The 2019 crime-comedy earned Rishab Shetty his first box-office hit as a solo lead and a sequel was announced in January 2021
Kantara might have helped actor-director Rishab Shetty to grow in prominence at a 'pan-India' level but many would attest to the fact the 2019 crime-comedy Bell Bottom is his breakthrough film. Though Rishab was already well-known and regarded in the Kannada film industry as a successful filmmaker (with hits like Kirik Party and Sarkari Paathashaale), Bell Bottom allowed him to showcase the actor in him on a great platform. Not only did he play the solo lead for the very first time in his career but it is also true that he benefitted from a novel idea put together by writer T.K. Dayanand and director Jayatheertha Jayanna.
Bell Bottom emerged as a runaway success at the box office and ended up as one of the highest-earning Kannada films of 2019. This meant that Rishab was on the map as a sought-after actor in the industry and citing this, the makers announced a sequel, Bell Bottom 2, in January 2021 and launched it around the same time at a muhurtha ceremony. Tanya Hope would join the principal cast of Rishab Shetty, Hariprriya and others.
However, one has heard no news about the development since then and it seemed though the project was back-burnered for some reason. Needless to remind that Rishab would go on to write, direct and star in Kantara, a film that catapulted him to nationwide talent with the film - both its making and his central performance - earning praise from several noted names in Indian cinema. Following all this, Kantara 2 would be formally announced by Hombale Films, the producers, with Rishab reprising both his duties as the main lead and director. Billed as a prequel, Kantara 2 is set to go on floors in the latter half of 2023.
Now, where does Bell Bottom 2 stand in the midst? It is fairly obvious that Jayatheetha and Co. would have to defer their plans further until Kantara 2 is executed and Rishab Shetty is again available to become Detective Diwakara.
"We have the entire script ready, including the dialogue version. I have worked with T.K. Dayanand again on the story (as co-writers) and I have written the screenplay. It seemed all set to take the film on floors post the muhurtha but a few things could not fall into place at the time. The second wave of Covid, of course, was a huge factor in the delay and Appu sir's passing was a big blow as well. And soon enough, as we all know, Rishab was working on Kantara. We plan on starting off again as soon as he is done with Kantara 2," shares filmmaker Jayatheertha Jayanna.
"This also meant that I signed on to make other films (he made Banaras in 2022 with Zaid Khan and Sonal Monteiro) and am currently with two other releases. My film Kaiva (starring Dhanveerah and Megha Shetty) will be soon for release," he adds.
When quizzed about the exploits of Detective Diwakara in the sequel, Jayatheertha says the film will follow the friendly, neighbourhood sleuth's pursuits of unraveling a mystery, with the ethos and the charm of the first part retained. "It will take you back to the retro era of the late '70s and early '80s but with a new case at hand," shares the filmmaker.
Corroborating this, Bell Bottom producer Santhosh Kumar K.C. says, "Rishab Shetty and I recently met at a social event to discuss Bell Bottom 2. We are hoping to start shooting in March or April of 2024 considering that Kantara 2 is likely to go on floors either in August or September of this year. Once Rishab is free for a while, we plan on finishing at least two schedules of Bell Bottom 2."