Multi-faceted Raj B Shetty's Ondu Motteya Kathe came as a breath of fresh air in Sandalwood. The movie was hailed for its uniqueness in its content backed by the natural performance of Shetty. A year later, he is back with Ammachi Yemba Nenapu, this time with a different director, Champa P Shetty.
Ammachi Yemba Nenapu is contrastingly different from his previous movie as it a serious movie about patriarchal society. Ahead of its release on Thursday, November 1, Raj B Shetty spoke to International Business Times, India, about the flick and explained why he does not like to do commercial movies and more. Excerpts from the interview below:
Whenever there a hit movie, filmmakers take inspiration from it and come up with stories on the similar lines. Did people approach you with formulaic movies after the success of Ondu Motteya Kathe (OMK)?
I am in the cinema for a different reason altogether. I want to do characters or movies which drive us. I am consciously away from the commercial trappings. For me, commercial movies are boring. I believe movies should be made with utmost sincerity rather than trying to impress the audience. I am sure people will like it if is made with honesty.
I was offered movies with similar kind of stories that include adult comedies. I realised then that many misunderstood the whole concept of OMK. People liked it for its freshness, but the uniqueness will be lost if one tries to repeat it.
Ammachi Yemba Nenapu (AYN) is serious in nature and there is no room for comedy.
You seem to be busy after OMK.
I was flooded with offers following the success of OMK, but I opted for those movies which are closer to my sensibilities and Ammachi Yemba Nenapu is one among them. I have been busy doing multiple projects, as a writer and actor. It has been a busy year.
What is Ammachi Yemba Nenapu all about?
It is a movie made on the three stories written by Dr Vaidehi (Janaki Srinivasa Murthy). Set in the 70-80s in Kundapura, the story speaks about the patriarchal society and how the wings of women were clipped those days. The story is relevant even today. We may say that the society has changed, but the same mindset continues to exist in different forms. There are constant attempts to curtail the freedom of women.
Is it about women empowerment?
It is not about empowerment, but about harassment on women. It deals around how their dreams are shattered and the society's role in restricting their lives.
The teaser of AYN reminded me of late Kashinath's Avane Nanna Ganda. Is it inspired by that film?
As I said, the movie is based on Vaidehi's works. I believe she did not take inspiration from that movie. She created the characters and wrote stories from real-life experiences. I feel any movie, which is inspired by life, becomes closer to people and the recipe of a bad movie is to take inspiration from another movie.
In OMK, your character spoke Mangalore dialect. In AYN, we see Kundapura Kannada. Is it an attempt to showcase the less familiar dialect to the large audience?
It is a least explored dialect in Sandalwood. The industry knows just two words – 'Vooi' and 'Marayare'. Filmmakers have never attempted to use it as they were unsure about its commercial success. The main reason why we have used the Kundapura language is because Vaidehi's characters were inspired from this region and have a strong Kundapura flavour.
She wants the same dialect in the movies if made on her works. She believes the characters get life only when the native language is retained. It would have been a great injustice if we had used other dialect for AYN.
Being a writer and a director, did you give your feedback and suggestions during the making of the film to the director?
One should get the story and filmmaker right. Once you select it, he or she will take all the decisions. As an actor, my duty is to act and give life to his character.
Please tell us about your role.
I play a negative character which has a less screen space, but a very impactful role.