"Where are we heading with our relationships?" is a question that has occupied Rohit Padaki's mind since the pandemic hit. His upcoming Kannada film, Rathnan Prapancha tries to answer just that. In this film, the writer-director reflects on how new ways of online communication changes relationships and values using the protagonist's journey as its lens. "I sit with my wife and many times we message each other and forget talking," he says and that is precisely what led him to make Rathnan Prapancha. The film brings back conversation and makes the audience reflect on familial roots.
While writing the film, he drew from his own life to build the protagonist's story. He says "I live a very ordinary middle-class life. There are not many celebrations. We go to work, come back home, speak to our parents and family, and continue a mundane life everyday. But what if something extraordinary happened in this life?" He says that he made this film with a deliberate hint of nostalgia. "What if I re-introduce relations to me and we converse in the old-fashioned way?" he asks.
As the title suggests, the film is set in Rathnan's world but it's not his story alone. "The characters and stories are many but they all connect back to him. Rathnan emerges as a different person because of the situations he goes through with the many characters." he says. When asked if this film also had an anthology-like narrative such as his previous film, Dayavittu Gamanisi, he says "This film doesn't require it and is pretty straightforward".
Speaking of balancing the conventional with the modern, the director says, "values will never change. It was the same when Shakespeare wrote plays, the same when we started making films and the same remains even today." He refers to Arishadvarga, the six enemies of the mind – kama (lust), krodha (anger), moha (attachment), lobha (greed), mada (pride) and matsarya (jealousy), to say that the basics never change.
The film stars Dhananjay and Reba Monica John in the lead. In supporting roles are a big group of recognisable actors like Umashri, Ravishankar Gowda, Shruti, Anu Prabhakar, Achyuth Kumar, Pramod Manju, Rajesh Nataranga and Vainidhi Jagdish. On making casting decisions, the director says "We didn't want to cast someone who just looked the part but also had the experience we're presenting. The cast has truly given life to the characters."
With music directed by B. Ajaneesh Loknath and cinematography by Shreesha Kuduvalli, the film also aims to refresh the style of filmmaking among Kannada films. The director said it is possible to do this today because we are in a time when even big production houses are ready to collaborate with young filmmakers. He says, with much hope, "There are only good times ahead for Kannada cinema".
So, what can the audience expect from Rathnan Prapancha? The director says "They can expect a lot of emotions. They will laugh, they will cry and more so be surprised at many things. It is a rollercoaster of emotions."
Rathnan Prapancha will stream on Amazon Prime Video from the 22nd of October 2021.