Saturday, May 23, 2009

Gorky On Celluloind

An article by Muralidhar Khajane, which appeared in today's (21st May 2009) issue of The Hindu.

GangwayZ, a group of youngsters from Mysore, has produced a 130-minute Kannada feature film Jaaga Doreyutthade (or Spaces for rent (sfr)), based on Maxim Gorky’s play The Lower Depths.

The director of the film, N.S. Islahuddin, is a gold medalist in Journalism from the University of Mysore and has a Masters degree in Media Production from the University of Sunderland, England. “I have made sincere efforts to contemporise the play in the background of economic slowdown,” says 27-year old Islahuddin.

On the adaptation of The Lower Depths, he says as a student he was impressed by its content and when he decided to direct a film, the play came as a natural choice for adaptation. “Of course adapting the play to the present scenario is quite a challenging task. Bringing the modern day elements, while retaining the essence of the original play, is not easy. Jaaga Doreyuttade is set against the backdrop of recession and panic related to it and so needed a completely new treatement,” he says.

Islahuddin describes the experiment as “community or cooperative film making”. He speaks of the difficulty they faced when a person who had promised them financial support could not do so following which the group members themselves pitched in their resources to complete the film.
The group adapted various strategies to bring down the production cost. The team members decided to shoot the film in an empty house that belongs to one of the group members. Art director Badal Nanjunadswamy remodelled the house to suit to the needs of script. The entire film is shot in a house. To meet the requirements of the camera and lighting, Shivashankar and James Mani and their team made the best possible use of basics provided. As the cast needed actors in the age group of 20 and 27, those from the group who fit the bill were retained and the the rest of the members were involved in production.

Theatre director C. Basavalingaiah is making a comeback as an actor after 20 years with this film. “However, this film is a litmus test for the actors who have to do justice to the characters they play,” says Islahuddin.

Will GangwayZ be able to create space for itself in the film world remains to be seen. The film will be screened in Mysore from June 6th and then it will be screened in all other places across the State.