Don’t expect to see me in a typical villain’s role in Ammachi Yemba Nenapu: Raj B Shetty
The actor-filmmaker reveals that his character in the film is a patriarchal figure who disapproves of the progress of women.
After the critically-acclaimed Ondu Motteya Kathe, director and actor Raj B Shetty is now gearing up for the release of Ammachi Yemba Nenapu in which he plays a villainous character.
“Don’t expect to see me in a typical villain’s role, someone who will bash up the hero or plot murders. I can never imagine playing such a character,” laughs Raj, who says that Ammachi Yemba.. is about the harassment of women. Set in the 70s and 80s, the film focuses on a patriarchal figure who disapproves of the progress of women. “The character is negative in thought, not in action,” Raj explains.
The actor says that such figures are common in every household — the ones who restrict women’s actions, including their behaviour and style of dressing. “Unfortunately, society doesn’t consider such characters as villains, which, I feel, is sad. But, it's high time that people with such attitude are called villains,” he says.
The film comes at a time when the #MeToo movement has gained momentum in the country. “When I was born, my mother was 16. As I was growing up, I often saw how certain people in the neighbourhood used to look at her, and talk about her. I’ve now come to realise that no place is safe for women, including her own house,” Raj says, adding, “With the #Metoo movement, it's good to see people are coming out and speaking up. If harassment has to stop, people have to continue speaking up. This film will highlight such issues."
Ammachi..., which also stars Vijayanti V Adiga, Radhakrishna Urala K and Diya Palakkal, brings to the fore a lesser-used language, Kundapura. “Ulidavaru Kandante had the Mangaluru dialect, which was later used in Ondu Motteya Kathe and Rishab Shetty’s Sa.Hi.Pra Shaale.... It is now a popular dialect used in cinemas. Likewise, every language should be given regional importance,” he says.
What was it like to execute another director’s vision? “Cinema is all about teamwork and you should completely believe the people you work with. Champa P Shetty’s film is based on Vaidehi’s three short stories. With her experience of 25 years, and theatre background, I only felt that I should go by the director’s vision. Though I suggested a few ideas, ultimately, I implemented whatever Champa wanted,” says Raj.
In today’s scenario, the actor-filmmaker feels not many are making novel-based films. “The trailer of Ammachi Yemmba Nenapu, which was released a few days ago, hit 2 lakh views. This is a huge deal for a novel-based film. It simply means that as an actor or technician, it is our responsibility to select projects which are honest. If I had taken up a commercial project after Ondu Motteya Kathe, I would have changed the audience’s impression about me,” he says, adding, “The quality of films cannot be decided based on the budget."