Contrary to popular belief, the award-winning Kannada film Puttakkana Highway is being patronised well and is paying dividends to its makers, according to its director B. Suresha.
He told a group of people who watched the film in a special screening arranged by Patrakarthara Adhyayana Kendra (Journalists' Study Centre) here on Saturday that the film had made 30 per cent profit after screening for a week at Big Cinemas in Mangalore, though attendance was thin on weekdays.
In Mysore and Bangalore also the film had generated good interest among viewers. In the capital city the film as fetched a box office collection of Rs. 1.75 lakh as against the theatre rent of Rs. 1 lakh – a profit of Rs. 75,000. He said the film would get back about Rs. 1.15 crore and leave the producers with profit.
But he said the film was made more for its artistic satisfaction than for commercial success. He said he had tried to remain true to the subject of the film – the travails of a woman who loses her land for a highway — than to glorifying the protagonist as has been the case with the runaway success films such as Taare Zameen Par or 3 Idiots. He said he was opposed to “packaging” movies in such a way that they enjoyed the popular support as was the case with the two Aamir Khan films.
He did not agree with a few members of the audience that the protagonist should have shown her anger at being deprived of her land at the end of the film rather than walking away in agony.
But he pointed out that people watching the film would share her agony because she does not give vent to her feelings on the expected lines.
Had she been shown revolting in the traditional way, the audience would have shared her agony only for the moment and forgotten her after walking out of the cinema. Now there was a possibility of people acting in favour of people deprived of their source of livelihood like Puttakka.
He said land losers of NICE project near Bangalore had decided to screen the movie in villages in order to create the support for their cause. Drawing a parallel to the way the daughter of the protagonist is attracted to prostitution, he said this was a reality and a common phenomenon. The maximum number of AIDS cases was found along the national highways according to a study, he said.
The film screening also left people like Democratic Youth Federation India (DYFI) district President Munir Katipalla expressing the plight of leaders fighting against land acquisition by projects such as MSEZ.