It takes blood, sweat, tears and a lot of luck, but 'Gandu', 'Corrode' and 'The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project' are living proofs, that even in a country with more than 1300 film productions a year it is possible to Do It Yourself.
DIY - Artist talk & Film (The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project)
Friday Aug. 31. 7 PM in Cinemateket, 65 kr.
- meet the Indian filmmaker Srinivas Sunderrajan & Icelandic artist filmmaker and radio host Anna María Helgadóttir
The DIY movement is rising in India. 'Digital technology has finally freed cinema from the clutches of elitism', says filmmaker Kaushik Mukherjee, who goes by the moniker Q, director of famed and banned 'Gandu'. Making a film is so expensive it inevitably becomes more of a business proposition than an art form. This is true around the world, but not least in India, known for it's heavily budgeted extravaganzas. But digital video cameras have given artists a tool to change that.
However, there is a long way from picking up a Sony to making a full feature film. Just ask Q, Karan Gour or Srinivas Sunderrajan, who all have spent years of their lives in the all-consuming process of completing their first feature.
"[The digital possibilities] doesn't mean that you don't have to know cinema. Only when you are aware of what you don't have, can you really do what you want to with what you have". Says Q, who planned the script and the production of 'Gandu' according to the resources available to him. He shot the film in monochrome black and white with a single Canon 7D, worked without a script, blurred the lines between director and actors, and improvised in every facet of the production. He never worked with a budget on the film and still doesn't know the actual limited costs of it.
Karan Gour does. It took him four years and and USD 10.000 to make his first feature film, 'Corrode'. He borrowed from all his friends, swopped a car, his dad would give him, to cash. He made all of the pre-production himself, including building rigs for the camera. During the shoot, which mostly took place in the same borrowed flat, the only crew members were Gour and the director of photography Abhinay Khoparzi. Four USD was the daily budget for lunch and necessities. Still there's a bill to be paid though. "You can make a film with very little money only if you have a lot of time", says Gour who spent three of the four years on post-production and ended up being the successful films director, producer, writer, editor, composer, music director and mixer.
Srinivas Sunderrajan wore almost as many hats for his first film, 'The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project'. Having written the script on a single sleepless night he approached the production with high ambitions, but ended up working guerrilla style, borrowing props and equipment, shooting without permissions - over 15 weekends as everyone had day jobs - and he incorporated the whole absorbing filming process in the film plot itself. The total budget for the whole project was USD 700.
'The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project' and 'Corrode' both had their theatrical release in India this summer via PVR Cinemas' Director Rare banner, but only after they had become popular with film festivals around the world. However, 'Gandu' still hasn't found mercy from the censors.
For his second feature, 'Greater Elephant', Sunderrajan had a different approach. Produced by Q and made on a bigger budget than the KK project, but still on very DIY conditions and shot in only 10 days, 'Greater Elephant' has followed its predecessor at the festival circuit, but still hasn't found a distributor, willing to take risks. "We broke our backs trying to make the film and now that it is complete, we realize that we need to crack our skull in order to raise the funds required to help this film see the light of day, or rather, the darkness of a cinema hall!", states the filmmakers at Enter Guerrilla's website. Therefore they have quite unusually started a crowdfunding - not to get the film made, but to get it distributed. The sky is the limit, if not for these guy's pockets, indeed for their ideas and struggle to realize their artistic visions.
Niels Lind Larsen