Through ‘Edari Varsham', K. Mahesh Kumar keeps alternate cinema alive

It was a pleasant surprise to see a jam packed theatre screening a 30-minute film Edari Varsham by debutant director Kathi Mahesh Kumar. The alumni of Hyderabad Central University confidently proclaimed to an attentive audience, “give me the amount you spend on a song for your movie and one screening preferably a morning show at Prasads and I will get my audience and recover my money.”

The director who made three documentaries Our Water, Shubhodayam and God's Own People set off to make this film inspired from Devarakonda Bala Gangadhar Tilak's Vuri Chivara Illu. Having made changes and owing to budget constraints he limited his script to 30 minutes. With the funding from 38 producers (after a request through social networking site) Mahesh completed the film in three days with a budget of two and a half lakh. Mahesh established a huge network of 900 members through a website Navatarangam and then moved onto the Facebook to pool help and the film became a reality through a collaborative effort. The banner has been labelled Telugu Independent Cinema. “The so called commercial cinema is no longer commercially viable at all. For me I'd prefer making a film on my sensibilities and catering to that limited audience. It is very important for Telugu people to understand my films and also a non-Telugu audience to know what a Telugu film looks like.

We are too small to take on mainstream cinema guys and tell them what they are doing is wrong. We are actually telling them there are alternate possibilities.

Providing the space and negotiating the alternate existence is our aim,” avers Mahesh.

The director felt that retaining the title Vuri Chivara Illu would have given a wrong impression of a woman who is condemned to living alone. He signs off, “I'm trying to prove the existence of alternate cinema and next there are so many stories waiting to be made and that can happen through cooperative and collaborative effort.

We have sent the film to many film festivals and are hoping for a positive reaction,” says a hopeful Mahesh.

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