A casual chat over a plate of bhel puri with a friend turned out to be the plot for Likith Shetty’s film, Sankashta Kara Ganapathi, releasing this week. At the time of conversation, Likith had never thought that the duo’s discussion on a relatively lesser known medical condition, Alien Hand Syndrome (AHS) would turn into a full-fledged commercial film. “All of a sudden, my friend asked, ‘What if we lose control over my hand movements?’, which took me by surprise. As we started talking, he suggested that I look at it from a film perspective. When I continued this conversation with a good friend and now director of the film, Arjun Kumar, we realised that it’s a subject worthy of a film. It took many rounds of discussions and much research before we actually got started,” he says.
Going by the off-beat subject, Likith says that he is confident that the film with an unusual formula, will work with new-age audience. “It is not a typical film with the hero-heroine running behind each other or around trees. We have cut out unnecessary drama. The entire screenplay is fresh and unexplored,” he says.
Even as Likith is an established hero in Tulu cinema with two successful films - Oriyardori Asal and Madime-- to his credit (the former ran for 300 days and the latter for 100 days), he says that it took 11 years for him to get a solo debut in a Kannada film.
He later took a transformation, particularly for this film. “Although I have worked in multi-starrer films, Sankashta Kara Ganapathi will be my first solo film as a hero, which took me 11 years, “says Likith, who started his career in 2007 on television, while he juggled his studies in interior designing. His character in Sankashta Kara Ganapathi, he says, wasn’t as challenging as many are assuming. “That’s because we have spent three years with this project. By the time we were shooting, I knew every scene and dialogue backwards forwards. Not just mine, I knew the lines of other actors as well. Though Arjun had an upper hand, he always made sure to keep me in the loop on all matters,” he says, adding, “Since my friends have invested in the film, I’m shouldering a huge responsibility.
Few know that Likith runs a restaurant business, and signing this film only meant that he had to follow a strict meal plan for the last one year. “You can imagine what it felt like for a foodie like me,” he laughs.
The team is keen to give a realistic portrayal of the syndrome rather than an unreal picture “The story is about a cartoon who doesn’t have control over his hand. We give a realistic picture of how his life goes haywire with this syndrome. We have also shown the positive side of how to come the problem without sounding preachy,” he says about the film that blends in romance, comedy, emotions and a fun element.
Even though Likith is an established restauranter, he says that from a young age he’s always wanted to become an actor. “I grew up visualising myself as a hero. And I’ve worked towards that dream. Everything you do needs dedication,” says Likith, who plans to sign his next film depending on the audience feedback for Sankashta Kara Ganapathi.
This, because of an episode when he worked in a multi-starrer, whose director promised him a second film. “But it did not happen after the movie didn’t do well. Ever since, I’ve told filmmakers who offer me projects, that I will not make any prior commitment. Like me they will also have wait for my film’s result,” he says. Before he signs off, he says that even though Sankashta Kara Ganapathi’s trailer is doing ‘fantabulous’, and has gone viral, he’s making sure the compliments don’t get to his head. “We have been getting a lot of support from top Sandalwood stars. Now, we are just waiting to hear what the audience have to says about the film, and my left hand,” he says.