October 21, 2021

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Kiccha: It’s survival of fittest post-COVID

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, Kiccha: It’s survival of fittest post-COVID, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
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, Kiccha: It’s survival of fittest post-COVID, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

It’s been a while since fans have seen Kiccha Sudeep on screen and the wait for Kotigobba 3 has been even longer due to the pandemic. The film is finally set for a Dasara release. We caught up with the actor over a video interview and he was at his candid best. Excerpts…
You’re taking the Kotigobba franchise forward. What are your thoughts?
Any extension of a franchise means that it has been a successful one. Any actor in my place will feel good. A new film is a new film, but not in the case of a franchise. So, there are a lot of happy people involved.

Director Shivakarthik said that it was your basic idea upon which the film was conceived…
We were thinking about what to do and I had this thought. It excited us. When we were looking for a director, KS Ravikumar was a little tied up. We had met a budding director in Karthik. There was something about him that made me think he could helm this film, as his narrative style for the subject ensured he had our confidence.
The trailer shows some high-octane stunts and visuals, something unlike what you have been seen in previously…
It is what I do, but I guess it is a little more elaborate than what I have done previously. I like doing subtle things, I have a lifestyle that’s quite subtle, so even my screen presence speaks subtlety. This probably makes it look elaborate. Eventually, it is the perspective of a director and I guess he’s a commercial man. If we pick up a film like Vikrant Rona or Eega or Huccha or Kotigobba, each has a different approach. It has to be delivered in that particular way. This was what Kotigobba demanded as the filmmaker has commercial sensibilities and it is his film eventually.

The film has your friend Aftab Shivdasani making his debut in Kannada…
Aftab is someone I adore, a really sweet guy. When this thought of casting him came up, I called him to get his perspective even before suggesting his name. And he was very happy to come and make his debut in the South. Now, I am glad that everything worked out and it is refreshing to see him there. I look at it as a fraternity getting together rather than as a scarcity, that we didn’t have people here. We are people who have introduced new people. If I hadn’t had the guts back then, Arjun Janya wouldn’t be there, nor would P Ravi Shankar or Harsha and many more. Today, with Vikrant Rona, I have carried the film on my shoulders, everyone is local and new. So, I don’t think the casting of some like Madonna Sebastian should raise questions. I feel it is a question of why not, instead of why.

We talk about Pan Indian culture today, but you worked across industries way before this…
This pan India thing is just a word to define or differentiate ourselves from other actors to feel better. I guess long back in the 60s and 70s, when people hardly knew Chinese, films from there made a mark worldwide. If we look closely, people could connect to the story and the storyteller. It was dubbed in English. It was just the ambition to tell the story to a pan audience. I don’t look at myself as a pan Indian star, but as a storyteller whose stories all of India would like to see. I feel more confident tell my stories. Other than that, I don’t use it to define myself or to describe myself.

The other thing being discussed is the changing face of the film industry and showbiz over the past year-and-a-half. What is your take?
Change is inevitable and it is a challenge for people. Earlier, we just had theatres and no satellite and everyone survived. Then came satellite as a medium, a luxury added. We started growing and we also started getting accustomed to all these luxuries of life.
I look at it this way, when I began telling stories in the beginning, I was so happy to get Menaka theatre for Huccha. Then, we began getting bigger theatres and eventually landed in multiplexes. Today, I am glad that people watch it on television at least. When a recent Hindi film was released digitally and I saw my watchman seeing it on his phone, it scared me. From the big screen to a phone, imagine the shift. Imagine the CG work which will look wasted there. But I look at it this way, I am glad they watch it.
When COVID came, forget films, surviving was a challenge. We faced it. We need to take it as a challenge and conquer it. It is the survival of the fittest and smartest. Those who crib and crawl will be cribbing and crawling for the rest of their lives. We all want to tell stories eventually, how one watches is left to them.

, Kiccha: It’s survival of fittest post-COVID, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

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Talking of survival of the fittest, you spoke about your COVID ordeal for the first time recently…

The energy we feel is different. But we have to accept and cope. Where we could do 100 reps, we just do 60 to 70 today. It isn’t a great feeling. I watch those weights and the equipment, but I am unable to do it. Once one has gone through COVID, it will take time to bounce back, we need to have patience. But I am glad that we made it. We will get there hopefully, in a better way.

Former Kannada actress Ramya recently said you are the Benjamin Button of Kannada cinema after seeing the Kotigobba 3 trailer. You are getting fitter, more agile and younger with each film. What keeps you going?
She didn’t look at me and tweet about me for a very long time, so I guess she thought I was old. It is time to prove what I am, though (laughs). It is very sweet of her to do that. I guess there is no alternative to remaining young. One can look old even at 30. What motivates me is when I see certain actors working out and looking fit even at 56-57. I question why we are ageing faster. This is my only asset and investment, so it takes a little effort to say no to luxuries, so that you can enjoy a better life for a longer time.

We now have 100 per cent occupancy in cinema halls and there are great expectations from your film…
100 per cent occupancy will not give me 100 per cent collections. There are a lot of people who have suffered during COVID and don’t have money. It all boils down to a couple of days of collections. But there are equities, like satellite rights and OTT platforms, which help us break even. But a lot of the middle class and lower middle class people have been affected and it will take a while to return to their normal.
For example, if someone from a lower middle class background is staying in Rajajinagar in Bengaluru and wants to go Prasanna or Veeresh theatre with three others, bare minimum expenses would be Rs 500. For the upper middle class, it would mean a bare minimum of Rs 1,000. For them, a saving of Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 is quite a lot. People have lost jobs. So, the latter half of the first week crowd, second and third week crowd are suffering. It will take some time. We owe a couple of days’ collections to our friend following who will barge into cinema halls at any cost and prove our experience is still valuable.
Apart from that, we all have set forth on a new journey now. We know that this flight is going to take off. As for the destination or the turbulence, it is unclear. But we are taking chances, we have films starting. At the end of the day, we have to do what we all need to do, hoping for the best. And the best is in our own hands. We have to be smart in storytelling.

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