Entertainment

Raj B Shetty on the making of 'Ondu Motteya Kathe'

Raj B Shetty’s name is today synonymous with his debut film Ondu Motteya Kathe . The actor directed the film, which won critical acclaim and bowled the audience over with its strong content and the unconventional looking hero —Janardhan—played by Shetty himself.

Ondu Motteya Kathe, written by Shetty was produced by Suhan Prasad and Pawan Kumar with music by Midhun Mukundan.

Shetty, who started off as a radio jockey with Big 92.7 FM in Mangaluru, is now ready for his next venture where he will focus “only on acting”.

But, before revealing more about his new film, he goes back in time and narrates behind-the-scene stories that led to the making of Ondu Motteya Kathe .

“I have loved cinema all my life. We lived in Bhadravati where films were a part and parcel of our lives. Every week, the family had to watch a film. Then we shifted to Mangaluru, where I studied, worked for a short while and quit the job.

My introduction to media that was close to cinema was when I became an RJ for FM.

I became an RJ by accident. My friend was an ardent FM fan and listened to it a lot. He got a silver coin in a contest and we took off to collect it. That was also a time when an RJ was coming to Sakleshpur for an event and his visit was creating quite a buzz. So, my friend decided to become an RJ, dreaming that we too would become famous.

In spite of my hesitation, he sent both our applications and I was one among the 13 selected. I too started listening to FM to understand the kind of programmes aired. I was happy with the content and learnt that an RJ is also a storyteller, who has to narrate an interesting story in a minute.

 

Radio is also close to cinema as we speak a lot about films and air filmi songs. When I became an RJ, I spoke about retro films and played retro songs. I researched before every show. The one-and-a-half years that I worked as an RJ, I watched a lot of films. That is also the reason how Dr Rajkumar became an important part of Ondu Motteya Kathe .

Then I progressed to voice overs for ads. First scripts started coming in. But, later they were short of script writers and I volunteered for script writing. That way, situations also made me become a writer. I discovered I enjoyed writing. Then I told my friend I wanted to watch ad shoots and started watching the shootings. As my friend was not comfortable communicating with artistes, hence, I was assigned to speak with them. All these, in some way, brought the director, hidden within me, out.

Soon, I made a three-minute film. And Praveen and I loved the way it turned out. Then we progressed to making a 20-minute film called 5 Letters . Our confidence boosted, we decided to make a feature film.

 Perfect poise: Raj B Shetty

Perfect poise: Raj B Shetty

 

I first wrote a Tulu film, which did not take off as the producer had just released another Tulu film that had bombed. Then another producer came and offered to produce my film. After three years of making me wait, he backed out. Disappointed, I kept that script aside and wrote another Tulu film for which one producer approached me and wanted to also act in it. It started off, but we were not on the same wave length, hence, I backed out and kept that script aside too.

Now, I was dejected as I had worked without earning any money. I was getting frustrated. Then realised that I am not crazy about making films, but love telling stories.

I decided to make a short film – Ondu Motteya Kathe . It was meant to be a six scene, 20-minute film with just a few characters.

When I narrated the story to my friend Suhan, he loved it. Immediately, he shared it with Pawan, who suggested I re-write it as a feature film. Pawan had just opened a production house and was willing to finance the film. The script was re-written.With Dr Rajkumar’s aspect being introduced in the film, the story took on a beautiful form.

Next came the auditions. All characters were selected except the lead . After months of scouting, the team decided I should play the lead. That is how I became the actor and director for this film.

 

As the budget was tight, we scheduled a 14-day shoot with two extra days for the song. Every thing was planned .

But, the lead actress met with an accident and was out of action as she had a few stitches on her fore head. I was totally dejected and angry , but did not reveal that to my team as everything was scheduled and the shooting had to progress.

We started without the heroine and continued to shoot. But the accident worked for us as we took a break and shot the sequences where the hero gets to grow a beard and tries to become a Sanyasi, which again clicked with the storyline.

Once the film was complete, the next question was how to release it. I decided that we should release it in Magaluru as an all Karnataka release would be a huge task. When we met distributors, we saw another side of the industry, which I never knew existed. The film was first released in the US and later in Karnataka. No one realised it was made on a very short budget because of the work put in by the whole team.

As told to Shilpa Sebastian R

This column chronicles a filmmaker’s first efforts


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Printable version | Aug 7, 2022 1:50:41 am | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/raj-b-shetty-on-the-making-of-ondu-motteya-kathe/article22656242.ece