Going behind the scenes

Last Updated 07 July 2014, 14:27 IST

Forty-four years after making its mark in the film world, Kannada movie Samskara (funeral rites) was screened once again by the Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy at Badami House on Saturday.

The cast and crew members of the path-breaking movie got together for an interactive session about the making of Samskara.

Made in 1970, it was the first Kannada film to get so much acclaim nationally.

It was director T Pattabhi Rama Reddy’s first attempt at Kannada cinema and he created an uproar by discussing caste politics.

It went on to win the ‘National Film Award for Best Feature Film’ the same year.

The film comprised of an entourage of well-known stars who brought life to the black-and-white reel.

Based on UR Ananthamurthy’s novel, the movie starred Girish Karnad, P Lankesh, Snehalatha Reddy and BR Jayaram among others.

Australian cinematographer, Tom Cowan, who was in the City, said he heard about the script for the film from artist SG Vasudev when they were in Cholamandal Artist’s Village.

“When I heard it, I knew it was a great story and was willing to work with whomsoever on it,” said the cameraman.

Was language a barrier for the Australian? He said it wasn’t because he knew the English version of the dialogues. Tom said if he could share the same chemistry he had with the crew and actors of Samskara and find just as great a location, he might consider redoing it.

For now, however, the team is concentrating on a documentary on the film, ‘The Making of Samskara’. Leslie Tucker, wife of Tom, said that this was the last chance to understand the history.

It was Nandana Reddy, daughter of Pattabhi and Snehalatha, who brought the team together for the second time. She said her parents always involved her in everything but left her out of this shoot.

“When I visited Vaikuntapura a few years ago, it was like I had stepped into a scene from Samskara. That’s when I called Tom and asked him to recount what had happened then,” she said.

This wasn’t just a film, said Nandana. “It was a personal search for the truth, something you can’t find in an ordinary journey. My parents gave everything they had to make this movie,” she added.

A rare collection of photos from the film and of the cinematographer was on display too.

It was thanks to Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan and Experimenta India that the film was restored and put on sale.

(Published 07 July 2014, 14:27 IST)

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