Raj Shetty is the man of moment. He has become a star with his debut film "OnduMotteya Kathe" (the story of one egg) doing good business at box office. The lad from Mangaluru, who is bald in real life has made baldness cool with "OnduMotteya Kathe". He has not only acted as lead in the film, but has also has directed the film. Made on a tight budget, the film has actors from Mangaluru. Initially slated to be a short film, it was made into a feature film. Top celebrities like Puneeth Rajkumar, Ganesh, Rakshit Shetty and Prajwal have praised the film.
In an exclusive interview with Vedhanth of Karnataka Today, Raj opens up:
Did you expect the film to be such a huge success?
I did not expect the film to be such a huge success. I was very confident of the film, so I went ahead to make the film. We had a made a film at a very small budget. We were sure of recovering the budget by releasing it on a few screens. But the film has now been released in so many and it's running successfully everywhere. I never ever dreamt that we would do so well at the box office. People have made the film a success.
Was it not risky to debut with an off-beat film?
Initially I had planned to do a short film. However later I was asked to make it a feature film. I knew there was a lot of risk involved in making the film. But our team decided to keep the budget tight, so that either way, we will recover the money. We had proper planning. All the actors were new. They were made to undergo acting workshops. The film was shot in 16 days flat. We did everything as per plan.
How did you get Pawan Kumar to back your project?
We had completed shooting the film. But we did not have any proper plans to get it released in theatres. We needed a distributor who will give us a pan Karnataka release. We did not know whom to approach. We initially thought to upload a song, hoping it would go viral and we get a distributor. A film enthusiast Harish Mallya saw the song and some parts of the film. He was impressed with the film and asked Pawan Kumar to see the film. Pawan watched the film and was impressed. He decided to take over the film. He gave us the platform which we needed. Jack Manju under Mysore Talkies came forward to distribute the film through Pawan Kumar.
In which countries are you planning to release the film?
We will be releasing the film in USA on July 27. We will also be releasing film in Europe, Britain, Holland, Sweden, Germany, Israel, UAE, Dubai, Qatar and Oman. The film has already been released in big cities across India and has got a good response.
Which is the best response you have got from the audience for the film?
I met a youngster from Bengaluru, who used to call his girlfriend as Kulli (shorty). He told me he will not do so henceforth. The most common compliment that I got was that this film made them believe in humanity.
There has been an increase in shows in multiplexes. What do you have to say regarding this?
Multiplexes are a boon to small filmmakers like me. They are very useful for us, who make small budget films. As multiplexes have a profit sharing distribution model, it is a win-win situation for us. Unlike in single screens, wherein we have to pay weekly rent, there is no need of investment here. Our film had a few shows on the day of release. Next day, there was a small increase in shows in multiplexes. By Sunday, we were having many shows equivalent to that of big stars. And all were running houseful.
Any plans of remaking the film in other languages?
We are getting offers from many languages for remake rights. Four production houses from Malayalam have contacted me for a remake. Production houses even from Tamil, Marathi and Hindi languages have asked for remake rights. The surprising part is a production house from the Telugu film industry has asked us for the remake rights. Offbeat films like these are hardly made in the Telugu film industry. Pawan Kumar will be taking a call on these remake rights.
Any plans of dubbing the film?
There is no way this film can be dubbed in any language. Dr Rajkumar plays an integral part in the film. If the film is dubbed in any other language, the effect which Dr Rajkumar's character has on the Kannada audience cannot be same. Therefore dubbing plans are ruled out.
How did the idea of integrating Dr Rajkumar's character in the film come?
I have been a huge fan of Dr Rajkumar. I am a huge fan of his acting. I have been inspired by him. In this film, the character Janardhan needed someone, who can inspire him. I wanted somebody who has this aura wherein he can inspire the hero. I did not get any bigger legend than Dr Rajkumar in Kannada for this role. The only way we could get him in the film was through songs. His songs play a very important role in decision making.
What are your future projects?
I am currently writing a script. I do not know, how it will shape up. Only after it is completely written, I can tell if the film will be made or not.
Any plans of acting in films of other directors?
I am open to acting. I am ready to act in any role. It does not matter, if the role is a supporting role or a lead role. I want to act in roles, which will help me grow as an actor.