BANGALORE: For the first time, Tulu cinema made its entry into the Bangalore International Film Festival (BIFFES) on Friday with the screening of ‘Gaggara,’ directed by Shivadhwaj Shetty. The film focuses on the dying folk art of ‘Kola’ practised in the coastal regions of Karnataka.
The art form is popularly known as ‘Bhoota Aradhane’ or ‘Bhoota Kola’, the Malnad version of Theyyam practised in Kerala. The film depicts the conflict between tradition and modernity in the context of Kola.
Shankara, played by Suchendra Prasad, is the son of a Kola performer.
A teacher in a government school, he is the face of modernity and is opposed to Kola ritual because of the hypocrisy of the society which shuns the Kola community (who are considered untouchables) till the time of Kola festival. His family is struggling to make ends meet and his father comes home drunk every time he gets money.
In order to keep the tradition alive, Shankara performs for the first time, and at last requests landlords to help his community have a decent livelihood. The Tulu film industry, which has produced about 30 films in the three decades, has a few accolades to its credits.
‘Gaggara’ won a National Award for the Best Regional Film.
The first film to be made in Tulu was ‘Enna Thangadi’, which was released in 1971. Usually these films are released in theatres across Tulu Nadu region and as DVDs. Tulu film ‘Suddha’ won the award for the Best Indian Film at the Osian Film Festival in New Delhi in 2006. ‘Oriyardori Asal’ released in 2011 is the most successful Tulu film till date.