‘Kaatera’ success meant more to me than winning an Oscar, says Challenging Star Darshan

Darshan-starrer 'Kaatera', based on a real-life incident, has been doing wonders at the box office since its release on 29 December.

ByShashiprasad S M

Published Jan 02, 2024 | 2:26 PMUpdatedJan 02, 2024 | 2:26 PM

Darshan at the Kaatera success meet

Challenging Star Darshan aka “Box-office Sultan” of the Kannada film industry is basking in the success of his latest release Kaatera.

Though Rockline Venkatesh — who bankrolled Kaatera under his banner Rockline Entertainments Pvt Ltd — is tight-lipped like always about the actual numbers in terms of box-office collections, the trade pundits declared that the Kannada film collected at least ₹50 crore since its release on 29 December.

Set in the 1970s, Kaatera talks about the plight of farmers when the then government enforced the law which declared “tillers of the lands as owners”.

Beyond its commercial success, Kaatera is in the limelight for its content and Darshan’s outstanding performance.

More than winning an Oscar: Darshan

Darshan adressing the media

Darshan addressing the media. (Supplied)

When film critics praised Darshan for his performance in Kaatera, citing it as his best in recent times and deserves recognition with a National Award, the Challenging Star had a different take on it altogether.

While addressing the media at Kaatera success meet on 1 January, Darshan said, “I do commercial movies with the sole intention of entertaining the audience. For me, the success of Kaatera is more than winning an Oscar. If I had the intention of winning awards for acting, I would have chosen non-commercial films where there is ample space for showcasing one’s talent.”

Darshan revealed that he asked Master Rohith, who appeared in Kaatera, to show him the medal he won for “Ondalla Eradalla” in the Best Child Artist category at the 66th National Film Awards.

The actor wanted to see what the medal looked like. This sparked the question as to whether Darshan was aiming at bagging one for himself through his performance in Kaatera!

Why no pan-Indian release for Kaatera?

Team Kaatera

Team ‘Kaatera’. (Supplied)

Despite a universal subject such as the farmer’s issue, which can easily connect with the pan-Indian audience, Kaatera makers chose to release it only in Kannada. Well, this is very unlike the majority of star actors’ ventures being made and released in multiple languages.

Producer Rockline Venkatesh replied that they are planning to release the dubbed version of Kaatera in Telugu and Tamil in future.

However, Darshan explained why he prefers making films in Kannada alone. “For example, a farmer from the Punjab region has a different attire and customs. In the case of a pan-India project, it isn’t easy to justify a story, especially the representation of it in such circumstances. While attempting to justice the differences, there are chances of the soul and essence of the script getting lost.”

Even Kaatera director Tharun Kishore echoed. He observed that unless a subject was unique and native to the land of its origin, the pan-Indian audience would not want to watch it in their language.

“Why would an audience want to watch a movie made in another state that is based on a theme which is much part of their culture? Wouldn’t they wish that their filmmakers showcase the same who have more knowledge and understanding of it,” Tharun questioned.

Also Read: Kaatera review: Darshan as the Kannada star actor returns in full glory

‘Don’t compare with Dr Rajkumar’

Darshan’s performance in Kaatera, especially the monologue scene where the Challenging Star is seen performing the mythological character of Hiranyakashipu in the film, has led to a few drawing comparisons with Kannada thespian Dr Rajkumar’s Hiranyakashipu role in Bhakta Prahlada (1983).

When mentioned about the same, Darshan requested everyone not to draw any comparison with the greatest actor the Kannada film industry has ever seen.

“Do not compare my acting with that of the great Dr Rajkumar sir. I’m not even equal to the dust of his feet. Yes, one can try and attempt his standard of performance but no one can be equal to him by even 0.000001 percent,” he added.

Related: ‘Kaatera’ pre-release event held in Mandya on National Farmer’s Day 

Overseas release

Team Kaatera at the success party

Team ‘Kaatera’ at the success party. (Supplied)

Regarding the overseas release of Kaatera, the makers revealed that the film will soon enthral the Kannada audience in the Gulf, Europe, Canada and the United States.

The overseas distributors of the film arranged a special screening of Kaatera in Dubai on 7 January. Darshan and his team are expected to attend the screening.

According to the distributors, Kaatera will be released in Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman on 4 January and in the United Arab Emirates on 5 January.

Since censorship and subtitles in Arabic are mandatory in these regions, the distributors are busy getting the formalities done.

In Europe and the US, the long vacations post-Christmas have slightly delayed the release of the flick. However, the distributors are confident that Kaatera will be released on 5 January.

When asked what are major aspects for him while choosing his projects, Darshan replied that he listens to stories as he listens to a fairytale.

He signed off saying that he looks for three things before taking up a project — the film should not show women in a bad light or disrespect them in any manner; it should not undermine the land, language, and customs; and it should fetch good returns to the producer.

Related: Indira Gandhi’s land reform ’Tiller is the owner’ inspires ‘Kaatera’