The OTT and Season 9 winner tells us why he went on the show, how he’s gone from having 1-2 film offers in a year, to 6-7 immediately after the show, his immediate plans, etc.
It’s been a couple of weeks since RJ-actor-director Roopesh Shetty won the ninth season of the popular reality show Bigg Boss Kannada. Since leaving the Bigg Boss Kannada house, after spending 150 days in it - as Roopesh was also on and won the first-ever OTT season that concluded only days prior to the start of Bigg Boss Kannada Season 9 - he’s been busy fulfilling contractual obligations of post-show interviews, while also attending a multitude of felicitation events and promoting his recent release, Manku Bhai Foxy Rani. Amid all this, it took us also a while to finally pin him down for a quick tete-a-tete. Here are excerpts…
You went into the Bigg Boss house at a time when you were already a household name in some parts of Karnataka, owing to the success of your film Tulu film Girgit, and, of course, because of your presence on TV and radio. The show is widely seen as a stepping stone as far as popularity goes and you were halfway there already even without being on it. What was your objective in being a part of Bigg Boss Kannada, where you spent a good 150 days?
I was quite famous in the coastal belt, but Bigg Boss Kannada is a show that would ensure that I am recognised across Karnataka. When I decided to be a part of the Bigg Boss Kannada OTT season, I had two reasons that drove me to it. Although I had been doing Kannada movies for a while, my films and my career in the industry were not going anywhere. Bigg Boss Kannada became the platform that would help me with this, in the sense that audiences would at least know who is Roopesh Shetty. I thought it would give me a good push if I stay a few weeks. The idea of winning the title was not on my mind.
Second, it is challenging to be on Bigg Boss Kannada. I have always lived in a certain comfort zone, with my family, friends, etc., and this, I thought would be new terrain for me, which would help me come out of that shell. Ultimately, the show is about showing audiences who you truly are, which is what I wanted. Get people to know the real Roopesh.
But then, to achieve these targets, one doesn’t have to be on a show like Bigg Boss, where smart editing of episodes or telecast of feed from certain cameras only and focusing on some people, can change the narrative, irrespective of how you portray yourself. The question still is, why Bigg Boss?
To the viewer, it may seem that there is some level of scripting in place, but that is not the case inside the house. Before I went into the house, I had also watched earlier seasons of the show, purely for entertainment. Bigg Boss Kannada is a show that pretty much everyone watches; there is no denying its reach and that is what I wanted to tap into. I must admit that I was warned by well-wishers that there is a possibility of something that you say or do taking on a negative connotation. However, I was confident that as long as I don’t do anything wrong, there was no scope of such misrepresentation. I firmly believed that being on Bigg Boss Kannada would be good for me professionally. This was the quickest way to reach people.
Fair point! But if you look at Bigg Boss Kannada over the years, the big surge of popularity immediately after a win has not really helped any of the earlier winners.
Making Bigg Boss Kannada work for you is entirely up to you. The show can only give you a push, how you take it forward after that is what matters. This is where Bigg Boss helps. Earlier, when I was doing films, I wasn’t getting many offers and I didn’t have the option of passing it on and hoping something better would come. I had to say yes to everything coming my way, because I was only getting 1 or 2 Kannada films in a year. Now, as we speak, I have 6-7 offers waiting for my approval. Now, I have the freedom of choice and can pick the best among them; an option that I did not have earlier.
It is now my responsibility to ensure that I give my career the right direction. I can’t rely on using the Bigg Boss Kannada Season 9 winner tag for the next few years. What I do next matters more. I am well aware that this current popularity will fade in some time. My dream has always been to do good movies in Kannada and Tulu and Bigg Boss Kannada has given me the platform to reach people.
So, how are you going to ensure that you take the right steps going forward?
When you choose a career in showbiz, money is important, no doubt. But I should not take up every film coming my way only for money. If I end up doing a few flop movies, whatever goodwill I gathered with Bigg Boss Kannada will go down the drain and I will be back to square one. Right now, the focus is on choosing the right script, wherein the story is the hero.
But these days, it is difficult to put your finger on the pulse of the audience and figure out what will click with them. There is no sure-shot formula…
True, you never know what’s going to work, but that should not stop you from trying to give audiences your best.
Coming back to Bigg Boss Kannada, what were your learnings from being on the show for 150 days with a bunch of people you didn’t know before?
When I went on the OTT season, I went totally unprepared and thought I should just be me. Inside the house, though, I was confused about what to do and speak. I had no clue how to be in the house and was worried about what audiences would think of me. After a couple of weeks, you begin to forget about the cameras and that is when I realized that it is all about enjoying the moment. I was trying to be me, which was not working out initially. There was focus on only being on my best behaviour and portraying myself as a gentleman. Later on, instead of trying, I was being me and enjoying my time in the house. I began behaving like I would back home in the company of my friends and family and thereafter, the journey became a lot easier. There were no restrictions holding me back, which really worked for me.
As soon as you came out of the house, you had a film release with Manku Bhai Foxy Rani…
It is a film that I did way back in 2019, what, at the time, we thought was a fresh attempt; the director also was new. I had no clue it would release so soon after Bigg Boss Kannada. As soon as I came out of the house, the team started calling and, honestly, I did not know what to do, because I had Bigg Boss-related obligations and couldn’t even promote the film properly. Cinema should be released with promotions that arouses curiosity. This was an old commitment.
On a parting note, your friendship with Saaniya Iyer has been in the spotlight for a while. Are you tired answering questions about your ‘relationship’, ‘wedding plans’ etc?
People still find it difficult to believe that a man and woman can actually be friends without a romantic angle to it. I am very happy that I got to be friends with Saaniya Iyer. She is a fantastic human being. Throughout the time that we were together on the show, we made it clear that we best friends and nothing more. But as soon as I came out of the house, all that people wanted to know was when we were getting married. Both Saaniya and I need to focus on our careers. She is all of 22 years old and has dreams about the kind of work she wants to do.