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Kannada folk story comes alive on screen

The film is a retelling of a Kannada folktale, about a proud old woman who thinks the sun rises only when her rooster goes ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’.
Last Updated : 27 April 2024, 00:32 IST
Last Updated : 27 April 2024, 00:32 IST

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A short film made by students of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune (FTII), ‘Suryakanthi Hooge Modalu Gottagiddu’ (‘Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know’), has been selected to compete in the La Cinef Competitive section at Cannes Film Festival 2024. It competes with 17 other shorts for three La Cinef prizes. The section showcases student productions.

Directed by Chidananda S Naik, the film’s tagline reads: ‘Once upon a time, in a village, an old lady steals the rooster and the sun never rises again.’ The film is a retelling of a Kannada folktale, about a proud old woman who thinks the sun rises only when her rooster goes ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’.

“We have such wonderful stories in Karnataka. Although A K Ramanujan has made efforts to collect and archive them, the culture of narrating them is gone. It is only studied academically now,” he observes.

‘Sunflowers…’ is narrated from a grandson’s perspective. “He is not a reliable narrator. Our film is about the fiction he creates for a new audience,” Chidananda says. “It is the story of a story, it is meta-fiction.”

Hailing from Mysuru, Chidananda studied medicine at the Mysore Medical College and Research Institute. He used to watch a lot of films back then. “They opened up new perspectives and I started resonating with the images,” says the 28-year-old. He wanted to learn filmmaking and so joined FTII.

Jahangeer M S, Vishwas B and Vasudha Bharighat play the lead characters in the 16-minute film. “It is every cinephile’s dream to visit Cannes. I am also proud that it is the first Kannada film to have an official selection at the festival. It opens doors for our filmmakers,” he says.

‘Sunflowers…’ has cinematography by Suraj Thakur, editing by Manoj V and sound by Abhishek Kadam, all FTII students.

‘Whispers and Echoes’ (2021), ‘Longing’ (2022) and ‘To the Forgotten’ (2023) are the director’s previous short films. Chidananda is currently working on a Kannada feature film.

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Published 27 April 2024, 00:32 IST

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