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Mane Number 13 Cast Joint Interview: Releasing a Horror Film in a Pandemic & Other Scary Things

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Three days before the Kannada horror film Mane Number 13‘s released, the lead cast sat down with Silverscreen India for a joint interview. Actors Varsha Bollamma, Sanjeev, Praveen Prem, Ramana, Aishwarya Gowda, Chethan Gandharva and Sathvika Appaiah talked about the film’s release during a pandemic, why the story appealed to them, and the experience of shooting in Shimoga.

Mane Number 13 has a familiar storyline – five friends (in this case, IT professionals) move into a new house and try to figure out if it is really haunted. The film completed its shoot in August last year, and was saved from the challenges of shooting during a pandemic.

Ramana, Varsha Bollamma, Aishwarya Gowda, Praveen Prem and Sanjiev as the five friends who enter Mane Number 13.

Watching horror on the small screen

Chetan, actor: The plan was to release it in theatres. Because of the pandemic, we had to get on OTT. In a way it is very good that it is playing on OTTs. And yet I would also wait for it to get released on the bigger screens. That is always a better experience than watching it on small screen. Horror movies have to be released in theatres. The sound effects will be good to hear.

Ramana, actor: Theatres are a different experience altogether. We can’t get that at home. Whatever we do and how much ever we try, we would not get the experience. The experience at home is just 20 percent of what we would get in a theatre. It would be hard to capture on a small screen. But the plot twists and turns will keep the audience engaged.

Appiah, actor: Given the situation, an OTT release is a positive because it reaches a much wider audience, Ramana and Chethan said the experience of watching a horror film in a theatre would be hard to capture on a small screen.

No stock characters

Praveen, actor: In some movies there will be characters for comedy and contrived situations like that will be happening. In this movie, everyone has equal importance and everyone has their own point to prove.

Chetan: The concept of the movie made it so interesting. When the director narrated the story to us, the character was so strong and had its own powerful impact. It would draw you in and it will make you sit and watch the character.

Ramana: The whole story is about what is happening inside this house. Is there a ghost or is it a psycho? What is the mystery behind it? What happens inside the house will keep the audience very interested.

Gowda, debutant actor: This would be my first movie to release and I am very choosy about what I want to do and the type of characters I want to play. That was the main reason I accepted this movie – the script and the knowledge director Vivy Kathiresan’s directorial had. It was his first film, but he knew what he wanted.

Shooting in a forest 

Ramana: When we are shooting for a horror movie, for the people who are acting, it is not scary. We know that there is no ghost and yet we need to be scared. It is not very scary for us. But sometimes the kind of silence that we heard in the [Shimoga] forest probably made us feel scared.

Mane Number 13 was shot in an isolated house surrounded by woods in Shimoga, Karnataka.

Appaiah, actor: My all-time favourite horror film is Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead. This movie reminded me a little of Mane Number 13 given the difficult situations we were in.

Ramana: Shooting in a compact place like a house, it is not easy to scare people. It all depends on what kind of shot you are doing and how you are composing it which makes a person feel fear. Every shot is very important for every horror movie, and has been for this movie.

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Speaking of their future plans, the cast seemed enthusiastic. Ramana, who is working on another project with Vivy Kathiresan, said “It is in pre-production stage. We would probably start the shoot of the movie towards the second half of December. It is not a horror film but it has got a different dimension to it. It is again a screenplay-based movie.”

Mane Number 13 released on Thursday on Amazon Prime Video.

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