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Home»Interview»Exclusive! The last 13 years in cinema have been hard, but I am in a better space now: Likith Shetty»

Exclusive! The last 13 years in cinema have been hard, but I am in a better space now: Likith Shetty

The success of his two films with director Arjun Kumar S and the association with PRK Productions on Family Pack have worked well for the actor.

  • Prathibha Joy

Last Updated: 03.17 PM, Feb 22, 2022

Exclusive! The last 13 years in cinema have been hard, but I am in a better space now: Likith Shetty
Likith Shetty

Likith Shetty’s in a happy space these days. His film, Family Pack , which was released directly on Amazon Prime Video last week, has been doing well. “It’s a journey of over two years and we are very happy with the response to the film,” says Likith, for whom it was a reunion with Sankastha Kara Ganapati director Arjun Kumar S.

The version that is currently playing on the streaming platform, though, is not what the team had done initially. “The late Puneeth Rajkumar, who has backed our film was completely involved in the making of Family Pack. In fact, we had finished the film, dubbing and had a final edit ready, when he watched it. He then sat down with Arjun and me and discussed the film scene-by-scene, suggesting changes and corrections. He wanted the final product to be perfect, so we did whatever was asked of us and reshot almost 60-70% of the film. When I say corrections and suggestions, though, these had nothing to do with the story per se, the changes were only with the making. Like, for instance, he was not happy with some of the locations we’d used, and asked us to get Shreesha Kudavalli on board as cinematographer for the re-shoots. To be fair, Uday Leela had also used the same camera, but Shreesha’s pattern of filmmaking really made a difference. Since we had the first edit version, the reshoots allowed us to improvise on the dialogues and make it more on point and crispier. Now, looking at the quality of the film, I’d say that his vision and experience has changed the game,” explains Likith, “We, obviously, lost some money, in having to re-do portions of the film, but it was totally worth it.”

But how has his journey in films been so far? "The last 13 years have been very hard for me. Even though I had a big hit in Tulu early on in my career, I got only one more opportunity to work with the same director once and the offers from that industry actually dried up. I wonder if it is perhaps because they thought I wasn’t approachable, since I live in Bengaluru. Then came Nam Duniya Nam Style, which tanked. The smaller roles and cameos that I took up did nothing to bolster my career and soon, I had this huge time away from films. There was a four-year gap between Nam Duniya Nam Style and Sankashta Kara Ganapati, which came out in 2018. Honestly, it was tough to keep myself motivated. But then, when Arjun and I decided to collaborate on Sankashta Kara Ganapati, putting the concept together, getting a producer onboard, etc., was a long journey. We spent three years on the film, but after it was released, things started looking up for me,” he says.

Likith adds that although he was flooded with offers immediately after Sankashta Kara Ganapati, a majority of them did not appeal to him. “I am a content-driven guy and I just could not connect with some of the stories that were being pitched to me. I was scared about how it’d be if I do a film that doesn’t work and going back to the situation I was in before Sankashta… But then Arjun came back to me with an idea that he had. I had goosebumps when he told me the basic plot of Family Pack and asked him to develop it further. The script was ready in 2018, but getting a producer was the tough bit. There were a couple of big production houses that kept us dangling for a bit and eventually didn’t back us after all. At this point, I told Arjun that I would produce it, but he suggested we meet Appu (Puneeth Rajkumar) sir and that’s how his PRK Productions came onboard. Between meeting him and the pandemic, the film got delayed even further, but it is out now and we are happy,” says Likith.

The struggle, though, he reckons, has been worth it, because as of today, Likith has two other films ready for release. “I have done a film directed by KM Chaitanya called Ababa in which I am paired with my Family Pack co-star Amrutha Iyengar yet again, as well as another with Kirik Keerthy, Love Maduve Ityadi, for which I have a few days’ worth shoot pending. These two should come out in 2022, which will give me three releases in the year, which is good,” he signs off.