National Award-winning film on rural-urban migration set for October release

The annals of cinema are replete with anecdotes of luminaries and their eternal struggle with finances, be it Satyajit Ray’s watershed ‘ Apu trilogy’ (1955-59) or boy-wonder Orson Welles tussle to finance classics like ‘ The Trial’ (1962) and ‘ Chimes at Midnight’ (1966), or Francis Ford Coppola’s manic efforts to keep afloat his masterpiece, ‘ Apocalypse Now’ (1979).

But for 30-year-old, farmer-turned filmmaker Bhaurao Karhade, the ordeal of creating a film literally was a soul-crushing enterprise. Mr. Karhade’s film ‘ Khwada’ (which translates as ‘Obstacle’) — which viscerally deals with the theme of rural-urban migration — took the 62nd edition of the National Awards by storm when it snared the prizes in the ‘Best Director’ and the ‘Best Sound’ categories in March this year.

The story behind the film’s making is as dramatic, passionate and poignant as the actual film itself, for Mr. Karhade sold his five-acre farm land in Shirur Taluka in order to finance his film, finally made at a cost of a little over Rs. 1 crore.

While the recognition ought to have led to an ushering of finances, the film was stuck in a limbo for six months owing to the lack of publicity funds — yet another telling irony where crores are spent on the publicity of trashy Bollywood fare.

Finally, after some acquaintances pooled in money, Mr. Karhade’s film will see the light of day and is set for an October 22 release.

“My mother, who is ignorant about the processes of filmmaking, had only one refrain — when would my work be released?” said Mr. Karhade, heaving a happy sigh of relief on the film’s forthcoming release.

The film, inspired by the trials and tribulations of the shepherd community in Mr. Karhade’s native village of Gawhanewadi in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district, powerfully and often poetically highlights the rural-urban divide by focusing on the effects of government apathy that compels a single family to migrate to the big city.

After writing the script in 2011, Mr. Karhade failed to find a producer for the next two years before deciding to finance the project himself.

“My mother and my brother initially consented to sell three acres of our plot to keep the project afloat. Then I ran out of money at the post-production stage, and they graciously agreed to sell the rest of the land too,” recalls Mr. Karhade.

However, when it came to releasing the film, he again found himself without funds.

“It was then that art director Shekhar More came as a providential intervention and agreed to provide funds to help release the film,” says Mr. Karhade.

The film bug bit him at age 13, when he recalled playing truant at his village school in Shirur in order to catch films at the local mini-theatre. After rebelling against his family’s option of an Army career, fate seemed to consign him to pursue farming.

“However, on one my frequent visits to Pune, where I used to sell my produce at the Gultekdi Market Yard, I decided to walk all the way down to the Film and Television Institute of India to meet my friends studying there,” reminisced Mr. Karhade.

Failing to clear the FTII entrance, Mr. Karhade then enrolled at the New Arts College in Ahmednagar for a course in mass communication where films by Kurosawa, Ray, Fellini and de Sica opened new vistas for him and hardened his resolve to be a filmmaker himself.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 11:21:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/stuck-in-limbo-for-funds-crunch-national-awardwinning-film-on-ruralurban-migration-set-for-october-release/article7651899.ece

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