‘Swear words in ‘Happy Birthday To Me’ may face silver screen muting ’

...says Chaithra Achar, as she discusses her upcoming dark comedy-drama, her Tamil debut, and plans for the future
‘Swear words in ‘Happy Birthday To Me’ 
may face silver screen muting ’

Chaithra Achar’s perspective as an actor is refreshingly straightforward: Whether her film is set for a silver screen outing or a straight OTT release, her focus remains solely on being the face of compelling stories. For the Toby and Blink actor, the essence of filmmaking lies in delivering her best performance, regardless of the scale or platform. While the audience’s comfort and the reach of the film are the producer’s responsibilities, she is willing to dedicate herself to giving her all in every role she undertakes. “Be it a feature film or a short project, my commitment is to the quality of the content above all else,” opines Chaithra, as she talks on the side lines of her next, Happy Birthday To Me, which is being directed by Rakesh Kadri, produced by Shoolin Movies, and distributed by Esha Film. The upcoming film is getting a direct OTT release on June 28 and will be streamed on more than a couple of platforms like AirTel Xstream Hungama Play, Just Watch, and Tata Play Binge, among others.

Happy Birthday To Me is a dark comedy film revolving around a birthday where people stumble upon a dead body, bringing chaos and fun to the forefront,” explains Chaithra. “It’s a pure comedy and my first venture into this genre. Don’t you think, after three years of effort, it deserves a silver screen release?” Chaithra further elaborates, “I asked the director, but I understand that this film includes a lot of swear words commonly used among friends. The director didn’t want them muted as it would dilute the essence. If these words were censored, the film would lose its authenticity. So he plays it safe by bringing it on OTT platforms.” According to the actor, Happy Birthday to Me was originally planned as a Tulu film, but the director opted for Kannada to widen its appeal. “Since it’s a fun script, he wanted everyone to relate to it,” Chaithra explains.

Negotiations with prominent OTT platforms are ongoing, with an option to include censorship changes if required. “People will watch it regardless of the platform. Remember my previous film, Blink? It initially had eight shows in theatres, but eventually expanded to 80, all through word of mouth. A good story will make that happen,” says the actor. Chaithra further asserts, “For me, it’s all about making movies. Whether it’s viewed on the big screen or a small screen, what matters is the impact. My focus is on delivering my best in every role I take on. Whether it’s a blockbuster or a short film, content is key. I don’t limit myself based on where the film will be released, my priority is to give my all. Whether it’s working with established actors like Rakshit Shetty or Rajinikanth, or working with newcomers, I’m open to diverse opportunities as long as the story connects with me. I strive to be approachable and versatile, exploring different genres and collaborating with various teams.”

Chaithra is thrilled to venture into Tamil cinema and hints at details about her upcoming project. She has signed a film and awaits the production house’s official announcement. “It’s going to be a good start for me, collaborating with a talented team and it is an exciting project,” she says. Apart from that, Chaithra is also part of Rohit Padaki’s Uttarakaanda, which is currently in production. “There’s another film directed by newcomer Hari, a dark suspense thriller starring myself, Praveen Tej, and Kiran Srinivas. We’ve completed seventy per cent of the shoot, and it’s shaping up well. We’ll talk more about it upon its release,” she says.

Chaithra is comfortable not being labelled a heroine, even though she takes on lead roles in films. “Whether I am called a heroine or a supporting role, I should shine in a strong character. Being labelled a heroine might limit me. If I’m called an artist, I can explore various roles, even beyond acting. I can be called to sing, or even part of the art department. That’s my approach, even in my photoshoots. Everything is thoughtfully curated, ensuring no random skin shows. I can confidently don a bikini or a traditional dress. It’s about connecting with people through my roles,” she signs off.

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