Painter BKS Varma specialises in painting larger-than-life pictures in front of a large audience. Now, his son Pradeep Varma is all set to splash the artistic hues on silver screen with film The Gulaabi Street. Pradeep got noticed in the film industry with his short film Chakori for which he won a couple of international awards. From then on he never looked back. Pradeep reveals how Gulaabi Street fell into his lap. “After Chakori, I was approached by a few producers, and one of my close friends based in Mumbai introduced me to a production house. I got an opportunity to narrate the story to them and they gave me a plot to work upon. That is how The Gulaabi Street happened,” he says.
Pradeep graduated in fine arts from Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath and his passion was to become an art director in cinema. “I kept pestering my father to introduce me to some directors over here and then I came across T S Nagabharana. He took me in and nutured me and taught me how cinema works. He made a modest director out of me. I later worked with Upendra, Jayatheerta and Imran Sardaria for his debut Endendigu. Now am an independent feature filmmaker,” he explains.
Prostitution is a subject that has been explored in various Kannada films. Movies like Fair & Lovely and Parapancha are based on prostitution or sex workers. Even Neer Dose, a film now on hold was about a sex worker. However, Pradeep begs to differ, “The Gulaabi Street does not entirely revolve around sex workers. The focus is on human values and what women face in the society. It has nothing to do with the sexual part as such. I wouldn’t want to give out anything else apart from this as there are
a few conditions laid by the production department. I am not even allowed to talk about the technicians of the film.”
Pradeep has chosen Goa to shoot The Gulaabi Street. “Not only is it colourful, but my script demands more of the Goan culture. I want to bring in that Goan tint in my cinema. I don’t want to use the same old cliches or patterns. I want to give a beautiful and stylised film to the Kannada industry. The title might sound local, but the treatment is anything but local. The story we have knitted till date is beautiful and aesthetic and not vulgar. I don’t have any intention of showing skin to attract the crowd,”he says.
The director is happy with the three actresses he has chosen. “They never existed for me till I wrote my characters. But their auditions chose them for their roles,” he shares.
The Gulaabi Street was supposed to be done both in English and Kannada. But his priority was to make the film in Kannada first and later on in English.
Pradeep plans to conduct a series of workshops with the cast before the stars head for the shoot in Goa in the first week of June.
“My father’s advice was, ‘whether it is one film or 100 films, make sure that you create something that changes the mentality of a human being.’ Colours are my father’s gift to me. My composition on silverscreen will be drenched in his hues. My cinematographer is from a similar art background. I want to create everything afresh in my movie and have done a lot of research in terms of the story, look and visuals. It is working out, as you can see in the stills,” he signs off.