METRO PLUS

Back after a break

HER KANNADA film, `Deeveri', won Kavitha Lankesh the Aravindan Puraskaram for the best debutante director (in 2000). The film went on to win many international awards.

Her second film, `Alemaari', was made for the Films Division and screened on Doordarshan. "Few have watched the movie," she says.

The Films Division seems to be taking "its own sweet time" in releasing the prints of `Alemaari' leaving its director with no choice but to "shut the whole thing" out of her mind.

"It is painful to talk about a film that'll never be watched again. Now, I tell everyone that I've made only three films, not four," says Kavitha. The monotony of it all got to her and she decided to take a break.

Kavitha had found an interesting subject -- the myriad shades of love -- for her third film. `Preethi, Prema, Pranaya', which centred on the lives of couples belonging to three generations, was a love story with a difference.

"Why do people think the middle-aged and the old cannot fall in love?" asks Kavitha. "My film seeks to change these misconceptions. The film deals with loneliness, companionship, and the fear of losing someone you love," she explains.

`Preethi, Prema, Pranaya' has fared well at the box-office. "I'm happy that the audience has appreciated this film," she says. She plans to screen the film in the U.S.

Kavitha has also made about 20 documentaries and 25-odd corporate films. "As a director, it's a tad difficult to be satisfied with one's work. Each time I see one of my works, I realise where I have faltered. I always feel certain technical aspects could have been improved," she says.

Back after a break

But, she has been quick to learn from her mistakes. "Criticism always makes you introspective," Kavitha says. "Initially, it's difficult to analyse your work critically because you're too close to it. Later, you begin to see the truth in the criticism as well as your own flaws."

To her, filmmaking is all about breathing life into a story, etching it on the minds of people in the most beautiful way possible. "It has to touch a chord in the audience. And it is crucial for me to enjoy the story of my film as well as the process of making it."

Her latest film, `Bimba' (`Images'), which she refuses to categorise as either `art' or `commercial', was shown at the eighth edition of the Trivandrum International Film Festival (TIFF) this past week.

`Bimba' tells the story of a child artiste, Indu (played by Raksha). Born into a middle-class family, Indu is thrust into filmdom by her ambitious mother, Saroja (Daisy). The child wants to pursue her studies, but is forced to act in films. The child is traumatised by the hopes pinned on her by her mother.

"I have sought to focus on the effects of stardom on the life of a child artiste. Parents should realise that they are making a grave mistake by forcing the child to step into the tinsel town and hold onto stardom."

Kavitha believes in `art for art's sake'. "If you have a story to tell and you tell it passionately, it would undoubtedly carry more meaning. Films should not be made in order to convey a particular message. Instead the `message', if any, should be made as subtle as possible."

SMITHA SADANANDAN