BANGALORE: Bangalorean filmmaker M S Prakash Babu's Kannada feature film Attihannu Mattu Kanaja (Fig Fruit and the Wasps) was screened at the Mumbai Film Festival which concluded on Sunday.
The 90-minute film is woven around a documentary filmmaker who goes in search of a musician for a project on instrumental music. She reaches a remote village and tries to get things moving, but time and space behave unpredictably.
The film tries to capture what happens when humans are placed in a situation that is familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.
In 2013, Prakash Babu's work caught the attention of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) at the Work in Progress Lab, a platform that gives filmmakers a chance to have their rough-cut feature-length films viewed by eminent advisers. The corporation also stepped in when the director was facing a financial crunch, and later co-produced it.
"Attihannu was among the five projects selected for screening at the Film Bazaar. I had four mentors there. They recommended my film and gave it the support for the post-production,” Prakash Babu told City Express from Mumbai.
Prakash Babu has now been approached to screen his film at the Bangalore International Film Festival in December, and hopes to take it to the Kerala Film Festival as well. "That is one of the most sought-after film festivals in the country," he said.
The director of the Cannes Film Festival sent him an appreciative email, saying it reminded her of the Iranian master Kiarostami. “Unfortunately, we could not complete it before the Cannes deadline," he said.
Prakash Babu, who is also a painter and newspaper illustrator, has been a part of the Bangalore Film Society for over 20 years. "I started making films 12 years ago and have made five short films,” he said.
His role models are Ritwik Ghatak, Andrei Tarkovsky, Yasujiro Ozu and Robert Bresson
Babu did have difficulties finding the right technicians. "Making a film of international standards is not easy. I couldn't convince a few technicians because they are used to a certain formula of filmmaking. Most of the times our viewpoints clashed," he says. Fortunately, he had cinematographer N S Ramachandra by his side, who understood his views.
Ask Babu as to how he plans to reach the audience with his kind of films and he says, “I have not even thought about the future of the film. I want to take it as it comes. Kuvempu did not write Ramayana Darshanam thinking who his readers would be. Neither did Tolstoy.”
Babu has two projects in mind. "An article written by a columnist in Prajavani caught my attention recently. I plan to make a film around that topic. I also want to make a film on Tejaswi Poornachandra, Kuvempu's son," he says.
As of now, NFDC is keen to release his film in theatres. “They will be tying up with PVR cinemas and the film will be out in multiplexes soon," he says.
‘He wanted me to be natural’
Babu’s wife Bhavani Prakash is the main protagonist as well as the co-producer of the film. On casting her, he says, "When I was working on the script, I kept her in mind, her attitude and mannerisms.” His wife says, “He knew I could act as I have done a course from Ninasam and have also experimented with theatre. He wanted me to be very natural and I followed his instructions sincerely. The whole process of making the film was beautiful."
Babu has been receiving positive reviews from |all sides. According to him, Girish Kasavaralli told him that the film has broken stereotypes. “Filmmaker Deepa Dhanraj told me that after a long time she watched a good Kannada film. Even UR Ananthamurthy watched the film and appreciated it," he says.