2023 will culminate on a grand note for the Kannada film industry and 2024 will start with a bang as Challenging Star Darshan’s much-anticipated film, Kaatera, is set for release on December 29. An official announcement was shared by Rockline Entertainment, along with actor Darshan and director Tharun Kishore Sudhir, across multiple social platforms, inviting the audience to brace themselves for a spectacular celebration. Producer Rockline Venkatesh, speaking to CE, mentioned that their initial plan was for a Dasara release, which was later shifted to Deepavali. However, due to extensive technical work demanding quality attention, the date was pushed further.

“Considering all aspects synchronise, we’ve now finalised the year-end as the release date, spilling the gala over into 2024,” says the producer.

Notably, significant Kannada releases like Mungaru Male and Kirik Party got a year-end release and went on to become blockbusters. “Despite sentimental attachments to this date, we deemed it to be the perfect timing and are geared up for a theatrical release,” Venkatesh states, preparing for an audio release and subsequent promotions leading up to the release date.

Rockline Venkatesh, one of the first viewers of Kaatera, expresses contentment with the film’s output, stating, “The team has given their best, presenting a different genre. This action-packed entertainer with substance will be a big film for the Kannada audience.” Rockline Venkatesh intends for a Kannada release initially, citing challenges in focusing on multi-lingual release. “We plan to concentrate on a Kannada release first and address other languages upon demand,” he mentions.

Director Tharun Sudhir, having completed the film’s shooting, with the last shoot taking place on Wednesday, has simultaneously completed the post-production work alongside the VFX and recording, and is now anticipating the final copy. Commencing shooting in April and intensifying in October 2022, the film is now poised for a December release. The story, penned by Jadesha K Hampi and Tharun Sudhir, initially created a buzz with an intriguing image featuring a dog leading sheep, captioned ‘It’s the leader’s duty to guide the followers.’ Darshan’s first look, portraying him in a rugged appearance with a blood-stained machete, added to the anticipation.

Kaatera, signifies strength drawn from a goddess’s name, and the film is reportedly made based on a real incident in a 1970s Karnataka village.

“This marks a departure from my previous flick, Roberrt, presenting a new genre for me and the entire team,” says Tharun, adding, “It involved extensive research and understanding of the 1970s period, presenting a challenging subject.”

Tharun says the decision to release the film on this date was collective, considering the long weekend and the celebratory aura of the approaching New Year. “Cinema is also a celebration,” he says.

Kaatera will mark Darshan’s 56th film, following Kranti. The actor and director previously collaborated in Chowka where Darshan made a cameo and Roberrt. The film has dialogues by Maasthi, cinematography by Sudhakar S Raj and music scored by V Harikrishna.

Kaatera features an intriguing star cast with Aaradhana, daughter of Malashree, making her debut alongside Darshan. It also stars Jagapathi Babu, Vinod Alva, and Kumar Govind in pivotal roles.