At the recent trailer launch event, Naveen Shankar spoke about the journey to finding producers and how Rakshit Shetty, at one point, was associated with it.
It goes without saying that Kshetrapthi is an important film in actor Naveen Shankar’s career. The actor, having delivered credible performances in the recent past, pins his hopes on the film mainly because it marks his return as a solo lead. And with each of his outings attracting good praise from the audience, Naveen wishes to cash in on the good buzz around him - he is, therefore, voluntarily participating in all the pre-release promotions of the film.
But the journey to this point hasn’t been easy for the makers because, as it normally does happen, despite a solid idea and the good intent behind it, it wasn’t an easy task to land producers. Kshetrapati, as Naveen Shankar revealed in the recent trailer launch event, was brought to him right after his debut Gultoo and even though he loved the idea, there wasn’t a suitable producer insight for him or writer-director Srikanth Katagi. But they forged on nevertheless.
"Rakshit Shetty was initially meant to produce the film"
Having self-funded a sample film, Srikant Katagi and Naveen Shankar were able to finally bring a producer on-board and take the film on floors. But not many know that the duo, quite early on, had even met Rakshit Shetty who was interested in producing Kshetrapathi. For some reason, those plans did not fall into place.
“When we were pitching the film initially, Rakshit sir himself had invited us over for a chat and there were elaborate discussions between us. He wanted to produce the film. But he had to start shooting for 777 Charlie, the lockdown hit us after that and because of so many factors, we were compelled to go on floors. But it is true that when a producer of the same region (North Karnataka) comes on board, the authenticity is intact and we are fortunate in that aspect."
“Representation from every region is a must”
At the same event, Naveen would also shed light on why he wished to be part of Kshetrapati, adding that he always wished to tell the story of his land. With personal experiences by his side and a potent story based on real-life incidents, the team set out on a tough task but they wanted to do it the right way, keeping authenticity and the flavour of the region alive.
"A lot of the times in past, the Uttara Karnataka dialect did not seem authentic to us in Kannada films. I am sure the people from the Karavali region, too, felt the same meaning that there was stereotyping. But with Kshetrapati, we wanted to change that and that's why we auditioned all the actors from North Karnataka. All it takes is one film to set the right example and we hope to do that," said Naveen.
Kshetrapati is out in theatres on August 18 along with Baang.