‘Splitting a love story like SSE into two films is an untried concept’

...says actor Rakshit Shetty, who candidly champions Sapta Sagaradaache Ello for its niche appeal, explores his role in Hemanth Rao’s directorial and shares his insights as the film’s producer
‘Splitting a love story like SSE into two films is an untried concept’

Rakshit Shetty, like director Hemanth M Rao, is open to taking risks and is honest in acknowledging that around the release of Side A of Sapta Sagaradaache Ello (SSE) in September, he had advised his director to prepare for any kind of result. He expressed that a film like SSE might not appeal to every audience, recognising that seeing such stories are rare on the silver screen. In conversation with CE, ahead of the release of the second instalment, Rakshit, who is also backing the film under his Paramvah Studios, discusses Side B and its conclusion. He begins by stating that the feedback received at the premiere show helped him gauge the film’s standing.

“I usually rely on the overall reactions and how the subject and the presentation resonate with the audience. I discussed with Hemanth how this cinema caters to a niche audience, and we can’t expect all kinds of people to come and watch. The director’s narration in Side A is straightforward. Only when Side B joins in will it complete the story of Manu, and his romantic tale with Priya (Rukmini Vasanth). The results from the first part don’t conclude the story. Everything will be concluded in Side B,” states Rakshit, adding, “As a producer, the investment isn’t just for Side A but also Side B. While the film might seem slow at first, perspectives might change when viewers watch Side B; then, it becomes a package.”

Regarding Manu’s transformation, and with the entry of Surabhi (Chaithra Achar) in Side B, Rakshit explains, “The core of Manu doesn’t change from Side A to Side B. He is a loner, but his innocence remains intact. He might seem tougher due to the circumstances, but his innocence persists. Also, Side B will feature more action scenes. As for Surabhi, she is a surprise package in the film.”

Further explaining the contrast between Side A and Side B’s emotions and how Hemanth handles the framing using Zoom in and Zoom out to distinguish between the two sides of the story, Rakshit highlighted the film’s poetic nature. “Side A is akin to Indian classical poetry mixed with Western elements, while Side B has a more rock ‘n’ roll vibe. Initially, the focus is on Priya and Manu, but as the story unfolds, it expands. Scenes in SSE that begin in worn-down places shift to dreams, and Side B is where things escalate. Side A feels authentic, reflecting genuine relationships like those in real life, while Side B gradually introduces us to the cinematic world.”

He also emphasised the significance of objects like Shankha and suggested that their placement in Side B might bring pleasant surprises. Regarding Manu’s transformation and the characters around him in the picture, he says, “They become either my strength or enemies.”

Acknowledging the risks of splitting a love story into two films, Rakshit says, “It’s an untried concept. We wondered if people would return for the conclusion after watching half the romance. But, I trusted the director from the writing phase to the final output. Unlike films like KGF and Baahubali, which had a year’s gap between their parts, we decided to release both parts of SSE close together because seizing the moment is crucial for such stories.”

Acknowledging the challenge of matching the success of the first instalment in sequels, Rakshit hopes that expectations are met because this is a continuation and a conclusion. “Side A and Side B can be seen as two different films, but they’re two sides of the same coin. We’ve used the hues blue and red to distinguish the story yet create a beautiful blend,” says Rakshit, adding, “Even if it doesn’t reach all audiences, I believe viewers will leave the theatre feeling fulfilled, and SSE will endure as one of the most beautiful love stories in Indian cinema.”

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