Harish MD Halli, a journalism graduate, with a keen interest in social causes since his college days, was often encouraged by his teacher Ranganath Rao. Harish bagged a state award winner for his debut Antara Jala, which revolved around social issues, and his new film has been titled, Tanuja. The film is based on a real-life incident starring Saptha Pavoor, and Rajesh Nataranga.
The story traces the journey of Tanuja, a farmer’s daughter, her struggle to write the NEET exam during the pandemic, and her dream of becoming a surgeon. Tanuja features real-life politicians like former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, and also Minister Dr K Sudhakar, and noted journalist Vishweshwar Bhatt, who wrote an article helping Tanuja.
Harish, speaking ahead of the film's release on February 3, shares a few details about how he went about making Tanuja. "Since I am attracted towards social causes, an article about Tanuja caught my attention, and I felt there was depth in this topic to explore and it can be brought to the silver screen.
The entire incident took place on Oct 14, 2020, and an article about it appeared on October 15, in a vernacular. When I read the article, I felt the entire incident right in front of our eyes, and taking place in our neighbourhood. The journey of Tanuja, and her struggle to write the NEET exam during the pandemic time, and how she entered the exam hall in the nick of time, this moments felt exciting to me, and I had the same kind of feeling, when I went through the article each time.
What was more thoughtful about Tanuja is the support coming from the teacher, parent, and the bureaucracy, and it turned out to be a good subject. I have brought out pin to pin details in the film, and have diluted the topic with any extras. I have brought out the film as it is. However the film is commercialised in the making, only for audience attraction," he says.
Harish shares that he met Tanuja and her family and took permission to use her name as the title and to make a film, and it was challenging for the director to keep it real, and the way it is. "The sequences used in the film are shot in the original places where the incidents took place, which included Tanuja's journey to the exam hall. Everything was a planned move.
Since the ministers coming in the picture had supported Tanuja, I was keen to have them play their particular roles. Initially, it was difficult, but thankfully they obliged." Harish MD Halli's Tanuja produced under Beyond Vision cinemas has music by Pradyothan and cinematography by Ravindranath T as the cinematographer. Apart from Saptha Pavoor, and Rajesh, the film also consists of mostly new faces and theatre actors.