P. Sheshadri’s latest film will be released after LS polls

Film director P. Sheshadri, who has created a record of sorts by bagging national awards for all the seven films he has made that have dealt with socio-political issues, has now made December 1, a film that critiques Grama Vastavya (village stay), an innovative programme launched by Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy when he was Chief Minister of Karnataka.

Though the film is ready for screening, Mr. Sheshadri has decided to delay the public release in view of the Lok Sabha elections as he is worried about its political repercussions, particularly because Mr. Kumaraswamy is contesting from Chickballapur constituency.

His previous film Bharat Stores was embroiled in controversy with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) acquiring rights of screening the film, which delineates larger implications of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) when the election was round the corner. The BJP allegedly tried to embarrass the ruling Congress, under whose regime the Bill was passed paving the way for FDI in retail sector.

Mr. Sheshadri was inspired to make the film after reading a news item on Grama Vastaya programme in a local daily. The report, which captured the after-effects of the much acclaimed village stay programme of former Chief Minister in 2006 made him think. “After a lot of churning I decided to make the subject into December 1,” he said.

The film revolves round the life of Madevappa of Basapura, a tiny village in North Karnataka district. He lives with his wife Devakka, who makes and sells rotis in nearby town. There is a shift in the life of Madevappa who is leading a normal life with Chief Minister deciding to stay overnight in his ramshackle house.

Administrative machinery descends on the village to make arrangements for Chief Minister’s stay and this leads to major shifts in the life of Madevappa and his family. Incidentally, Madevappa hardly gets to interact with the head of the State during the visit, and instead, the couple face embarrassing moments as if they are outsiders in their own house.

Though the characters are fictitious, this celluloid work is based on real incident. “The real characters affected refused to talk to me. But to bring authenticity, I did a lot of research and visited many villages where the Chief Minister stayed overnight,” Mr. Sheshadri said.

Refusing to call December 1 as political film, he said: “It is a film with political background and connotations.” Nivedita plays the character of Devakka, and Santhosh Uppina is in Madevappa’s role. The film was shot in just 20 days. “For the first time I hired a helicopter for the shoot,” said Mr. Sheshadri.

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