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Here's how 'Paathshala' defied shackles of Telugu filmdom

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Here's how 'Paathshala' defied shackles of Telugu filmdom

Post by -*Fenil*- on 2014-11-03, 14:42

Chennai, Nov 3 (IANS) Just a few weeks ago, a
small, independent Telugu film called
"Paathshala" released in cinemas by defying
shackles of the industry. Not only was it
appreciated by film buffs and critics alike, it also
reintroduced independent style filmmaking amidst
commercial cinema.
"Paathshala", according to its director Mahi V.
Raghav, "is the journey of a few youngsters
beyond college campus".
"It's a coming-of-age story that explores
friendship beyond the walls of a campus," Raghav
told IANS.
The director says he decided to make an
independent film because "you can tell the story
you want to without any compromises. Nobody is
going to ask you to change anything".
Raghav co-produced the film with a few friends.
The reason he didn't find a producer is because
it's a road film.
"Nobody even expressed interest to read my
script. A few of us chipped in an equal amount to
produce 'Paathshala'. Like every other
independent film, this also got made by the
contribution of a few people," said Raghav, who
used to work in New Zealand before shifting base
to Hyderabad to make films few years ago.
"I think road films are very new to even Indian
cinema. It's time to tell different stories and use
different narrative styles. People are travelling to
several places, so why won't they like to watch a
film in which the characters are travelling," he
But road films don't come cheap.
"Road films cost a lot more than any independent
film in terms of effort and logistics as well. To
find a location, carry equipment to shoot and
then move the entire cast will definitely cost a lot.
In an average film, there will be about 30 to 40
locations, but a road film features easily about
100," he said.
"More than 90 percent of the film is shot
outdoors, so there's always the risk of rain
playing a spoilsport or public being a nuisance
and there are several other factors too," he
"Paathshala" mostly featured newcomers. And the
decision was made purely based on economics.
"If I want better actors, I knew it would cost me
more and with what we can afford, we roped in
newcomers. We also wanted actors to work on
long schedules for about four to five months. With
popular stars, it's highly impossible and since the
film is a multi-starrer, we would've had issues
with screen time had we cast stars," said
Newcomers Nandu, Sirisha, Anu Priya, Sai Kiran
and Shiva essayed the lead roles.
"We spent about six months to finalise the cast.
They were enrolled into an acting workshop. For a
70-day shoot, we had spent about eight months
on pre-production," he said.
Raghav is "creatively satisfied" that the film "was
not just appreciated by critics alone but even by
common audiences".
"But there were other factor such as the limited
theatrical release of the film. We could only
manage to get one or two shows in the
multiplexes and the timing of these shows were
again the distributor's call," he said.
"Unless you know how you're going to distribute
a film, there's no point making it," he stated.
Raghav desperately hopes for a miracle to happen
in the Telugu film industry.
"I did my education in Chennai. In Tamil cinema,
both commercial films as well as independent
cinema co-exist. People there watch 'Singam'
and also films like 'Soodhu Kavvum' and 'Goli
Soda'. There seems to be a system being
followed as most stars only release their films
during festivals and that gives smaller films a
window to get released," he said.
"In Telugu, we've had diverse films working over
the years. In the recent past, entertainment has
become comedy. It's become a norm for even
exhibitors to buy a film. I think this mentality
should change," he added.

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