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Exclusive! Will Rishab Shetty direct himself again after Kantara? This is what he has to say...

In an exclusive chat with OTTplay, Rishab Shetty talks about the arduous experience of making Kantara and why he would consider returning to directing himself in the future.

Exclusive! Will Rishab Shetty direct himself again after Kantara? This is what he has to say...
Rishab Shetty on directing himself again
  • Swaroop Kodur

Last Updated: 05.28 PM, Nov 01, 2022


Rishab Shetty has secured a double-win with Kantara. His mesmeric performance as the film’s leading man Shiva has managed to charm the nationwide audience and make him an overnight sensation, so to speak, to warrant opportunities from agencies of the highest repute. Shiva, as a character is boorish, lucid and very loud and also a tried-and-tested archetype of the South Indian masala genre but, somehow, it seemed as though Rishab knew the exact pitch and tone to play the part. The performance is surely one of the main draws of the film and interestingly, Rishab was also calling the shots as the director which means that he had very little external guidance. And yet, despite the overwhelming success of both the act and the film, a few reports claimed that Rishab Shetty wasn’t all that keen to direct himself again in a film and that if given a choice, he would pick either of the two for convenience’s sake.

“You know, I think the reports of me saying something to that effect emerged during the making of Kantara. And shooting Kantara was a mad ride which I did not realise until we were done with it. I was hellbent on getting it done and I would push the team with the intensity that I carried within. But, as luck would have it, the shooting got trickier when 4-5 members of the direction team left the project at some point, and a few of the set-boys who were responsible for production duties also quit - every schedule, we had some or other walking away complaining that it was all too tough to handle in the forests. But none of this became a concern because the objective was to somehow finish what we have started,” says Rishab Shetty about the arduous Kantara experience.

“Felt the heat of making a film for Hombale Films”

Rishab also reckons that while things look all rosy at the moment, making a film for a production house of Hombale Films’ stature did question his confidence and strengths as a filmmaker. And doubling up as an actor and director meant that he had two of the most important positions to fill and also be responsible for the eventual outcome.

“Though I have directed films before, I have either been the producer or worked with a production house like Paramvah Studios which is like home to me. So, except for Ricky, I hadn’t made a film for an outside agency or studio and when I had to work with someone of Hombale Films’ reputation, I felt the pressure inside. In hindsight, it might seem like Kantara is a low-budget film because of the profits and the whole pan-India status but, for me, this was the largest canvas I had ever worked on. And I realised the scale of the project and the responsibility that lay on my shoulders only once the shooting began. There were times when I wondered if the pressure of both acting and directing was necessary to deal with and whether I was prepared to take on a film of this scale. I was drained out, no doubt. We shot the Bhootha Kola sequences towards the end but I couldn’t reveal to my that I was spent inside because I would impact the entire team’s energy,” adds Rishab.

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Watch the exclusive conversation with Rishab Shetty here:

“A divine energy carried me through”

Regardless of the pressures that surrounded him, Rishab Shetty believes that he was meant to take the film to competition. “It could be destiny or god’s intervention but some kind of positive energy held my hand during the toughest times. But, at the same time, the same energy also gives you a reality check and tells you that you have to be humble and not let your ego get to your head,” he says.

But does he wish to direct himself again in the future? “I haven’t thought ahead as far as that is concerned but who knows? When the audience gives you so much energy through their love, you forget all the hardships and feel like you can do it all again without any qualms. There is something magical about that power that people give you and we all feel some kind of positive energy around us right now,” says Rishab Shetty.