Bengaluru International Film Festival

Making films abroad

Karnataka : Bengaluru , 30/01/2017 , 9th Biffes Logo ( 9th Bengaluru International Film Festival )

Karnataka : Bengaluru , 30/01/2017 , 9th Biffes Logo ( 9th Bengaluru International Film Festival )   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

Canadian-Indian Brinda Muralidhara recounts her journey from Kannada theatre in Mysuru to making an English film

Her love for theatre combined with that desire to cling to her people in a foreign country got Brinda Muralidhar active on Canada’s theatre scene.

A popular name in theatre circles in Karnataka till about 1995, when she moved to Dubai and then Canada with her techie husband in search of greener pastures, Brinda hails from a family entrenched in theatre in Mysuru. She grew up in Vidyaranyapuram and Kuvempu Nagar. “I was practically on stage from when I was a toddler. My uncle, M.V.Narayana Rao, and my father were into serious theatre way back. I was part of Prasanna’s progressive theatre group Samudaya, and I’ve performed regularly in Mysuru and Bengaluru. When I moved to Canada, I joined mainstream theatre there and even got my professional artist certification -ACTRA,” she says.

Brinda is now in Bengaluru participating in the Bengaluru International Film Festival 2017 (Biffes) where she has come with her film Knot Not! playing in the Cinema Of The World section as an entry from Canada. “My film is a light-hearted satire on the rather complex subject of domestic bullying,” says Brinda. And it was her husband Gunny Muralidhar who prompted her to move on from theatre to films. In fact the film was a take-off from a one-minute act her husband had devised.

In Canada, Brinda was extensively involved in the Kannada Sangha in Toronto. She regularly wrote and put up theatre productions and very soon, the Indian community got involved and she was doing plays in Kannada, Hindi and English. “When we go outside our country we not only have to create opportunities for ourselves, we also have to create an audience for ourselves,” says the very astute Brinda. She started Kalaa Ranga Performing Arts, a non-profit to train theatre actors.

Having dabbled in short films and documentaries since 2006, the couple felt it was high time they went on to do a feature film. The audience would be their theatre-going audience. Online scouting began, auditions were held, actors trained. What started out as a 25-minute film with five actors slowly grew into a 45-minute film with more people on board. She and her husband produced the film together on a budget of 350,000 dollars.

But it wasn’t easy. They were shooting only weekends, because almost everyone on board had a 9 to 5 job - bankers, marketing professionals, professors were all part of the cast. After having shot most of the film, one of the main actors had to move when she was transferred to another country.

“So we started all over again! My actors had committed to six months of work with me...it grew into three years!” she laughs. After a hectic social media campaign, the film was released in October 2016 in theatres in Toronto. The film has since been to the Delhi International Film Festival and the London Indian Film Awards. The film screens at Biffes on February 7.

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Printable version | May 23, 2020 12:15:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/Making-films-abroad/article17193679.ece

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