Most of these films hope to be picked by streaming platforms, while two are planning for a theatrical release as well.
With cinema theatres closed, all the commercial blockbuster films are waiting in the cans. But Kannada cinema is making waves across the world in several international film festivals.
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In what can be termed rare, five Kannada indie films — Prithvi Konanur’s Pinki Elli?, Abhilash Shetty’s Koli Taal, Ganesh Hegde’s Neeli Hakki, Baraguru Ramachandrappa’s Amrutamati and Siddu Poornachandra’s Daari yavudayya Vaikunthake? — are being screened and winning accolades this season.
Most of these films doing the rounds of the festival circuit at present hope to be picked by streaming platforms, while two are planning for a theatrical release as well.
Prithvi’s second feature film Pinki Elli?, a gritty urban crime film set in Bengaluru around a missing child, opened the prestigious Busan International Film Festival recently. The film is also part of Indian Panorama. His earlier film Railway Children was also critically acclaimed. Getting rave reviews, Prithvi is planning for a theatrical release once theatres open up.
Senior writer and filmmaker Ramachandrappa’s period film Amrutamati, a reinterpretation of Janna’s13th century Jain poem Yashodhara Charite starring Harprirya and Kishore, is also set for a theatrical release. “The film has been screened at a total of nine international film festivals and won several awards. Ironically, the film was rejected by BIFFes in the city. A Mumbai-based firm has bought the rights of the film and will release it once theatres open up,” he said.
|Pinki Elli?||Prithvi Konanur||Opening film of Busan International Film Festival, won award at New York Indian Film Festival, part of Indian Panorama|
|Koli Taal||Abhilash Shetty||Premiered at New York Indian Film Festival, selected for multiple international festivals|
|Neeli Hakki||Ganesh Hegde||Premiered at New York Indian Film Festival, selected for multiple international festivals|
|Daari Yavudayya Vaikunthake?||Siddu Poornachandra||Has won multiple awards at Barcelona, Rajasthan, Golden Sparrow, Nawada International Film Festivals.|
|Amrutamati||Baraguru Ramachandrappa||Screened at nine international film festivals including Boston, Austria and Atlanta Festivals and won multiple awards including best film, best script and best actor|
However, the others are keen on an Over The Top (OTT) release. An engineer-turned-self-taught filmmaker Ganesh’s debut film Neeli Hakki, a film centred around a young boy from a village at the edge of the forest and his battle with displacement to an urban centre, has won rave reviews when it premiered at New York Indian Film Festival and was even compared to Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali for similarities in the theme. “I hope the film is made accessible through an OTT platform. I have begun talks with some platforms,” he said.
Abhilash made Koli Taal, won rave reviews after its premiere at the New York Indian Film Festival recently. “In Malnad, a chicken reared in the house is cooked to honour a guest, a tradition I used as a premise. The chicken goes missing when the grandson comes visiting and the film centres around the adventures of the grandfather to catch it,” he said, adding that he was also looking for an OTT release.
Another film that has now been screened at several festivals is a thriller: Siddu’s Daari Yavudayya Vaikunthake?, which has a thief stuck with a family living in a graveyard, hopes to be picked up by an OTT platform. His first film was also a thriller: Krishna Garments, but firmly in the mainstream commercial mould, but he shifted to the indie mode as the “story demanded such storytelling”, he said.
These films, if picked up by streaming platforms, will probably fill a gap in good Kannada content on these platforms, it is hoped.