Director P Seshadri, the winner of highest number of National Awards for Kannada films, gets set for his ninth film. The film which is called Vidaaya (Farewell) deals with the rather serious ideas of death and human mortality.
Interestingly this is the fourth project of the director with producer Basant Kumar Patil. Seshadri, who has always taken up relevant social issues, this time around chooses to talk about euthanasia. As research for the film, he went through around eight to ten cases and also read up on various court proceedings for the last four months, before he finalised the script.
The director says that he thought of mercy killing as a subject as the issue has created a lot of debates in India as well as globally. "This year too on July 14, the Supreme Court had raised a debate about passive euthanasia when a case was filed by a journalist and activist, Pinky Virani, for Aruna Shanbaug.
Shanbaug, who had been brutally raped in 1973, was reduced to a vegetative state due to the injuries rendered and has been in this state for the last 44 years. Her friend Pinky Virani's plea for euthanasia for Shanbaug was rejected numerous times.
"This case like many others is at was the centre of constant public debate and development about passive euthanasia. I felt that this was an interesting subject to handle," Seshadri explains. The director has drawn inspiration from such cases to develop his story for which he has roped in Suchendra Prasad and Lakshmi Gopalaswamy to play the leads. "The story is about a family comprising a husband and wife and their two children. Suchendra Prasad, the male protagonist, is a professional photographer and his wife Lakshmi is a bank employee. While on a family trip, they meet with an accident where the husband's spinal chord is damaged and he is confined to his bed for eight years. Slowly as his organs start failing, he is reduced to a vegetative state and whether or not he gets a mercy killing will be my story," he says.
Seshadri plans to kickstart Vidaaya's shoot from next week and has chosen Udupi and Bangalore as the main locations. "Forty per cent of the film will take place in Udupi and sixty per cent will be shot in Bangalore," he says.
The director thought that Lakshmi Gopalaswamy would fit the bill as the female lead. "Lakshmi has been a popular face in South Indian cinema. I was looking for a heroine of around 35 years and felt that she could carry off the role with some maturity," he says.
As for working with the same producer for the fourth time, Seshadri says, "It is Basant Kumar Patil who encourages directors like us to do meaningful cinema. He doesn't consider cinema as only business and his support has allowed us to do bring out some thought-provoking movies. This film skirts the controversial topic of euthanasia and will bring about a lot of discussion," he signs off.