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A still from 777 Charlie
The actor has started his birthday on a busy note having already lined up a couple of projects. While he prepares for the release of the trailer of Avane Srimannarayana, which is currently being shot, his other project , 777 Charlie, where he will be shooting with three labs will soon be underway
On Wednesday, his 35th birthday, Rakshit is sure to be flooded with calls, messages and visits from fans. His dear wife of a year, Rashmika Mandanna, is also planning a surprise. Ahead of his birthday, Rakshit spoke to City Express about his upcoming films, juggling a tight schedule and the butterflies in his stomach he is experiencing prior to the the release of Avane Srimannarayana touted to be the highest budget film of his career. Excerpts.
Avane Srimannaryana is turning out better than I expected...
Avane Srirmannarayaana, now at the shooting stage, has been slightly delayed owing to the fact that Rakshit took longer than he thought during the scripting process. This meant that the project took time to go on floors. After the intense groundwork, Rakshit says that the film directed by debutant Sachin, is going exactly the way he had visualised it at the table. "In fact, it's coming out little bigger than what I had expected. I had a rough sketch in my mind as to how these characters might look and dress, but the costume designer turned my vague ideas into reality. We shared a good rapport which benefitted both parties-- they've done a great job and I have been able to put their talents to good use. Karm Chawla (cinematographer) has been creating magic with his camera work, and has surpasses my expectations manifold. Cinematography-wise, Ulidaravu Kandante was his best. But after Srimannarayana, he will have a notch higher. In every aspect, the film's cast and crew is giving much more than I've asked.
Dealing with two contrast characters
On one hand, Rakshit sports a khaki uniform, and on the other in 777 Charlie, he shares screen space with three Labradors. But he's been juggling two contrasting characters with much ease. While he awaits the creation of the sets of Avane Srimannarayana to begin the next schedule, the actor will begin to shoot for Kiranraj's debut directorial in the coming days. For Rakshit, it's the first time he's sharing screen space with three labs, as well as working on two projects simultaneously. "I have never done this before, so it's new to me. Though I have not yet started shooting for Charlie, I think I will be able to go with the flow and give what the character demands. I have a vague picture in mind as to how I should I be portraying the role, and I'm sure it's not going to be very difficult," he says.
Irrespective of who is helming the project, Rakshit, as a writer is particular about every detail. For the filmmaker in him, a good story begins with a good script. "The script is the foundation of a good film. If it is strong, so is the structure. In fact, even in terms of writing, unlike my earlier stories, this script has required more effort. Writing the story of Kirik Party was easy since it was set against the background of an engineering college, which I was had attended. On the other hand, Avane Srimannarayana is more cinematic, and is a better picture. If I succeed as a writer, I am sure we can do wonders after this.
Team work can bring out the best
Rakshit is a firm believer in hardwork. Whether it's a character to be essayed or a script to be written, Rakshit involves the team to shape the film. While Ulidavaru Kandante or Kirik Party didn't have much artwork, constructing the sets of Avane Srimannarayana was a 'big deal'. "We didn't want someone established and instead wanted someone who would gel with the team and dedicate their time to us. For instance, music director Ajanesh Loknath...if he is working in my project, he will not associate with any other films at that point. Likewise, cinematographer, Karm Chawla will also not take up any other films. I'm looking for that kind of commitment. I see that in newcomer and art director, Ullas. He has done a couple of projects, and this is his first independent project. He will be a great asset to our future projects. I would say the same about costume designer, Arundathi. She has been doing a great job. The team and I are at the same wavelength. And since the film has freshers, the atmosphere is light and fresh."
Rakshit Shetty and joint ventures
"Till date, my films budget have never crossed Rs 3 crores. But the budget of Avane Srimannaryana has only been getting bigger and better." For the project, he is associating with producers Pushkar Mallikarajunaiah and HK Prakash. Rakshit and Pushkar are jointly working on producing the film and its distribution. A filmmaker, who strongly believes in joint ventures, Rakshit has worked out the same formula with technicians, too. "The technicians who worked in Kirik Party got paid only after the movie released, and they were paid three times more than they would get paid otherwise. I believe that when a script is really good, filmmaking is not a gamble. It only takes time to get that confidence. When all of us come together to shoulder this responsibility, it only helps. Two to three producers coming together can take off some of the burden of small losses. Of course, it also means that we can share the profits, too.
777 Charlie is a test of patience
The whole team of 777 Charlie was most excited about 'working' with dogs. I am sure it is going to be a long process for the director, technicians and me as an actor. Handling pets is like handling kids on the sets. But when it comes to finances, it's easier to get a kid to understand than a dog (laughs). How will they know how much we are spending every day on the shoot? We cannot train pets too much, which is why we have three dogs on set. While the eldest one will play the main role, the other two come in to picture in pivotal roles. Probably, this is the first movie that will test my patience.
I became a fan of Rakshit after Simplag Ondhu Love Story: Pushkar Mallikarjunaiah
Pushkar's association with Rakshit began with Simplagi Ondhu Love Story, after which he turned fan of the actor-director. In 2014, when Rakshit was shooting for Ulidavaru Kandante, Pushkar recalls approaching Rakshit. "It was at a time when I didn't have any identity in the film industry. I remember it being an ordinary conversation about the date of a film schedule.But the whole scenario changed within a year's time. It's was a simple journey that began and neither of us had imagined that we would jointly produce 12 films.The bond is blissful especially because our wavelength match. Both of us come from an engineering background, and both of us believe in being transparent, honest and critical. When you have the liberty to be frank when something goes wrong, creatively, and it is accepted in the right spirit, the bond only gets stronger. Both of us have those liberties when it comes to production," he says.