Bengaluru International Film Festival

‘Sanskrit is not a dead language’

G. Prabha, director of Ishti, at the Bengaluru International Film Festival in Bengaluru on Saturday.

G. Prabha, director of Ishti, at the Bengaluru International Film Festival in Bengaluru on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: K_MURALI_KUMAR

“I’m happy to be in the land of G.V. Iyer who made the first Sanskrit film Adi Shankaracharya,” says G. Prabha, a Sanskrit professor from Kerala and settled in Chennai, who has made the Sanskrit film Ishti.

Ishti deals with the superstitious practices of Kerala’s Nambudiri Brahmin community that prevailed in the 1940s.

The film was screened at the Bengaluru International Film Festival on the opening day in the Chitra Bharathi Competition section.

While many of these practices, like polygamy and refusal to formally educate women, may not be prevalent today in the community, the director says that the film is still relevant because the issues still continue in many parts of the country. “My story is inspired by the social reforms that were brought about,” he says.

But why the film in Sanskrit? That’s a question that seems to tick him off.

“As a director it is my freedom to select the language of my film. It’s a conducive language for the film. The Nambudiris spoke Sanskrit. I’m a Sanskrit professor. I teach and live the language. It’s not a dead language. And there is this misconception that it is a Brahminical language... It is not,” he said rather vehemently on the sidelines of the festival.

The film was made with a subsidy from the Kerala Chalanachitra Academy.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 1:35:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/%E2%80%98Sanskrit-is-not-a-dead-language%E2%80%99/article17195401.ece

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