Rakshit Shetty is an Indian actor, film producer, writer, and filmmaker who works in Kannada cinema. He is a recipient of one National Film Award, two Filmfare Awards South, two Karnataka State Film Awards and five SIIMA Awards. His breakthrough role came in the film Ulidavaru Kandanthe (2014) in which he played Richard Anthony aka “Richi.” He is also known for playing the lead roles in the Kannada films Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu (2015), Kirik Party (2016), Avane Srimannarayana (2019), and 777 Charlie (2021). He runs his own production and distribution company named Paramvah Studios.
Rakshit Shetty was born on Monday, 6 June 1983 (age 40 years; as of 2023) in Mangaluru, Karnataka. His zodiac sign is Gemini.
Since childhood, he wanted to be an actor. His passion was fueled by his brother who bought film magazines and told him stories of actors, like how they get to wear several designer outfits during a song sequence, which they sometimes took home. As a kid, Rakshit had a fondness for dressing up, and the concept of bringing home an entire collection of clothes fascinated him. Rakshit studied at Mukunda Kripa School in Udupi until the seventh grade, and his education strongly emphasized culture and heritage. He first took to the stage to participate in a school play when he was in third standard, along with his elder sister. Growing up, he also loved writing plays, directing them, and making his friends act in them. He grew up in an extended family and often visited both his paternal and maternal grandmothers since they lived nearby. Recalling his childhood, in an interview, he said,
My siblings and I used to walk to their houses. The journey was picturesque. We would pick berries on the way. Festivals were a treat, and summer vacations meant the entire family from across the country would come together.”
Rakshit’s maternal uncle Prakash was into theatre and wanted to pursue a career in films. Prakash and Rakshit’s mother would make him participate in various competitions, like fancy dress, in Udupi and Mangaluru while growing up. Later, he moved to an English-medium high school. He pursued his Pre-University course at MGM College, Kunjibettu, Udupi. His favourite subjects were Maths and physics. Therefore, he pursued a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communications engineering from N.M.A.M. Institute of Technology, Nitte, Karkala. At college, he was a day scholar for a few days before moving into a hostel. A mischievous student, Rakshit often landed himself in trouble, but since he was the batch representative during his first year, he enjoyed privileges that other students didn’t. Although he did not pursue a certified course in filmmaking, he read a lot about scriptwriting, studied various filmmakers, and watched their interviews to learn the art. He passionately followed the works of directors like Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Shankar Nag, and Anurag Kashyap.
Height (approx.): 5′ 10″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Family & Caste
He belongs to a Tulu-speaking Bunt family.
Parents & Siblings
His father, Shridhar Shetty, was a civil contractor. His mother’s name is Ranjini Shetty. He has a brother, Ranjit Shetty, and an elder sister, Rashmith.
Wife & Children
He is unmarried
On 3 July 2017, Rakshit Shetty got engaged to actress Rashmika Mandanna in a private ceremony in her hometown of Virajpet, Karnataka. The two started dating during the making of Kirik Party (2016). However, the couple parted ways, breaking off their engagement in September 2018. It was reported that they faced compatibility issues.
Rakshit Shetty follows Hinduism. He is an avid follower of the Hindu goddess Mookambika.
In 2006, after completing his graduation, he worked as an IT professional in Bengaluru for two years before venturing into the entertainment industry. Simultaneously, he started making short films and interacting with filmmakers and theatre artists. Eventually, he got into filmmaking and acting.
As an Actor
Rakshit Shetty ventured into Kannada cinema with the romantic drama film Nam Areal Ond Dina (2010) in which he played the parallel lead, Aravind.
He came into the limelight with the superhit Kannada romantic comedy film Simple Agi Ondh Love Story (2013) in which he played the lead role of Kushal. The critically acclaimed film turned out to be a major box-office success.
He played the role of an angry young man named Raaghu in the film Tuglak (2012). In 2014, he rose to popularity with the neo-noir gangster film Ulidavaru Kandanthe in which he played the role of Richard Anthony aka “Richi.” The film was also written and directed by Rakshit Shetty. It is the first film in Kannada to be shot entirely in sync with sound technology. Dubbed as a cult classic, the film was praised for its representation of Tulu Nadu and its people.
In 2015, Shetty appeared in the satirical comedy film Vaastu Prakaara in which he played a con artist named Kubera who sells the idea of vastu. Another prominent film of his career was Kirik Party (2016) in which he played the role of a mischievous engineering student named Karna.
He gained immense appreciation for playing the title role in the romantic thriller film Ricky (2016). In the 2016 film Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu, Shetty played the role of Shiva V. Rao, the career-driven son of Alzheimer patient Venkob Rao. The film revolves around Shiva pausing his hectic life to search for his father who goes missing.
In 2019, he played the lead role of Inspector Narayana in the western fantasy adventure comedy film Avane Srimannarayana.
In 2022, he appeared in the adventure drama film 777 Charlie as Dharmaraj Dattana or Dharma, a loner whose perspective towards life changes when a pup named Charlie enters his life. The shooting process of this film took more than five years.
In 2023, he starred in and produced the romantic drama film series Sapta Saagaradaache Ello. In the film series, Shetty played the role of Manu who falls in love with Priya, both hailing from a middle-class background. As the story unfolds, circumstances land Manu in jail and put their relationship in trouble.
As a Filmmaker
While talking about the onset of his journey as a filmmaker, in an interview, he said,
I started writing and directing because I wanted to be an actor. When I came into the industry, the kind of films being churned out were definitely not what I wanted to be a part of. I wanted to make films that I would be proud of 20 years down the line. That was the idea with which I got into filmmaking.”
He started making short films when he was working in the IT industry, dabbling with the camera and borrowing money from friends for production. He was making a film called Confessions of a Dustbin when he was offered to act in the film Simple Agi Ondh Love Story (2013) following which short films took a back seat. After that, he made his directorial debut with Ulidavaru Kandanthe (2014), which earned him the Karnataka State Award for Best Debutant Director and Filmfare Awards South in the Best Film category.
He wrote the script for Ulidavaru Kandanthe even before Confessions of a Dustbin, but he kept it aside. However, when Suvin Cinemas came forward to produce the film, Shetty went ahead with it. He wrote and produced the western fantasy adventure comedy film Avane Srimannarayana (2019). Other Kannada films he produced include Bheemasena Nalamaharaja (2020), Sakutumba Sametha (2022), and Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare (2022).
Sued Under the Copyright Act
In 2017, Lahari Recording Company filed a complaint under the Copyright Act against Paramvah Studios Pvt Ltd, Rakshit Shetty, and Ajaneesh Loknath. The case was brought against Shetty and Loknath for allegedly using a song from ‘Shanti Kranti’ without permission.The case was related to a song in the film Kirik Party (2016) titled ‘Hey Who Are You’, which Lahari Recording Company claims is allegedly a copy of the song ‘Madhyarathrili’ from the film Shanthi Kranthi, which was released in 1992 and was composed by Hamsalekha. Lahari Recording Company asserted that they held the original copyrights for the song and claimed that the same song was reused in the film Kirik Party without obtaining any consent. In 2020, the 9th ACMM court issued a non-bailable warrant against them after Shetty and Loknath didn’t appear in the court for any of the previous hearings. Thereafter, Rakshit took to Twitter to clear the air surrounding the issue and said that he had already won the case in the previous year and even received back the security deposit of 10 lakhs from the court. He tweeted,
We have won the case in Civil court and the High court. What’s the point in filing another case on the same issue? Also the second case was filed six months back but none of us, including our lawyers, were informed regarding the same. Why (sic).”
- Karnataka State Film Award for Director’s First Time Best Film for Ulidavaru Kandanthe (2014)
- Filmfare Award for Best Director – Kannada for Ulidavaru Kandanthe (2015)
- Behindwoods Gold Medal for Best Filmmaker Kannada for Ulidavaru Kandanthe (2015)
- KAFTA Awards for Best Lyrics for Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu (2017)
- IIFA Utsavam Award for Performance In A Supporting Role – Male for Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu (2017)
- IIFA Utsavam Award for Best Lyrics for Kirik Party (2017)
- IIFA Utsavam Award for Best Film for Kirik Party (2017)
- IIFA Utsavam Award for Performance In A Leading Role – Male for Kirik Party (2017)
- Karnataka State Film Award for Best Family Entertainer for Kirik Party (2017)
- Filmfare Award for Best Actor: Critics for Kirik Party (2017)
- South Indian International Movie Awards for Best Film for Kirik Party (2017)
- South Indian International Movie Awards for Entertainer of the Year for Kirik Party (2017)
- South Indian International Movie Awards in the category of Best Actor: Critics for Avane Srimannarayana (2020)
- National Film Award for Best Regional Film Award- Kannada for 777 Charlie (2022)
- South Indian International Movie Award for Best Feature Film for 777 Charlie (2022)
- South Indian International Movie Award for Special Award – Best Actor for 777 Charlie (2022)
- Pioneering Contribution in New Wave Cinema Award at OTTPlay Awards 2023 for 777 Charlie (2021) and Sapta Sagaradaache Ello (2023)
In 2021, he bought an Audi Q8.
- Director(s): Quentin Tarantino, Puttanna Kanagal, Shankar Nag
- Actor(s): Rajkumar, Anant Nag
- Shetty is also known as the ‘Simple Star’ of Sandalwood.
- In an interview, Rakshit revealed that he had some quirky beliefs. He said that he liked the number six the most and thought that numbers that are multiples of three bring him good luck. Furthermore, he added,
However you add up my date of birth (June 6, 1983), the result is either three, six or nine…The attraction towards these numbers is more psychological. I haven’t asked for special numbers for my car or phone, but when I was presented the options, I chose those that added up to a multiple of three. I even keep the stereo volume and air conditioner temperature in my car at, say, 21 or 24 — multiples of three”
Rakshit has been practising this habit since childhood. As a young boy, the actor used to count the bites it took to consume items like a bun and aimed to finish in six or nine bites (which are multiples of three). Rakshit believes that this behaviour stemmed from a desire to keep his active mind engaged.
- Rakshit also has a ‘book of dreams’ and believes that whatever he records in it will eventually come true.
- In 2019, he took part in the Bunts Premiere League (BPL) at Sahyadri College of Engineering and Management ground at Adyar, Mangaluru.
- In 2021, various Sandalwood actors and native Tulu speakers like Pruthvi Ambaar and Rakshit Shetty took to social media to expedite the need to include Tulu in the list of official Indian languages. He posted a tweet, which read,
The dance, speech and rituals of the Tulu people are part of the cultural pride of Karnataka. Let us all be united in this effort to give due respect to Tulu. May this long-standing request be accepted. Let Tulu language be official.”
- The characters in the film Ulidavaru Kandanthe (2014) were based on the things he had seen as a child. Even the character he played in the film, Richie, was based on someone he knew. In an interview, he said,
I had also heard legendary underworld stories. It is a known fact that Upudi and Mangaluru are connected with the underworld. I blended all those narrations and experiences and created characters for Ulidavarau…”
- While talking about his favourite director Quentin Tarantino, in an interview, Shetty said,
If you watch Tarantino’s films, you can learn a lot. Like in his Pulp Fiction , there is a scene which I still remember — a character opens a briefcase and just light comes out of it. Tarantino never shows what’s in there and leaves the interpretation to the audience. That somehow stuck in my head.”
- In an interview, he said was a non-smoker but had smoked a cigarette and cigar to shoot various films scenes.
- He occasionally enjoys alcoholic beverages.