'What I am today is because of cinema'

'What I am today is because of cinema'

Director Raam Reddy made it big with his Kannada movie, Thithi which won the Best Feature Film award at the 63rd National Film Awards. The movie is a dramatic comedy about how three generations of sons react to the death of the oldest in their clan. Interestingly, everyone who featured in the film are non-actors and real-life farmers. It was shot in villagers of Mandya district in Karnataka.

“I always liked the idea of putting non-professionals on the big screen. I think with 1.2 billion people in our country, there are a lot of actors who are not trained but have the same kind of magnetism and charisma that a professional has. If you see them once, you want to see them again and again. They have that personality that kind of draws you in. I wanted to have such people in my film,” Reddy tells Metrolife.

He adds, “We wanted to make a film with a universal appeal which was rooted in authenticity. India has so much beauty to offer that there is no need to colour things. Let it be the way it is. That was the approach which I was keen to take forward.”

But how difficult it was to work with non-actors? “It was a tough exercise. All the film making techniques revolved around them to try and get their best performance. We wrote scripts which they were comfortable with. We worked on the sets in a very careful way. It took a long time to shoot,” Reddy says.

The movie was also premiered at 68th Locarno International Film Festival and won the Golden Leopard award in the Filmmakers of the Present category and Swatch First Feature award. It also won several awards at various film festivals in cities like Mumbai, Palm Springs, Marrakech, among others.

Talking about the future of independent, content-driven movies in India, Reddy says that the environment  is “great”. He feels that slowly and steadily independent and small-budget films will be able to attract mainstream audience.

“We are slowly moving towards more open cinema and a variety of subjects. I think it’s a period of revolution in Indian cinema. As a country which is the largest producer of movies, I think India is yet to become a staple among the world cinema viewers. We should be the major player of the world cinema circuit. Our films have been recognised and received  awards at multiple international film festivals, and the world is now looking forward to India for stories and arts,” he says.

Thithi was screened at the first edition of BRICS film festival which recently concluded in the capital.

“The festival is a great way to get stimulated. You get to meet interesting people and develop your own views. It takes you forward to new projects and that kind of positioning is very useful I made few friends from South Africa and other countries. It’s a great opportunity for young filmmakers like us. To be this young and be on this international platform is a great honour,” Reddy says.

He adds, “I love the diversity of these countries. So to bring these countries together through art is something very impressive. I grew up watching cinema. What I am today is because of cinema from around the world. I think I’m enriched by multicultural interaction.”

On his future projects, Reddy says that he is still taking “baby steps”.
However, he says that it will be in  the genre of magic realism. “I would like to play with this concept. It will be slightly globally positioned film. That is something I am starting to explore now.”

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