Independent filmmakers feel the need to take their works beyond festivals and private screening

They are self-taught amateurs, driven purely by their love for cinema. Their films are at times experimental, at times realistic but always content-driven and different. Until recently, these independent filmmakers only found space in film festivals and private screenings in India and abroad. With a little help, some have made it to the big screens — if only for a short while — and have received rave reviews from both critics and audiences. Is this a sign of good things to come? It is too early to tell. The need for a larger viewership is felt by most but that appears to be the toughest task of all for these novices.

Sceptical investors

The maker of Software Hardware Kya Yaaron (SHKY) — a satirical take on the lives of software employees — Rabi Kisku, says that production is the easy part. “Making it is not difficult but reaching a large audience is the real challenge,” says the IIT-graduate who taught himself the craft. SHKY was crowd-funded and made with a budget of around Rs.20 lakhs. The film is expected to release in Hyderabad by the end of the month. Its makers are hoping to garner enough funds to break-even and help them continue this passion. After Rabi made his first film, Silicon Jungle, he expected the funds and opportunities to come flowing in, but investors remained sceptical.

Sravanth Devabhaktini of Hummingbird Entertainment, and co-producer of SHKY, attributes some of this scepticism to technicalities. “Buyers are reluctant to purchase rights to these independent films as they are captured digitally in a floppy and not on film,” says the entrepreneur who has produced a few Telugu films. SHKY

Arvind Kamath, writer-director of Innuendo, was only too happy to give up his job and meet his 16-year-old dream of making films head-on. With a budget of Rs.50, 000, an amateur cast, handpicked from the theatre and independent film circuits, he succeeded in making a 125-minute film which made it to private screenings.

The need to see their own vision on screen is what seems to define these first timers.

Caught between auditions at Lamakaan, Banjara Hills this Wednesday, and the engineers behind the movie Trip — Anvesh Reddy, Vishwanath Malladi and Naveen Nayak — who grew up watching classic Telugu films, don’t aspire to make one. Although none of them have professional training in filmmaking, they have practical knowledge picked up from workshops and working on short films. They said Trip, based in Hyderabad and Goa, will strike a chord with film goers because of its content and music.

“In AP, especially Hyderabad, more than fans of superstars and directors there are ‘cinema fans’ and these people are tired of the same old formula films. We’re trying to bridge this gap by making a different but entertaining film,” explains an optimistic Vishwanath. “Trip has no melodrama or larger-than-life sequences. We are making it our way, keeping in mind the balance between art and commerce,” adds Anvesh.

Against the grain

An independent film provides opportunity for not just the makers of the movie but also to the actors and technicians involved in its execution. This give-and-take between these rookies is perhaps what makes their mutual passion sustainable. Arvind Kamath made Innuendo with fully voluntary cast and crew of 35 and as an actor at the start of his career, Abhiram Khandabattu, says these films are great opportunities to make a mark. “If you want the audience to take notice, you have to do something against the grain,” he explains.

Watch List

Software Hardware Kya Yaaron

Director: Rabi Kisku Entertainment

Harud

Director: Amir Basheer

Love, Wrinkle Free

Director: Sandeep Mohan

Innuendo

Director: Arvind Kamath

The Untitled Karthik Krishnan Project

Director: Srinivas Sunderrajan