MALLESWARAM: Debutant director Panchakshari showed his film Prakruti to the press and a galaxy of directors on Tuesday.
The film will be screened at the Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFes) under the Kannada competition section.
Telling a story about farmer Sankappayya (V Ashok Kumar) and his dysfunctional family, the director goes back to the days of the Quit India movement.
Panchakshari says the short story, just about 10 pages in length, provided him enough space to make a 114-minute film.
"There is a difference between adapting a novel and a short story. With a novel, you have every scene written by the writer, but with short stories the writer leaves us with clues," he told City Express.
With each line having many layers, the director says he had to pull out the best and develop it into a film. The film was a collective project with T Chandrika, who helped him develop the story.
Produced by S Lakshmi Devi and V Ashok Kumar, Prakriti gives us an idea of the leisurely pace of life in the hilly Malnad region during the 1930s.
"Finding the right locations was tougher than making this cinema. You can't easily see houses or structures we show in our film in Malnad today. The experience I gained while working with Girish Kasaravalli for his film Naayi Neralu or in his serial Griha Banga helped a lot," Panchakshari said.
A self-confessed introvert, Panchakshari is a degree holder in psychology.
The film focuses Sankappayya who is passionate about farming, and is determined to grow oranges in Malnad, where no one has tried it before. His family is sceptical about his dream. Sankappayya's son Narayan aka Nani is keen to explore the world beyond his father's land, and start a hotel in Shivamogga.
Another thread in the story is about Sankappayya's widowed daughter Lakshmi who grapples between her father's faith and her womanly desires. "I have tried to explore a human being as part of nature. While Sankappayya struggles to grow oranges, he doesn't understand his daughter, and thinks he can keep her happy with just a shelter, food and clothes," Panchakshari explained. He starts seeing goddess Durga in his widowed daughter.
The theme of Sankappayya's son going out to start something on his own is an everyday situation. There are people who want to leave Bengaluru to do well in USA. Likewise, people from the villages want to migrate to the city for a better life. Those who stick to their roots face many dilemmas, Panchakshari said.
"In the midst of all these circumstances, the orange flower blooms in the end, and nature with time is the best healer," he said.
The 37-year-old director doesn't believe that the popularity of the film depends on the number of people watching it. "Awards given to great novels are not based on their readership," he said. "I am confident my film definitely has its audience."
His association with Girish Kasaravalli and his team has influenced him greatly. "He did not just help me in filmmaking. The chats I have had with him and the journeys I have taken with him and his team have helped me," he said.
Panchakshari is looking at more stories. "I want to make another film by next December," he said.