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Raj B Shetty on life before cinema | "All I had envisioned for myself was marriage & a small family"

Raj B Shetty, who will be soon in & as Toby, talks to OTTplay about what it takes to find a 'place' in the film industry.

Raj B Shetty on life before cinema | "All I had envisioned for myself was marriage & a small family"
Raj B Shetty gets candid

Last Updated: 06.10 PM, Aug 20, 2023


Raj B Shetty burst onto the scene in 2017 with his slice-of-life comedy-drama Ondu Motteya Kathe. The film, which was widely appreciated for its rootedness and also the endearing self-deprecatory tone it carried, saw Raj announce himself both as a filmmaker and actor who evidently had something new to offer. Though Ondu Motteya Kathe did not "shatter" box office records, so to speak, its cultural impact still lingers in the minds of Kannada cinema patrons.

What's more striking about this debut is that Raj B Shetty boasted no prior experience in filmmaking to rely upon, meaning he emerged as a talent quite literally from out of nowhere. He hadn't served as an assistant director or wasn't part of a film set in a more traditional learn-the-ropes manner, but instead chose to learn & hone the craft on the job. 

In this vein, one wonders how he mustered the courage and the conviction to take the plunge. The answer to that, he says, is quite simple.

"I had no issues with getting rejected by the industry. When I was looking for that break, if someone told me that I was unfit for the job, I wasn't really scared of coming across any feedback of that kind. And I had very simple aspirations set for myself anyway - all I had envisioned myself doing was marrying someone and having a small family with a child and all that. Since I did not "dream big" or had major goals, it never felt like I deserved more. Yes, I always wanted to learn and work more because I was curious about things but I never told myself anything like, "Oh, I deserve more because I am this, I am that"."

"So, if someone did make me feel that I don't belong to the industry, I don't suppose I would take it in a disparaging way but more in a manner that I am not worthy of a place yet. And when you don't feel worthy of an opportunity, you must go back and hone your craft, improve your skills, your knowledge," says Raj B Shetty, in his trademark candour.

Interestingly, when the film industry is often pulled up for the apparent lack of opportunities for artists, Raj believes in looking at this aspect from a slightly different perspective.

"We all like to feel like victims as though everyone around is out to deceive us and not give us any opportunities. I say this: why must one give YOU an opportunity? Have you offered an honest chance to anyone in life? How many times have you handheld someone not as successful as you are and helped them with something? Not many people do that. But it is quite simple - if you have talent, someone will spot you and also support you. If Rakshit Shetty is supporting team Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare, it is not because they are dear to him. Rakshit also wrote something nice about D. Sathya Prakash's Rama Rama Re... when it came out and Dhananjaya shared Toby trailer recently. Everyone wants to promote good talent, good cinema but when it doesn't happen in your case, you must realize that there's more to learn," adds Raj B Shetty.

Toby, of course, releases in theatres on August 25 and stars Raj in the titular role, with his former associate Basil Al Chalakkal directing it. Chaithra J Achar, Samyukta Hornad, Gopal Deshpande and others, too, are part of the cast.

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