In this exclusive chat with OTTplay, Rishab Shetty talks about the manic process of dubbing and releasing his film Kantara in a short span of time.
For Rishab Shetty, the journey to making Kantara a global success has been a gruelling one. Although the film was always a passion project, the fact that he was associated with a reputed entity like Hombale Films raised the stakes all the more. Soon enough, his film was being touted as the next big thing from the Kannada Film Industry with the pan-India tag stuck to it and Rishab Shetty, along with his labour of love, became an overnight triumph across the country. And interestingly, the actor-director has had very little time in between to not only prep for the wider release of Kantara but also for the unprecedented fame that followed him all along.
"Once people love your film, it's no longer your property"
"We hadn't planned initially to release the dubbed versions in theatres. Regardless, the dubbing process started about a week before the original Kannada version came out so that we could package it for the OTT release. But soon after the film released on September 30, the producers and other well-known distributors take a call that the film will have to be dubbed and released theatrically in all the different languages. In fact, it became a demand that we do so. Prithviraj sir had messaged me after watching the Kannada version and said that if he had watched the movie before it released, he would have coaxed Vijay Kirangadur to make it a pan-India release! But I had always wished for the Kantara to travel as a Kannada film because when someone experiences our culture, and our traditions in Kannada, the value goes up. Interestingly, once the film released, it was our own Kannadigas who took the film to all far corners and once it was embraced everywhere, it was no longer 'my film'. If the audiences wish to see a film in a language of their choice, you will cater to them because it's their film now," shares Rishab Shetty about his initial reluctance.
"One word to describe the entire process: nightmare"
It's one thing to attract offers from all corners and another to actually manage to put together the huge demand. Although Rishab Shetty and his team had already begun dubbing the film in other languages, the sudden ask to have it ready by October 14 (the day of the release of the Hindi version) meant an overwhelming workload but without compromising on the quality.
"I don't suppose a film has been dubbed and released in four different languages within such a short span of time," says Rishab who had to not only oversee the process but also go around the country for promotions as the face of his film.
"The whole process felt nightmarish, almost mysterious (laughs) and we did not have the time to think about it. At one point it seemed relentless, like those sequences in a Charlie Chaplin film in which a factory operates at a manic speed. It was me, one of my co-writers and filmmaker Anirudh Mahesh, the post-production in charge Nitish, and one of my associate directors who managed to somehow put the film together. I was in Mumbai to promote the Kannada version of Kantara when Vijay anna called me out of the blue to tell me that the film is out in Hindi soon. So, I rushed back, began the process with the team and got going," adds Rishab Shetty.