Toby, which is currently in theatres, is based on an eight-page short story by Bell Bottom writer TK Dayanand
Last Updated: 06.15 AM, Aug 26, 2023
Kannada actor-filmmaker Raj B Shetty’s Toby is in theatres now and audiences have been amazed at the writing, the characters and his performance as the title character. Raj has always been clear that the film is based on a short story by TK Dayanand, which, by itself did not merit a movie adaptation. However, the story had certain characters, like, for instance, the protagonist Toby, and the setting of the tale, Kumta, which fascinated Raj. With Dayanand’s permission, Raj picked up a few characters and some elements from the tale and rewrote it as per his vision, which he has now presented in film format.
A few days prior to the release of Toby, OTTplay had met Raj amid his busy promotional schedule for a quick chat about the film, during which one of the discussion points was just how much of the film is Raj’s vision now. “I think, the film Toby is Raj B Shetty’s vision, because, when I read Dayanand’s story, it had this character which I envisioned as a movie. I saw a film that is independent of Dayanand’s story, but the character and the set-up actually inspired me to see my cinematic vision. When I read the original story, at the end of it, it’s the character that stayed with me and nothing else and I thought that while ‘he’ had potential, it had to be within a different narrative. I spoke to Dayanand and explained the changes I wanted to make, and if he was okay with it, I’d buy the rights to it. So, while I have used the place and the character, it is not in its entirety, because the original material is all of eight pages, which cannot contain a film. I also picked a few characters who surround Toby, while I dropped some others that were not working for my version of the story. Whatever that was working, I enhanced it, because I wanted to see this story as a mass film. The character was so rooted and ordinary, like one of us. I thought that this is a movie that would be relatable to all,” he explains.
As Raj’s third film in theatres and first that’s not set in his home ground, how did he go about setting up Kumta in his film? “The setting of the film comes from the original story, as well as from my friend Balakrishna Arwankar, who has been working with me on this project. He is from Kumta, so he could guide us as we went about making the film. I wanted to know how the people behave, the kind of costumes they wear, which, for instance, are a bit louder and bright than what you see in Mangaluru. Interestingly, Dayanand does not hail from that culture, so, every time I had a question about the place, I turned to Balakrishna to check if we were doing it right,” he adds.