In his recent interaction with the media, Upendra put forth a valid argument in favour of actors like Yash opting to make one film every 2-3 years.
Last Updated: 02.46 PM, Mar 14, 2023
The recent box office success of films like KGF 2, 777 Charlie and Kantara seems to have put the star actors involved in a state of dilemma. On the one hand, the great commercial results of each of these have allowed Yash, Rakshit Shetty and Rishab Shetty to gain national prominence and be the masters of their own fortunes now. Yash and Rishab Shetty, in particular, became the sought-after names for filmmakers and producers outside of Kannada Cinema and as a result, the two were flooded with offers from all corners of the country.
Rishab, having delivered arguably the biggest 'sleeper hit' to date in Kantara, chose to stick to Kannada cinema and is currently developing Kantara 2, a prequel. Regardless, the stellar box office yield of his film has warranted the attention of every major name in India and everyone's keenly looking forward to what Kantara 2 has to offer.
His close pal and associate Rakshit Shetty, too, has gained notoriety over the years for taking nearly 3 years to complete a film and has already dedicated more than 110 days to Hemanth M. Rao's Sapta Sagaradaache Ello, which will be his only release in 2023.
Yash, on the other hand, has become a bit of a recluse post the success of K.G.F: Chapter 2 and the lack of any news regarding his next film (Yash 19) continues to haunt his many million fans. There's also some criticism hurled in his direction by industry trackers and critics who reckon that a superstar, regardless of his stature or position, should not be away from the action for such a long length of time. Although Yash has addressed this in a few of his recent social media appearances and urged his fans to grant him more time because he is putting together something special, the same critics opine that his absence is a little demoralizing to the industry as a whole.
And should the upcoming film Kabzaa, too, achieve the same kind of success that KGF 2 and Kantara did, one could expect the Real Star of Sandalwood, Upendra, to follow suit. At a recent press meet ahead of the release of the R. Chandru directorial, Upendra was implored to reveal his stance on the concept of actors taking long breaks in between projects. Though the journalists present at the interaction refrained from citing Yash as the case in point, it was apparent nevertheless that Upendra caught on that they were, indeed, referring to the KGF 2 star.
"When a film goes on to become a huge success, every star tends to get choosy about their next outings. To each their own, I would say. Some of them take it as a challenge when choosing the follow-up project. And there's nothing wrong with that because if you are taking the time to choose what's good for you, then it is great. In the past, Rajini sir (Rajinikanth) took a 4-year break and Annavru (Dr. Rajkumar) did not act in a film for five years because he wanted to wait for the right film," said Upendra in the same interaction with the print media of Bengaluru.
"But who will worry about the considerable lack of any hit films in the industry? If an actor has the strength and the capacity to churn out films faster, why not do so?" posed the journos in response, prompting Upendra to ask another question.
"Who are we talking about here? Why not take names?" said the Real Star. And when he extracted the name 'Yash' from the media in front, he said, "If Yash is not doing films, you should ask Yash directly, not Upendra. Do I look like Yash to you?". Perhaps, it was at this point that the ice was broken between the two parties as Upendra's quintessential candour drew laughter from the journos.
The same question was asked again: When the industry is collapsing on the side, shouldn't heroes be acting in more films?
"Sir, if one acts in too many films, then the audience will stop coming to theatres. What will you do then? There's also the problem of plenty. And moreover, when an actor wishes to create a market for themselves, they have to consider the right project, the time required for that and also the effort that goes into its making. You have to take all those factors into account. Back in the day, I was suggested to do 3-4 films a year but all that is not possible in today's age. Every film has to be made with care and attention. The whole idea of movie-watching, too, has now been divided into pre-Corona and post-Corona. After the advent of OTT media, the audience decides beforehand whether they want to watch a film in theatres or at home. And if you want to make a particular kind of film that will attract people to cinema halls, you will definitely need time," added Upendra.
"Then does everything come down to the 'making' for the audiences to come to theatres?"
"Making is very important because cinema is a visual medium and if you tell a story in a boring manner, then there's no point. But, to be honest, even I am not sure about this distinction between making and content. As per my analysis, one had many stories to tell when cinema was at its nascent stage - the love story itself was a new idea. But that changed soon and you had films like Darr, which glorified hate in a love story. Period films, too, became the rage at one point. But at this very point, we have run out of all stories because everything has been told in some way or the other. That's why, the making of a film, the way you present a story has become crucial now. It's all talent - you can present an Rs. 50 crore film as an Rs. 150 crore film if the making is good. Take Kantara as an example: the film has the "making" that we look for and also good content. That's not a very expensive film".
At the time this article was being composed, 60 Kannada films had released in theatres in as many days (between January 6th and March 10th) but none of them had managed to generate any encouraging box office numbers. The most recent film that made any 'noise', many opine, is Shiva Rajkumar's Vedha and all the onus now lies on Kabzaa, which releases on March 17th. Kannada cinema patrons and enthusiasts theorize that if star actors acted in more films and narrowed down the gap between two projects, the industry could be benefitted both in terms of commerce and morale. Regardless, many are now ardently looking forward to what Kabzaa has in store.