Kannada audiences always love a good love story. However, recent trends in the industry have been leaning more towards escapist and action-oriented cinema. At a time when there are some concerns about whether romantic drama would make for profitable outings, director Hemanth Rao and team have made their grand entry with an intense love story, Saptha Sagaradaache Ello, the first part of the duology which is now running in theatres. Centred around a young couple Manu and Priya, the film traces how an unpleasant event turns their lives upside down.
“Love is something that is aspirational,” says Rao when asked about the team’s experience with love. “When you are growing up, nobody educates you on how to find a partner. They teach us about other aspects of life like finding a job and making money but nobody tells us that we have to find a good partner. Everyone just naturally assumes that we will understand it along the way.”
Actor Rakshit Shetty plays Manu in SSE and his first collaboration with Rao dates back to 2016 when they worked on Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu, which was also the director’s debut. They have worked in other capacities as well like when the duo collaborated as producers for Humble Politician Nograj (2018) and Bheemasena Nalamaharaja (2020). They too seem to have a chemistry that makes them want to keep working with each other.
“I told him during GBSM that, ‘Dude, you are fixed for me’,” says Hemanth Rao, “Now, after working with Rukmini, I want to work with both of them in all my films. I just have to figure out the rest of the cast. Interestingly, when I was writing Kavaludaari (2019), I had Rakshit in mind. Actually, he is the first actor I think of whenever I write a character. But because of dates, it didn’t work out. But, when I met Rishi for the film, I fell in love with him also. So, it went his way.”
The title, Sapta Sagaradaache Ello, was borrowed from a poem by prominent poet Gopalkrishna Adiga, which was adapted into a song called ‘Yava Mohana Murali’, which is an intense love song. As the makers revealed more information, SSE was clearly promoted as an intense brooding love story. When the film was released, apart from its obvious intensity, what was left in the minds of the audience were the soft moments of love between the lead pair Rakshit Shetty and Rukmini Vasanth.
“I see love in the smallest of things,” says Rukmini when asked what defines love for her. “Apart from romantic love, I view it as care and support. It may sound so strange when I tell you but while I was on the way, I saw that there was a dog sleeping in front of a shop. I saw a person gently crossing over the dog without waking it up. Love can be found in such a sense of care where you go out of your way to keep someone safe and happy.”
Side B of Sapta Sagaradaache Ello is slated to be released on October 20, 2023, and is touted to be an even more intense ending to the saga. Side A too sticks to its promise of being an intense love story where the lead pair go through an emotional turmoil that is caused by people in power, society and their own insecurities, leaving viewers teary-eyed.
Hemanth Rao says, “Being in love requires you to be vulnerable. It demands that you be open to pain. That is a very different thing for many people. You see these lines written behind these autos, right? It is written by someone who has lost a lot in love. So, you want to close that part of your life and you develop various ways of coping with that pain and reject that vulnerability. The film deals with all of those emotions.”
Rakshit Shetty only quips, “It is always better to cry at someone else’s love story.”