'I think I'm the happiest director'

Experimental mode

'I think I'm the happiest director'

Independent filmmakers pride themselves on the low budget films they make. But this, according to Kannada filmmaker Dayal Padmanabhan, is not right. He says, “Filmmakers should be proud that they have a big budget. Films need to be financed better.”

Dayal was recently seen at the eighth annual Bengaluru International Film Festival, where he spoke about his two new movies — ‘Haggada Kone’ and ‘Actor’. Both the movies have been received well by audiences. “I think I’m the happiest director, with two film releases doing well. ‘Haggada Kone’ is a 102 minute conversation between a prisoner who is sentenced to capital punishment and his jailer, as they argue about death sentences. By the end of the movie, as the jailer questions the sentence, Chenna (the prisoner) is executed. ‘Actor’ is about a once well-known actor and his state of mind as he loses his popularity. It is interesting from a psychological point of view,” he explains.

Talking more about film budgets, he adds, “There is a difference between the budget you spend and the defined budget. Just because an actor is willing to act for Rs 10,000, doesn’t mean that he’s worth just that much. He’s probably doing the director a favour and his value is a lot more. We should boost ourselves to make a Rs three crore movie rather than a Rs three lakh one.” He emphasises on this point — that filmmakers should look at the market value of everything, instead of the price they get it for.

A person who is very passionate about films and filmmaking, Dayal can’t help but indulge in film talk, even the politics of it. “When it comes to cinema, politics should play no role at all. I’m completely against it. This is one of the reasons why many films and filmmakers aren’t getting recognised.” Even awards, which are mired in controversy, need a makeover, he says. “According to me, there should be more transparency in how the award winners are decided, whether on a state, national or international level. Every filmmaker wants an award, if the process in clearer, as their hard work is being recognised.”

So, although he is a bit sceptical of receiving awards these days, he thinks they are a necessary part of the industry. But it’s not the peak, he says, “Most people who strive for awards don’t realise that after week of telling everyone about it and receiving congratulatory messages and calls, it’s nothing more than a statue. What filmmakers should look forward to is the soul satisfaction of making a good film.” And as someone who has made commercial, experimental and independent films, Dayal mentions that there is actually no distinction between the three.

“Just because a director makes a commercial film, doesn’t mean he/she can’t make experimental cinema. It’s all about what inspires you and how hard you are willing to work for it. I’ve consecutively made three experimental films, but if a film requires a song and dance number, I’ll do it,” he says with a hint of pride.

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