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'Sapta Sagaralu Dhaati' is poetic and profound: Rakshit Shetty


The romantic drama film 'Sapta Saagaradaache Ello – Side A' (Kannada) is set to hit the cinemas as 'Sapta Sagaralu Dhaati - Side A' in Telugu. Ahead of the dubbed film's release on September 22 (Friday), the '777 Charlie' actor talks about its journey so far, teaming up with People Media Factory for the Telugu-dubbed version, and more. Also known for Kannada films like 'Avane Srimannarayana' and 'Kirik Party', Rakshit awaits the release of 'Sapta Sagaradaache Ello - Side B' on October 20 in Kannada and on October 27 in Telugu (as 'Sapta Sagaralu Dhaati - Side B').

After '777 Charlie', I wanted to do a love story before I move on to some other genre. That's when director Hemanth M Rao came up with this film. He had had the film's story in his mind for 12 years. He is a unique filmmaker with a style of his own. His previous two films were different from each other. His second film was so fab that I was proud of him after watching it. I got emotional and called him. I was almost in tears complimenting him.

Only once Hemanth started shooting 'Sapta Sagaralu Dhaati' could I fathom that he was making a poetic love story. Manu and Priya are the names of the lead actors. A lot of scenes were improvized on set despite a bound script. The emotion between the lead pair is vast. That's why the film had to be made into two parts. The 'Side B' will have a different flavour in terms of the nature of poetry.

The gap between 'Side A' and 'Side B' is just seven weeks. 'Side A' and 'Side B' denote the two sides of a casette. The idea is to release the second part when the audience are still in that mood. It is like a long-format web series that is best watched at a stretch. The gap between the two releases could have been shorter, but it is not ideal from a business perspective.

'Beyond the seven seas' is what the title denotes. It is the dream land. Every couple has a certain dream that is very personal to them. They want to live in a certain type of house, the kids they want to beget, etc. That's what the title implies metaphorically.

I have previously worked with Hemanth on 'Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu' in 2016. Since then, he has evolved as a human being. He is a responsible filmmaker from the producer's perspective. As a filmmaker, he now has more freedom to experiment. He has all the liberty. That shows in how 'Sapta Sagaralu Dhaati' has been staged. Whatever Hemanth writes, he infuses slice-of-life events. The story of 'SSD', as a whole, is fictional. But some of the scenes in it have been drawn from the real world.

The music by Charan Raj and the cinematography are beautiful. I count the poetic narration, the immersive sound design, and other technical aspects are the major highlights.

People Media Factory is presenting the film. I have known someone by the name Divya from the banner for years. PMF is one of the biggest production houses out there.

The movie-watching culture is very strong in Telugu. I remember watching Megastar Chiranjeevi's films on VCR as a kid. As an Engineering student, I was introduced to Telugu films which came after 2001 by my roomie. I watched 'Arya' and that's how I got familiar with Telugu films. My impression was that only mass commercial films were made in Telugu. 'Vedam' changed that image.

With commercial films like 'Kirik Party', I have created a market for himself. Experimentation has to go hand in hand with the expansion of an actor's market. I intermittently do experimental films; I don't do them at a stretch. I am a story-writer myself. I have written many films but I haven't directed most of them. I want to direct more in the coming years.

I feel responsible more than pressure. The reach of my films is expanding to other languages. Unlike Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam, the films made in Kannada have taken longer to cross the borders. Luckily, we are in a phase where linguistic boundaries have faded away. Making use of the opportunity is what matters now. Sandalwood's talent pool is diverse.

The films done by me, Rishab Shetty ('Kantara' fame) and Raj Shetty have tried to explore three different cultural regions in Karnataka. We need many more filmmakers from certain regions of the State to represent the diverse cultures in Kannada cinema. The Konkani culture, for example, hasn't been explored much in the commercial space.

My next film is a gagster film told in a classy manner although my character is massy. The gangster genre has been done in a unique way. 'Richard Antony' is its title.

I am not up for guest roles. I am someone who looks bad if I do a standalone film. I have to get into the skin of the character first for me to do full justice.  

Updated on September 21, 2023