BENGALURU: With the Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFES) set to kick off on Thursday, a film made by a director from the city, will be screened at the fest, and has also been nominated for an award. While the film has been made mostly with actors and technicians from the city, S P Raghu, the director, says being a resident of Mysuru made the process of filming much easier.
Raghu has been in Mysuru for one-and-a half years, and prior to that, worked for Mico Labs, a pharmaceutical firm in Congo, Africa. Owing to the amount of leisure time he had, he pursued his passion for making a film, and readied a basic script. And once he did that, he felt compelled to resign to start work on the film, and moved to Mysuru. Of course, before this moment of spontaneity, Raghu had been saving up for years to make a film, and he produced Pallata himself, with a little help from his brothers.
Most of the film’s actors, and members of the directorial team are from a theatre group in Mysuru, which was how Raghu preferred it. “It is a low-budget film and theatre actors and crew are more flexible to work with. During the shoot, we all stayed in villages at homes of the locals, which would have been tougher with film actors. And I also gelled with them better. I’ve always nurtured a passion for theatre and literature, and had written and directed plays in Bengaluru,” he says. The shoot’s location in Tiptur taluk is also Raghu’s home town. He roped in a few illustrious names for the film, such as wildlife photographer Lokesh Mosale for cinematography and National Award winner M N Swamy for editing.
The film’s central character, Yella, is the village drummer who beats drums whenever the situation calls for it, for example to announce something. All villagers would pay the drummers in kind with rice and millets. The profession used to be quite prevalent in villages of Karnataka until modernisation made them obsolete, which is what happens to Yella. His struggle to accept his fate is juxtaposed with the village’s modernisation and his relatively modern, college-going daughter’s dislike for his ‘profession,’ which she thinks is equivalent to begging. Raghu says the custom is still practised, albeit in a very few villages.
Anil Kumar played the role of the lead character, Yella in the film. This was his debut film and he haw acted in Kannada TV serials prior to this. He has mixed memories of the shoot. “I was suffering from jaundice at the time of the shoot But Raghu’s mother, who was at the location, nursed me back to health. I felt I was cared for very well,” he said.
On being asked about the film’s chances of winning the award - Raghu waived it off saying how every jury differs from one another. The film was also screened at a film festival in Delhi, and was much liked by the audience. “In August I had spoken about the film with literary figures in a film studio.
The film has been much discussed in literary circles and some universities have asked for screenings for students,” says Raghu. he is now working on another film, a bilingual, something more commercial, and is scouting hard for actors for the film.
Speaking about how being in Mysuru helped him to make the film, he says, “Things started moving very fast here. It’s easy to work here, there’s peace of mind, it’s easy to meet people for discussions, and many subject experts and artists from various fields are available.”