As Indie as it gets: Ramchandra P.N.(SONK FILMS)

Updated: Dec 17, 2020


SUDDHA (The Cleansing Rites) 105 mins / Tulu / EST / Color / Drama / Mini DV / India / 2005 Synopsis: Suddha (The Cleansing Rites) is about a family in a remote village in South India which realizes that it is in its last leg of feudal existence when it cannot perform a last rites in a scale in which it was once used to. The grand lady of the household dies, bringing the younger son and his wife who are struggling to makes ends meet in a city like Mumbai, back to the village to perform the last rites. The widower older son, who is obliged to look after the dwindling fortunes of the family agriculture is feeling trapped in the circumstances. The last rites lasting thirteen days will have to be performed in a grand scale which befits the status of the feudal household, yet the family is hard pressed for cash to do so. The father of the house, the once powerful landlord, who is now quite disenchanted with the state of affairs; dies before the rites are performed. Now the last rites gets postponed to further thirteen days, as there are two to be performed, The younger son goes back to Mumbai, promising to return as soon as he arranges some money. Director's note: Suddha (The Cleansing Rites) took three years to get made during the period when wewere making a transition from film strips to magnetic tapes and then on to the digital world. The highcosts of making a movie on film strips and the dwindling support of the NFDC, the nodal funding agencyfor independent movies, had made the production of movies for independent minded people like me anuphill task. Luckily, we were just entering into the digital world in the early part of this century and mywork as a freelancer in TV had enabled me to buy a digital video camera on which this movie was shot.We shot this in a friend's house in rural costal Karnataka - who along with his brother became the co-producers of the movie. As is always the scrip in such ventures, the unit worked on a differed paymentbasis; the cash expended was only the necessary ones without which the production would not havehappened. Thematically, the movie has a theme similar to my documentary 'Miyar House', that was shotbefore this movie, but completed in 2011 - the one related to the decay of the feudal system in rural India.Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNmnv3qBkyA


Putaani Party (The Kid Gang)

72 mins / Kannada / Cinemascope / Kannada / Drama / EST / 2005 Synopsis: A group of elected representatives (Makkala Panchayat) of kids in a small village find their own voice when they outsmart their adult counterparts to set right those things that they think are undesirable to their constituency. A young boy sees his father in a drunken state and challenges his friends who are the representatives of an elected body of the children of the village to do something about the illegal liquor business rampant in the village. The children take up the challenge and go about lobbying with the adults to resolve this MacGuffin issue with the help of a sympathetic teacher. In the process they realize that their kith and kin are deeply involved in this business; and their efforts are stoutly opposed by them. When their teacher is transferred to another village, the kids lay quite for a while - but planning to strike when the time comes. When a minister comes the village for a function, on the stage the kids lay bare the harmful economics of the business and the adverse affects it has on their life and education before an embarrassed elder. Directors Note: The success of my first movie in the festival circuit was mainly responsible for the sanctioning of this film by the Children's Film Society of India (CSFI) to whom I had approached after some big private producers passed off this script. The script was about the voices of children being heard, rather than any social issues that it seemed to deal with. It takes a bit of listening to recognize a MacGuffin as one. I was happy that the film got made on celluloid - my first and the last one in the form in which I was trained in my film school. The subject of the film was inspired by a real-life incident that occurred in coastal Karnataka, of which I came to know when I was shooting a documentary on the real life Children's Village Governing Bodies. Production necessities made me set the milieu to North Karnataka, which demanded that I use that particular dialect and thus use local actors. As this film was made with children in mind, the structure was straightforward; and the pace kept appropriately. I would like to believe that adults have looked at this film as one about the society recognizing the genuine political voices of the children. In my post completion screenings, the children have recognized this aspect; and in the making of this film I have become conscious that they are much smarter than their rigid adult counterparts. Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bqhIeWo988


Haal-E-Kangaal (The Bankrupts) 105 / Hindi / EST / India / Drama / Digital / 2015 Synopsis: Two botched moviemakers meet after fourteen years since they had graduated from their film school and realize that they are as bankrupt as ever, in all sense of the word. One morning, Trips drops in unexpectedly into Lokesh's house when the latter’s wife Anu is on a shoot in a far- off place. Trips is on his way elsewhere on an unrelated business tour and has to spend some hours in transit. The two friends over pegs of drinks talk about old times and recount to each other of what they have been up to all these years - some real, some others unreal and others surreal. Trips asks Lokesh to narrate him a script that he has written of which he can make a movie. As Lokesh narrates a script set in London, spirits soar in celebration and imagination. But a strange tension is palpable whenever the conversation veers towards Anu and his school going child Priya, whose parenthood seems to be in question. And everything basically seems to be connected to a relationship that Lokesh, Trips and Anu shared with each other, way back in the film school. As the narrated London based script is about the reach the climax, we realize that the story so far is only a part of a script narration that a sober Lokesh and Trips indulge in at another time. Nevertheless, the story continues and when things get sober, it is time for Trips to leave. Lokesh confesses that the London based script that he had narrated is plagiarized. Trips makes a return confession - he never had an intention to make a movie and that his purpose of dropping in was just to take a loan from him as they part ways questions linger - which is real? The characters in the story where the London based script is being narrated or the one where two character narrate such a script about Lokesh narrating the London script to Trips? Directors note: Making two fiction feature movies that win major awards in film festivals gives one a false sense of security. You almost assume that your third movie - whatever be the level of unconventionality that it has - will automatically get a producer. When the insight that the situation is otherwise occurs, one begins to think of other ways to get your off-beat ideas getting realized. Would it be fruitful to take stock of what you have and then work out a script and the production accordingly? I had a HD digital camera, I had an editing set up and when I got to know that I am going to get my flat for myself for fifteen days at a stretch, I decided to write a script that got completed in a week. It was for a chamber movie that had just two characters and the subject - the bankrupt state of independent movie making in India - a subject that I was knee deep involved with at a personal level after having completed to 'award winning' movies and after having interacted with many respected film makers whose films I had valued but who I realised were knee deep involved in the smelly politics of independent movie making. In a sense this movie is a reflection on myself and my profession - a critical and humorous take on it. We as story tellers question the reality of the state of things around us - but are we ourselves being real and authentic? That was the concern while making this movie. Built around a structure that cannot be called as a 'dramatic narrative structure', the camera in this movie - observing distantly - refuses to go out of the flat that it is set in with the purpose to get a peep into the veracity of the two characters that it has. Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fHWJvIHL8Y


Bunnu K. Endo Maye (The Maya of Bunnu K. Endo) 99 / Kannada / EST / India / Drama / Digital / 2019-20 Synopsis: An anonymous multinational company interested in capitalizing natural resources, deceitfully leads a powerful politician's wife and her chauffeur on to an empty flat in a big city promising them the security of a better life; but holds them captive. The motive is to drive them to death, make it look like elopement case gone sour and use it as a tool to sabotage an agitation against a proposed power plant that is to be built by the company in the area represented by the company. The couple are surveilled upon by a faceless representative of the company who not only controls the supplies that go into the flat, but also mysteriously the space and time inside. As the couple are coerced and blackmailed into going through a series of role-playing, the lines between the past, present and future mystically get blurred. Also blurred are their very existence. Director's note: There is an urgent need to make films on Corpocracy or the nexus between the corporate world and the people in governance and its impact on environment, people's liberty, inequality etc. Capitalizing the world natural resources is one of the foremost grand narrative that is being played post Industrial revolution. Such large monolithic narratives have its own set of casualties - paradoxically, freedom and liberty. To evoke this grand thematic issue within the confines of the four walls of a flat in a city was the challenge. The attempt here is to create an allegory - to give sense of the real through the unreal, to be in one space and time; to show one character and suggest the other or to hear the sounds of things that are being used, but not see them. The dialectics of this form could be best suited to portray a world that we think we are in control, but actually are not. Like Haal-e-Kangaal (The Bankrupts), this too is a chamber movie but unlike it the attempt here is not to go into the mind of the individual as such but to enlarge the scope to encompass the world. This is by far the most challenging fiction feature movie that I have made. Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKkNEd90UCA



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