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Creative impulse is missing in Kannada films: K. Gopinathan

Deepa Kurup
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‘There is an over-dependence on dialogue and sound in Kannada films’

Expert talk:Filmmaker and member of the jury for the Kannada film competition at BiffesK. Gopinathan says that in Kannada films, there is little scope or space to play around with the visuals, which lie at the core of good cinema.— Photo: G.P. Sampath Kumar
Expert talk:Filmmaker and member of the jury for the Kannada film competition at BiffesK. Gopinathan says that in Kannada films, there is little scope or space to play around with the visuals, which lie at the core of good cinema.— Photo: G.P. Sampath Kumar

The aesthetics of filmmaking is missing in contemporary Kannada cinema, says K. Gopinathan, filmmaker, professor of philosophy and the member of the jury for the Kannada film competition at the Bangalore International Film Festival (Biffes).

Wide chasm

There’s a “wide chasm” between the kind of cinema that is being made in India and internationally, and the Kannada films that were screened here, says Mr. Gopinathan, who teaches at Calicut University and has won State awards for his writing on films. The creative impulse is missing, he said, even as he observed that the State has both resource and capital, given that the film industry churns out close to 150 films every year.

It is unfortunate that in a city like Bangalore where there is access to films and technologies, and there are film festivals that also expose audience to good cinema, “filmmakers are not learning enough, or exposing themselves to quality cinema”. He adds: “I’m not talking down – in fact, it’s my humble plea to Kannada filmmakers to do so.” He repeats, and requests that it be noted down, that “by no means is his intention to be condescending”.

He said that all the eight Kannada films that he judged had “strong messages and themes”. They had strong woman-centric plots, a lot of “values-based messages” and dominant morals. “What is missing is the art of cinema – that which distinguishes it from the news report you will write, or reportage on a 24x7 channel.”

Mr. Gopinathan says that there is “no attempt at exploring the cinematic medium to its fullest potential”. “While a story line is important, equally imperative is the aesthetic challenge for a filmmaker and to push these boundaries too.”

He also said that there is an over-dependence on dialogue and sound.

“These films are good as far as the use of technology is concerned. But, as a student of cinema, I feel that sound cannot be appreciated if there isn’t any silence. There is an over-dependence on dialogue, in the sense there is continuous dialogue, and a dominating score in most of the films. This means that there is little scope or space to play around with the visuals, which lie at the core of good cinema,” he says.

Mr. Gopinathan says that the good cinema here is still coming from the older filmmakers such as Girish Kasaravalli, whose work continues to be good.

“Perhaps more number of young filmmakers should come up, and play with the medium more,” Mr. Gopinathan says.


  • ‘Good cinema in Karnataka is still coming from the older filmmakers such as Girish Kasaravalli’

  • ‘Large number of young filmmakers should come up and play with the cinematic medium more’



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