BANGALORE: Bangalore has another feather in its cap. A film made by a director from namma city has travelled all the way to Cannes. What’s noteworthy here is that it was not filmed by a big-ticket production house but was made by a student of Suchitra Film Society as part of a course completion project on a skeletal budget.
On Wednesday, May 14, engineer and film enthusiast Gagan Bhandar’s 23 minute film, Sankshypth was screened at Cannes Film Festival. An ecstatic Gagan goes on to explain how the movie came into being. The concept of the story was born when he was studying in Class 12.
“I had written the story of the film when I was in school. It was an essay and even though I wanted to turn it into a film script, I realised script writing is much more complex in terms of grammar and usage of words. I did not have the expertise then.” Gagan’s childhood dream was to become a filmmaker, but he knew he had to wait. After completing his engineering and a short course in handwriting analysis, he decided it was time to take the leap. “I took up a three-month film appreciation course at Suchitra Film Society to learn how to write, view and analyse cinema. Then wrote the script for the movie,” he says.
When he showed the script to Prakash Belawadi, the theatre person persuaded Gagan him to start filming it immediately.
The protagonist in the movie is Shama (Swapnashree B) who is ill, downtrodden and widowed.
She is on her deathbed and is worried about her speech-impaired son, Noora’s (Sahil Suresh) future. Gagan explains, “Shama cannot rely on the society to help her son. One day, after discussing with her friend Sunehri (Esha Gupta), she plans a way out. It is a brutal measure but she goes ahead with it to save her son’s life. This is the centre plot of the film.”
The genre of the film is unique, Gagan mentions. He adds, “Docudrama is a very popular film form wherein the filmmaker dramatises a documentary. But I wanted my film, to be the opposite; I wanted to document a drama.”
This can be seen in the way the film is shot.
Says Gagan, “We wanted to give the movie a very real feel just like a typical documentary- a haphazard camera angle, a shaky camera, no aesthetic sense whatsoever and limited cinematography. We shot the movie in 12 hours at the servants’ quarters at the academy and we roped in people, all from Bangalore, who were non-actors and amateurs to play the characters so that there is no glamour quotient attached to it.”
After the rough cut of the film was ready, it was screened for a small group of people at the Suchitra Film Society.
“Happy with the way it turned out, we then completed the last stage of editing and the final product was ready in January this year.” The debutant director is still on cloud nine about the film being selected for Cannes. “I had my doubts. Cannes does not accept anything that is not satisfactory by their standards. So when I received the news that the movie was selected in the ‘Short Film Category’, I couldn’t believe it.”
Even the cast is equally ecstatic. Says Pruthvi Banwasi, who plays a doctor in the film, “I had a feeling the movie would receive adulation, given the strong script. But I never thought, it would reach the Cannes, one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world.”