Rakshit Shetty to retell the legendary Punyakoti tale
The actor-director speaks about his next directorial venture which is in the scripting stage
Who has not heard of the legend of Punyakoti, the tale about the honest cow and the hungry tiger? Actor-director Rakshit Shetty is now reimagining the moral story for the big screen. This will be his second directorial venture after Ulidavaru Kandante, and he is writing the story too. Apparently, the concept got him so excited that he made it his WhatsApp DP, which then made way for the announcement of Punyakoti by his friends during Deepavali.
When CE caught up with this multifaceted actor over a telephonic conversation, he tells us that the one-line story is ready and he has started writing the dialogues as well. “The whole script is in my mind, and it is just a matter of putting it on paper.”
‘Always thought something like Game of Thrones should happen in Kannada’
There are 20-30 concepts in Rakshit’s mind, which he wants to convert into a film and what’s got him the most excited amongst them is the Punyakoti script. “Currently I am shooting for Avane Srimannarayana, and each frame makes me think of doing something bigger than my previous project. A subject like Punyakoti feels like the best option for me, and the thought of it is exciting for various reasons. Especially so because, when watching a series like Game of Thrones, I have always thought that something like this should happen in Kannada as well,” he says.
A legendary tale retold
“Every Kannadiga has read this tale in their school days. In fact, it was one song we were happy to learn and would wait for our teachers to ask us to recite it. The whole class singing that in the form of a song and in tune is so soothing to the ears. It’s more or less like an anthem in schools even today. I consider Punyakoti a lenegdary tale, which I plan to retell. The possiblity of listening to this legendary tale/song in a cinematic form, with music by a complete orchestra, excites me even more,” says Rakshit.
Giving a human face to Punyakoti
Punyakoti is a very simple story about a cow and tiger, and the actor-director plans to add a lot of elements to it. “When giving a human form to the Punyakoti story, it has to be creatively satisfying and at the same time, commercially viable. And when a human comes into the picture, there can be many facets to the story.”
‘My story of Punyakoti will be set in ancient times’
Rakshit wants to base the story in ancient times, but is not specific about when exactly. “It can be set even before Ramayana and Mahabharata times. Creatively, I have a lot of freedom. It gives me the opportunity to create the place, the costumes, the way they talk and more,” he says.
Huge fan of mythology
Rakshit says he is a huge fan of mythology. “I have not missed any of Rajkumar’s films or mythological films in general. The whole idea of taking the audience to another world, which none of us have seen, is fun. We have done that quite a bit in Avane Srimnanayarana, the film I am currently shooting. Punyakoti will be a complete fantasy world.”
'It will be a global film'
“This will be an epic film. I am not thinking of doing it on a small budget. This is a story you can do on a budget of 15/30/100/200 crores. Sometimes, even if the story doesn’t require that budget, the canvas requires it. Thinking of a budget while in the writing stage kills the imagination, so I'm not limiting myself to a budget now,” says Rakshit.
Although he wants Punyakoti to be recognised as a Kannada film, given that he's planning it as a big budget project, Rakshit wants to make it in two languages and dubbed into other languages. “If the film is good, there is a possibility of taking the film across the globe,” says the actor-director, who is yet to decide whether it will be done under Paramvah Studios.
“My investors have stakes in the company and I want to know if they are interested in investing in this film. Having said that, I will give first preference to Paramvah. I also have friends who want to invest in it. We have a plan, and it is just a matter of putting it in place. Once the script is ready, I will work out on strategy and the budget required,” he says.
'KGF is a good example'
“The trailer of KGF is making a big buzz all over the country, which is a good strategy. The film has set a very good example and they are doing an amazing job. This is the right time to tap and extend our Kannada market. It is just that we have to be confident while making the film on such a big canvas that people from other languages will watch,” says Rakshit, who has completed 80 per cent of the shoot for Avane Srimannarayana.
“I just have two pending schedules. Since the script has the potential, we thought, 'Why not take this to as many people as possible?' So we are working on strategies to release it in other languages too,” he says.