Capture the depth of our culture in films: Bharat Bala

Capture the depth of our culture in films: Bharat Bala

 Filmmakers must get deeper into the Indian landscape to rescue stories disappearing in the rapid changes brought about by globalisation, award-winning director Bharat Bala has urged.

Bala, whose movie 'Mariyaan' won critical acclaim, was speaking on the  master class 'India, the land of stories' at the Bengaluru International Film Festival on Friday.

The director who captured the imagination of the enthusiasts and critics alike with the feature film 'Hari Om' spoke at length about his ambitious project to take 100 short films on the untold stories of the hinterlands. The audience got a glimpse of his short film narrative as four of Bala's visually rich short movies were screened; each of them celebrating the culture it explored.

'Muthuvan Kalyanam', a visual lyric on a traditional tribal marriage in Silent Valley, Kerala, stood out as a metaphor for the filmmaker's quest in search of stories.

The tradition places the bride in the middle of the forest and challenges the groom to find her to tie the knot. Oddly enough, the man's pursuit of the bride matches the director's own quest for the story.

"Many of the untold stories are on the verge of extinction," Bala said. "These stories are part of our lives. By celebrating them, we'll uphold the pride of our land and culture."

Bala may pick a simpler story, but he presents them with breathtaking effect with rich visuals and haunting soundscape. Little wonder that the short films have the effect of a feature film.

He described his day-long wait to capture a five-second shot, producing a stunning vista where the camera zooms from the married tribal couple to the towering hill and the thick canopy of the forest before tapering off.

His other short films captured the nuances of boat racing in the Alleppey Valley, a ritual in Tamil Nadu and traditional Punjabi music. "My target is to make a thousand movies for India Film Collective," Bala said. "I'm investing in 100 of them and 56 have already been completed."

Bala said he is waiting for a day when the theatre-going audience would be enthusiastic to watch such movies.