‘I waited 11 years to get a solo debut in Kannada’
A restauranter whose heart was with cinema, Likith Shetty, hero of Sankashta Kara Ganapathi, is an established hero in Tulu cinema
A casual chat over a plate of bhel puri with a friend provided the plot for Likith Shetty’s film, Sankashta Kara Ganapathi, which is hitting screens 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 our 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 the 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.
Despite the off-beat subject, Likith says that he is confident that the film will work with the 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.
Likith, who 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), says it took him 11 years to get a solo debut in Kannada cinema. “Although I have worked in multi-starrer films, Sankashta Kara Ganapathi will be my first solo film as a hero,” says the actor, who started his career in 2007 on television, while he was also studying interior designing.
His character in Sankashta Kara Ganapathi, he says, wasn’t as challenging as many assume. “That’s because we spent three years with this project. By the time we were shooting, I knew every scene and dialogue backwards and forwards. Not just mine, I knew the lines of other actors as well. Arjun 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 resturant business, and signing this film 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, according to the actor. “The story is about a man 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 overcome the problem without sounding preachy,” he says about the film that he believes 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 the actor, who plans to sign his next film depending on the audience feedback for Sankashta Kara Ganapathi. This is 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 film 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, Likith says that even though Sankashta Kara Ganapathi’s trailer is doing ‘fantabulous’, and has gone viral, he’s making sure the compliments don’t go to his head. “We have been getting a lot of support from top stars in the industry. Now, we are just waiting to hear what the audience has to say about the film, and my left hand,” he says.