The medium of a movie may be regional but it must be global in its grammar. The world is a global village. A regional movie can and should address large issues of international scale.
These views were shared by Dr Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar, an Indian director, actor, screenwriter and a lyricist who predominantly works in Kannada Cinema, with Community recently after he attended a meet and greet gathering before the premier of his latest Kannada movie India vs England in Qatar.
A large number of families and members of Kannada expatriate community from India attended the meet and greet event organsied at Grand Qatar Palace hotel. The writer spoke about his movie and the Kannada cinema in detail and answered different questions raised by the audience.
Chandrashekhar made his film debut as a screenplay writer in Kadina Benki which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film and the Karnataka State Award. His directorial debut was Undu Hoda Kondu Hoda for which he won the Karnataka State Film Award for Best Story. Three of his films, Kotreshi Kanasu, America America and Hoomale won National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Kannada respectively.
Talking to Community, he said: “If you take any [international] issue like migration or transgender, you can deal with them in a human way even in the movies of a regional language like Kannada. Though we talk to a regional market, we can still address international issues. In this sense, cinema is beyond a particular language.”
The movie India vs England is not a story of cricket. The hero of the film is born and brought up in England but has roots in Karnataka. The heroine is from India. It is the story of conflicting ideas. The boy believes in the theory that the UK was the main reason for the development in present day India. The girl, on the other hand, advocates that the UK actually ruined India. The movie’s first show was premiered last Friday.
The filmmaker said: “I have shot the picture both in India and England. My script is influenced by different books written on the subject. My daughter has written a novel named Longitude, Latitude. I got attracted by the novel and brought it into cinema.”
The target audience for the movie is obviously for the people from Karnataka.
“Without their support, we will not be able to screen the movie in Qatar. We have to go with it as a part of the community activity. A few months ago, Subramanya Hebbagelu, a noted member of the Indian community– also from Karnataka, offered me to screen the movie in Qatar. We have invitations from the people of Karnataka living across the world. The large concentrations of Karnataka people outside India are in Gulf and in the US.”
Being a writer, Chandrashekhar wants to make films in Kannada language only. “I am very comfortable in it. Kannada is my expression. I can present myself with all the artistic requirements. That is why I have confined myself to the Kannada cinema. However, through Kannada films, I want to address global issues. Kannada language is in my blood. Of course, my films can be dubbed in other languages.”
When asked about the future of cinema when pitched against digital platforms, Chandrashekhar said: “This is a very crucial stage for filmmakers. Theatre was threatened by cinema some 100 odd years ago. Then TV came as a threat to cinema. Nowadays, digital platforms are threatening cinema. You cannot avoid the scientific advances. We have to accept all the possibilities.
“Cinema making or cinema going is a sort of community activity. Nonetheless, the number of movie lovers going to cinema is going down. People are becoming more individualistic. They want to watch a film on their personal platforms like iPads or smartphones. We have to wait and see how things are going to unfold further. Movie auditoriums in India are already facing problems.
“I think for every language, there should be or going to be a web series. In Karnataka, people are already working on the project. Big screen magic will certainly be in danger in the future. The digital platforms have already started thriving in India.”
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