True-life theft turns inspiration for Rishab Shetty and Hariprriya-starrer Bell Bottom
Director Jayatheertha talks about how he chose the locations for the film, why he chose Rishab Shetty for the role, and more
Rishab Shetty and Hariprriya-starrer Bell Bottom has been generating a lot of curiosity thanks to its trailer and promotional posters. Ahead of the film's release on February 15, director Jayatheertha tells us the script, written by TK Dayanand, was given a twist soon after the initial story was drafted.
A theft that took place in Kolar 10 years ago is the inspiration behind the film that is set in the 80s. Jayatheertha explains that his story is about an officer investigating a crime that has many suspects, but not a single witness. Just when he is about to give up on the case, someone drops a clue and what follows next forms the rest of the plot. “The story is gripping and has elements of humour. At the premiere of Beautiful Manasagalu, I met Santosh Kumar, who showed interest in producing a film with me as the director. Fortunately, he also knew our writer, which is how we came together for the project. Soon, everything fell in place and before we knew it, the film was rolling.”
However, they did face some challenges. Keen on casting an actor who would suit the retro look they had visualised, the team hunted far and wide. Co-incidentally, Jayatheertha’s assistant happened to show him a dubsmash made by director and actor Rishab Shetty, which immediately caught his attention. “I was looking for a person who was well-known and could pull off the role of a detective. The moment I saw Rishab’s work, I knew he had good comic timing, but I also needed to see if he would fit the retro look. Using his picture, we created a graphic of him in a retro look, at which point I knew he was the one. Later, I discussed it with Rishab and he gave the green signal. We have had his 100 per cent ever since he said 'yes' and he has been there throughout, including now during the promotions,” explains Jayatheertha, who finalised the rest of the cast — Hariprriya, Pramod Shetty, Yogaraj Bhat and Shivamani — once he had a bound script.
Despite the incident having taken place over a decade ago, the story, he tells us, is relevant to this day. “There are so many incidents of robbery reported to this day. The only difference these days is that the kind of crimes have changed owing to upgraded technology. However, even with all of that, police still watch a criminal’s eye and hand movements, an ancient method, to nab thieves,” he says.
Jayatheertha, along with Pragathi Shetty, Rishab’s wife, who designed the costumes for the lead actors, took pains to ensure that the cast got the right look. “We also took our time on the locations to ensure that everything matched. Finding a village with a retro backdrop was easy, but not a town with a similar backdrop. Just by chance, my assistant director, who stays in Jog Falls, invited me for dinner, and while travelling to his house, I came across a small place, which more or less worked for my story. We also shot at a few places in Udupi. We’ve made sure that every frame is authentic,” he says about the film, which has dialogues by Raghu Niduvalli, music by Ajaneesh Loknath, and cinematography by Aravind Kashyap.