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Rishab Shetty on making box office blockbusters: Kantara the lowest-budget pan-Indian movie

Kannada movie star Rishab Shetty revealed his thought process behind making a movie like Kantara. 

Rishab Shetty on making box office blockbusters: Kantara the lowest-budget pan-Indian movie
Rishab Shetty in a still from the film
  • Manoj Kumar R

Last Updated: 09.55 AM, Apr 19, 2023

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Kannada filmmaker-actor Rishab Shetty has become a household name across India after his last movie Kantara became a massive hit at the box office. While speaking at CII-Dakshin on Wednesday, Rishab shared the secret behind the movie's success, revealing that his inspiration came from watching Indian movies. Rishab was part of a panel discussion that also featured filmmakers Mani Ratnam, Vetrimaaran and Basil Joseph. 

"I don't know English. So I don't watch English movies. I have always seen Indian cinema - Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi. My inspiration is the stories I have seen in my village," he said.

Rishab believed that the story of Kantara would be appreciated by all audiences. "Because every village will have a ritual and story like that. In Mangalore, Karnataka, Guliga Daiva, the guardian deity, will be there in every village. I always felt that this story will connect with people across India and I shouldn't be influenced by anything else. I felt making it like a Western film would cause a disconnect with the audience. That's why I did a movie that was more regional and rooted and it worked," he explained.

Rishab also shared that he does not burden himself with the pressure of thinking about a film's box office viability. "We can't predict anything. We can never tell what the audience will or won't like. So we shouldn't take that pressure. What we should consider is whether I like this story and want to tell it," he advised.

He further added, "Before Kantara, I did a movie called Sa.Hi.Pra.Shaale, Kasaragodu, which is a children's movie. I made that film on a budget of Rs 1.4 crore. And media people asked my father why is your son making such an experimental film. He said, 'he was not making an experimental film. He doesn't have money that's why he's making movies like that'. But, that film did business to the tune of Rs 20 crore at the box office. Then I thought now let me make a big-budget movie. And that was Kantara. But, when that film was released, it became pan-India by itself and I was running behind it. It was the lowest-budget pan-Indian movie," he said.

Besides writing and directing, Rishab also played the lead role in it. The movie made on a budget of Rs 8 crore earned nearly Rs 400 crore from its worldwide ticket sales. Rishab is now in the process of scripting a prequel to Kantara.