Director TS Nagabharana is going further back in time with his period drama, Allama Prabhu, detailing the life and times of the 12th century Vachana poet and saint.
The National and State award winning director is ready to face the challenge of nuancing a period narrative and will start shooting from October. “I will begin with the song recording by mid September, after which, I will start the shoot,” he says.
The director says, “I had not drawn on historical references for a while. In between I did a film called Vasundhara, which was a mix of commercial and artistic genres. But if we want to pay tribute to our culture and language in today’s world, we must draw from the treasures of our history. The need to refer to the past becomes even more important today since our films are becoming increasingly Westernised. Even our titles are anglicised and we attribute this change to the audience but infact we are the ones to blame for creating such content,” he says.
According to Nagabharana, Allama Prabhu will be a lavishly mounted production. Sri Hari L Khoday is a generous producer, says he and adds, “Allama Prabhu is a major Vachana poet. This apart, his philosophies were not meant for a particular region, or caste. He gave importance to moral values and love for mankind. Advaita was his philosophy, where he said, ‘Life is nothing but everything’. He was beyond region and religion and that is why he is now a global figure and that is why I am making a film on him.”
Knowing Nagabharana’s working style, it is only natural that he would have invested a lot of time on pre-production. And the director has indeed invested two years in research, referred to many books and put together a team of ten people before finalising a bound script. Says he, “I finalised the 23rd version of the script and we are now working on the dialogues and other aspects of the film.”
Nagabharana chose Dhananjay and Meghana Raj for the lead roles. Dhananjay considers a film like Allama Prabhu to be a boon at the onset of his career. For Nagabharana, Dhananjay's fresh face and raw energy, yield themselves to the mentoring he will receive during the making. “Meghana Raj was selected because of her fascination for good films and her artistic talent also worked in her favour,” says the director.
The film’s crew includes G S Bhaskar as the cinematographer, Shashedhar Hadappa and Appayya as art directors, and Bapu Padmanabha, a disciple of Hariprasad Chauraisa, who will be scoring the music. “My son Panaga Bharana will be co-directing the film along with me and Nagini Bharana is taking the responsibility for designing the costumes for Allama Prabhu,” says Nagabharana. The story is written by Siddagangaiah Kambal while MS Sridhar Murthy and Sripathi Manjanabail assist.