Showing posts from 2006

My Experiments with an Alternate Screening System

At 1.00 A.M this morning, I had one of the strangest screenings in my life. An audience of around 650 Tulu speaking hotel laborers watched my Tulu digital feature film, SUDDHA (The Cleansing Rites) at the Vishweshwaraiya Auditorium, Matunga run by the Karnataka Sangha, Mumbai. Karnataka Sangha is one of the premium Kannada organizations culturally active in Mumbai. Mumbai, as many of you are aware, is the home for ‘Udupi Hotels’ – eateries that provide cheap and affordable food stuff to the city’s population. Most of the management staff as well as the labor force in these hotels are migrants from the Tulu speaking coastal belt of Karnataka. Over the years many of these hotels have graduated to being Beer Bars and are often kept open, till late in the night. The Karnataka Sangha, apart from being responsible for thought provoking programs relating to music, literature and theater, also caters to the entertainment needs of these migrant hotel workers, by letting out its premises to e

Arwel, Media and HIV-AIDS at Shimla

Recently, I had the fortune of attending an electronic media workshop held in Shimla. It was conducted by the Cardiff based Thomson Foundation as a part of the European Union–India Media Initiative on HIV-AIDS. The workshop director was the inspirational Arwel Ellis Owen, also from Cardiff , UK . Arwel is the chairman of the British Academy of Film and TV Arts in Whales and in his distinguished career spanning over many decades, he was also the program head of the BBC in Northern Ireland . There were eight participants in this workshop – people ranging from TV news reporters and news editors, radio programmers, documentary filmmakers and graphic artists. During this workshop, we had a chance to reflect upon the kind of coverage the electronic media has been giving to the HIV-AIDS issue in India , which I must say is not encouraging. Around less than one present of our population is estimated to be having HIV, amounting to a very sizable number of around 5.7 milli

Making of a Digital Film - My Experience

Way back in 1991, after having graduated from the F.T.I.I., I shot a self-financed short film, in 16mm, called ‘The Hot Shot’. I had made the film the way I wanted to and with my own money. The film went to a couple of film festivals and nothing came out of it – except the fact that I had lost around 25,000/- in the making of the film. For the next twelve years I immersed myself into TV work and had almost forgotten what filmmaking is all about – till one fine morning I woke up with a realization that I had not done anything worthwhile in all these years. I had forgotten the very context that I had set on my own life! It was time to shake oneself out of one’s guts. It was in 2004 that I brought my digital video camera. Though the idea was to hire it out so that I repay back the loan that I had taken for its purchase, the other motivating factor was that I could make my own digital films. Initially, I decided to make some shorts. There was still no market for the short fiction film in

Kanaka Dasa, Jayamala and the cool dude with a long beard…

My home town Udupi, is one of the prominent pilgrim centers in Coastal Karnataka. Everyday thousands of tourists from all over India flock here to visit the Krishna Temple, whose idol – that of a standing Krishna holding a churning stick - was installed seven hundred years ago by the Brahmin saint and philosopher, Madvacharya – the doyen of Dwaitha or the Dualistic Philosophy. There are eight mutts or religious institutions here that manage this temple, taking turn once every two years. Needless to say, the atmosphere around these eight mutts fluctuates between the rigidly religious and the extreme orthodox. Over the years, many saint poets belonging to the Bakthi tradition have taken their faith, through their simple poems, to the masses. Such activities wee centered aound the Krishna Temple and its asthetic idol. Purandara Dasa and Kanaka Dasa were exemplary among such poets. Kanaka Dasa belonged to the lower caste. He is revered today, his songs officially sung inside t

Confessions of a die hard fan…

Like many others in this country, I too was appalled by the violence that shook the city of Bengaluru on the aftermath of the death of the Kannada actor, superstar and icon Dr. Rajkumar. Who and what caused this violence? Was it just an emotional reaction or did people with vested interests plan it all? These are questions whose answers are probably buried deep within the maze of files that dot Vidhana Saudha in Bengaluru. But the incident has triggered off certain memories that I had with the ‘legendary’ Dr. Rajkumar. I have never met Dr. Rajkumar in my life. Yet I was a die-hard fan of his. Historians in my family say that, as a tiny tot, one of the first films that I saw was in a make shift theater in Kundaapur. The film was ‘Emme Thammanna’ or ‘Buffalo Thammanna'. And guess who was the hero? Right, it was our own Annavaru (Elder Brother) or Dr. Rajkumar. Through my own little research later on in my life, I have gathered that the film was about a simpleton called Thammanna who