you can have a three-hour film as people connect to emotions easily. This is what AVN taught me.

Another set back for AVN, I believe, was that I tried to write the story using a structure, which, perhaps, killed the creativity or the flow. But AVN has been a beautiful learning experience for me.

In 777 Charlie, you act with a pet. How easy or difficult was it to emote with a four-legged co-star?

It was a herculean task. We all loved Charlie, but she (yes, she is a girl) would take 30 to 40 takes for each shot.

Because of this, I had to perform through each and every take as though that would be the final take. One was never sure when Charlie would get the emotions or the moves right. And, once she excelled in the shot, irrespective of whether I had done well or not, Kiran Raj (the director of the film) would shout ‘Çut!’ and refuse to go in for another take!

We also took 150 days to shoot 777…, in which time, we could have shot two films!

You never make remakes. Why?

Being a story writer myself, I believe I can use the resources and energy to tell a new story, rather than simply diving into a remake.

Remakes are not fun to make. Also people, who have watched a film in their language will not watch it again when it is remade in another. So we need to make originals, come what may.

Despite us having films acclaimed like Lucia, U-Turn, Ulidavarau Khandante or Rama Rama Re, to name a few… Why do you think the Kannada industry is overshadowed by the Malayalam and Tamil industry ?

I think that idea is changing now. Malayalam film industry makes a certain kind of cinema and so does the Tamil industry.

I believe we can make all types of cinema. There is a major shift happening in the art of filmmaking itself, where in a matter of few years, it will be just cinema and no longer a ‘Kannada film’ or a ‘Malayalam film’.

Those boundaries are breaking, because of the OTT, which brings cinema from across the globe into your home.

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