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In tune with the elements

Atmabodh talks about his short film Vrkshart In a drought-ravaged terrain sits a little girl, her hair loose and her feet bare. Vrkshartha, Atmabodh’s 20-minute short film, follows her as she ventures into the thickets, flirting with elements in an easy, congenial manner.ha screened at festivals in Barcelona and Los Angeles

Published: 24th August 2017 09:43 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th August 2017 08:59 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a drought-ravaged terrain sits a little girl, her hair loose and her feet bare. Vrkshartha, Atmabodh’s 20-minute short film, follows her as she ventures into the thickets, flirting with elements in an easy, congenial manner. Often, she is portrayed as part of the landscape, her miniscule presence pitted against something so mighty and magnificent. “The title Vrkshartha was taken from a poem, it stands for the meaning of a tree,” says the director. Vrkshartha stems from the legacy of elements as water, air, fire, soil and sky fill many a frame. “They all share an innate connection with trees and the short film is told from the point of view of a tree,” he said. There are dark interiors lit up by the eerie glow of wooden torches and many other pointers strewn onto the screen where the tree makes its presence felt. “Without the tree a lot of things cannot exist,” he says.    


Shot without dialogues inside a wildlife sanctuary, it features two nameless girls. “They meet near the tree and start frolicking in water. Even the dress worn by the girls have flowers, again a reminder of the theme,” he says. There are many wide shots that integrate them into the ecology and the director says it was a conscious effort. “We are just a small part of the eco-system, not something above it. By casting children and leaving them free in the sanctuary I was trying to paint a natural picture,” he adds.   


The shots of Vrkshartha are punctuated with intermittent recitals in Pali and Sanskrit. It concludes in a Pali couplet which can be translated as ‘to sow the seed of love, to sow the seed of truth, becomes the absolute meaning of a tree.’ “Pali bears a strong linguistic connection to Malayalam, but the language is now almost extinct. So it has a thematic relevance and the blend of two languages was used to bring in the drama,” said the director.  


At the same time he adds it was not conceived as an awareness film. “There are shots of shrinking greenery and dried-up water bodies. But it wasn’t made as a docu-fiction focused in conveying a message,” he said.



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