Cinema

A big drop in the ocean

Purab Kohli and Kirti Kulhari on the sets of their film Jal. Photo Murali Kumar K.  

Close on the heels of World Water Day comes an Indian film based on the precious liquid. Directed by Girish Malik, Jal is the story of young, wilful villager Bakka who has a special ability to find water in the desert. The film tells the story of Bakka’s love for Kesar and fascination for Kim a Russian ornithologist who is out to save flamingos in the Rann of Kutch. The film tells a the tale of love, relationships, deceit and circumstances against the backdrop of water scarcity. Jal will be released nationwide on April 4.

Speaking to Metroplus at the Bangalore office, actors Purab Kohli (Bakka) and Kirti Kulhari (Kesar) say Jal is an intense story. “From the people in the village to the setting of the film, every emotion is real,” says Purab. “Viewers will carry back a great story and breathtaking visuals of the Rann of Kutch. You will be entertained; laugh, cry, feel greed, joy and jealousy. You will want to save water by the end of the movie. Jal does the job without being too preachy and that is Girish’s trump card.”

Jal is all about challenges.“With 50 Degree Celsius, weather was definitely a big challenge,” says Purab. “Getting into character was a challenge too. This is completely new terrain for us as actors. We have travelled the country and experienced the village life but to get embedded as a character there was a whole new process.”

“There was constant pressure and Jal is a tough film,” Kirti adds. “But when we look at it we believe it was worth it and added the soul required for the film.”

Purab points out that Girish’s shooting style was also challenging. “He’s taken so much from the environment – the colour, the animals and the birds. He would shoot his scenes as planned but there were random shots, like a flock of birds by a pool and he would throw us in. So we needed to be constantly ready for him.”

“We as humans are nothing,” Kirti comments. “In cities, we are continuously trying to defy nature. But out there it is easier to surrender to nature and let it protect and nourish you.”

Recalling some of their memorable experiences, Purab says the Rann of Kutch is mystical. “You tend to become fluid. The sun is hot and saps you of all your energy. The 45 days we shot there was like a dream. We have no regrets. In fact we would love to go back and shoot there again. I remember I had gone exploring once and climbed a black hill and looked down at an ocean that began in blue and went on till it was white and joined the sky. I later found that the mesmerising sight was the Greater Rann of Kutch and the water body was the flooding before the monsoon. It was intimidating and inviting.”

Kirti reminisces about a romantic sequence in the Salt Desert which is kilometres of just white salt. “It was magical. You can’t express in words the experience of the beauty of the place and how something like salt could give off the impression of snow.”

Featuring a first time musical collaboration between singer Sonu Nigam and percussionist Bickram Ghosh, Jal is also an ambient sonic experience. “The duo is pure magic. There is an incredible background score with a range of Indian and international sounds using all live instruments, including rare instruments like the Armenian Duduk and percussionists from Europe who’ve played for the movie 300.”

After starring in films such as Shaitan, Khichdi and Rise Of The Zombie, Kirti says, “I’ve always been very attracted to earthy and grounded characters. This image is not generally how people see me and I wanted to shock them. It was also about doing justice to the belief Girish had in me.”

Purab echoes similar thoughts. “There are real experiences and day-to-day emotions in Jal that have helped me mature as an actor.”


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Printable version | Nov 26, 2021 12:14:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/a-big-drop-in-the-ocean/article5862433.ece

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