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OTTplay Awards 2022: Know Your Winners - Rishab Shetty honored for Pioneering Contributions to New Wave Cinema

The actor-filmmaker shares the special award with his good friend and colleague Raj B. Shetty for their efforts to push the envelope in Kannada Cinema.

OTTplay Awards 2022: Know Your Winners - Rishab Shetty honored for Pioneering Contributions to New Wave Cinema
Rishab Shetty in a still from the film
  • Swaroop Kodur

Last Updated: 04.06 AM, Sep 17, 2022

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Rishab Shetty, the artist, is many things wrapped into one. As Kannada Cinema continues to encounter an upsurge, Rishab stands at the forefront as one of the chief contributors to this cause, ably supported by his fellow 'Shetty' colleagues Rakshit, Raj, and a number of other filmmakers. Be it the early acting gigs in films like Lucia and Ulidavaru Kandanthe, or the sudden rise in stature as the director of the cult hit Kirik Party, there isn't one single category that Rishab Shetty could be boxed-in: actor, director, and producer - each facet of his is more vibrant than the other. And yet, in spite of the fame and accolades, the artist in him is far from being complacent and has instead vowed only to push the envelope as far as Kannada Cinema's flair and quality are concerned.

"I do not like to intellectualise life around me. Many of my friends, including filmmakers and actors, are known to be avid readers of philosophy, spirituality, and the likes but I couldn't be that way even if I tried. I like to keep things simple, and practicality is a strong virtue for me," he says, enunciating the need to keep working and not overthink one's purpose in creative arts. Perhaps this exact mantra has helped Rishab Shetty be one of the most prolific artists around with his repertoire including films of all ranges and sensibilities. If Kirik Party proved he has all the will and might to deliver a blockbuster, Sarkari Hi. pra. Shaale, aside from the commercial exploits, earned a National Award in the Best Children's Film Category. If Bell Bottom saw the comical, self-deprecatory side of him as the neighbourhood sleuth, Garuda Gamana Vrishabha Vahana showcased the grit and quiet rage in him as the Mangaluru gangster.

Rishab's exploits as a film producer too stick to a similar creative pattern. At a distance, it might seem that many of his production ventures are driven by commerce but when looked closer, it becomes apparent that Rishab is rather keen on forming a long-sustaining breed of filmmakers. A lot of the talent that he is associated with emerges from lesser-known parts of the Kannada region and aspires to tell honest, personal stories from its little worlds around: in this regard, Rishab Shetty is known to be a simple proponent at most times, lending the helping hand only when needed.

"It all started because I had a really tough time getting my first film Ricky produced. I was known for Ulidavaru Kandanthe up till that point and the film's reputation as a 'critical success but a commercial failure' meant that almost every single producer backed out of my debut. But, although I was able to eventually get Ricky funded, I decided right then that I will soon turn producer. You know, to self-sustain and support the ideas I believe in. So, when Rakshit (Shetty) founder Paramvah Studios along with G.S. Gupta sir and Kirik Party went on to be a big hit, I grew in more confidence that producing your own films is a great luxury - at least the option to do so is what you need. And since then, though I have only produced three films in total, the ethos has been to support fresh and novel ideas and we will continue to do so." - Rishab Shetty.

Rishab Shetty Films' first endeavour came in 2018 with Sarkari Hi. Pra. Shaale (starring Anant Nag, Ranjan, Sampath, and Pramod Shetty), followed by Katha Sangama - an anthology feature comprising seven different stories executed by seven debutant filmmakers. Rishab Shetty's most recent production venture is Natesh Hegde's Pedro which has already charmed the international festival circuit by premiering in the Busan International Film Festival, British Film Festival, and several others.

As far as his upcoming projects are concerned, Rishab Shetty is geared up for the release of his super intriguing Kantara. Rooted in the culture and nuances of his home region of Kundapura, Rishab attempts to blend elements of mystery, drama, and fantasy/mythology and also headlines the film as its leading man.

"In essence, Kantara is everything I have seen and grown up around - the culture, the dance, the legends that nature withholds," he says.

To make things all the more special, Rishab joins forces with the mighty Hombale Films, the makers of the KGF franchise, to bring Kantara to life - Kishore, Sapthami Gowda, Achyuth Kumar, and others play principal roles in the film. The film releases in theatres on September 30.

Both Rishab Shetty and Raj B. Shetty were recently honored for Pioneering Contributions to New Wave Cinema at the maiden edition of OTTplay Awards 2022 in Mumbai. A worthy recognition, said the encore of the public who felt that the tribute to the duo is well-and-truly deserved and that it even comes in the right hour for Kannada cinema.

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