“I can’t make happy endings”: Girish Kasaravalli
Kannada film director and pioneer in parallel cinema, Girish Kasaravalli, was one of the dignitaries at Manipal International Literary and Arts Platform (MILAP) hosted by Manipal University from September 15 – 17.
Kasaravalli, who has won 14 National Film Awards, was invited on the first day of the fest for a conversation with renowned film critique N. Manu Chakravarthy. The event, called ‘Reflection into Kasaravalli’s Cinematic Dimension’, aimed at exploring Kasaravalli’s journey from his first film, Ghatashraddha which won him the National Award for Best Feature Film in 1977 to his last film, Koormavatara in 2012.
Known for satisfying his audience with emotions, drama and a sense of struggle in his films, Kasaravalli has often made films converting literary texts into visuals. When asked about his process of picking a story, he explained that he observes if a story on a subject he likes can lend itself to a potential cinematic adaptation and allows itself to be reinterpreted into visual form. His stories portray a strong and undefeated image of women and often delve into a system of social legitimation that is built on suppressing differences and deviances.
Kasaravalli discussed his belief that every filmmaker approaches the audience in their own style, and has certain strengths and limitations while making a film. He went on to say that someone who can present a balance of emotions, drama and other such aspects of a film is, in fact, a good filmmaker.
“My main purpose is to disturb the audience, I can’t make a “happy ending” film,” said Kasaravalli, when asked about why his films are not very optimistic. “The best mark of art is like a pebble in the shoe that keeps pricking you.”
Further going on to comment on the kind of films being released today, Kasaravalli stated that he was not against ‘popular films’ but believed that film should have perspective as well as a philosophical and ideological approach. “A couple of years ago when Bahubali: The Beginning won a National Award, I took objection to it as the film lacked a proper perspective. Although the film is visually very appealing, that cannot be the criteria to win a National Award,” he stated.
Talking to The Manipal Journal about the event, Sanskrit language and literature scholar and a dignitary at MILAP, Mallepuram. G. Venkatesh said “The kind of vision we see in Kasaravalli’s films is very much related to the ground realities in Karnataka and his narration is such that one can easily relate to one’s own life. He is one of the most effective storytellers of his genre”.
Edited by: Sruti Srinivasan
Featured image courtesy: Harleen Kaur