February 22, 2020
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Girish Kasarvalli

The Kannada filmmaker whose Dweepa won the Swarnakamal for the best film in 2002, discusses serious cinema on the eve of the premiere of his Hasina.

Girish Kasarvalli
Girish Kasarvalli
Hasina is having a multiplex premiere in Chennai. How does it feel?
It is good that serious, non-Hindi cinema also gets such exposure.

Do multiplex platforms offer hope for such films?
This one-off release is not going to solve the imbroglio.

What is the imbroglio?
Multiplexes mostly screen English and Hindi films with glamour. Good Kannada or Tamil films get labelled and sidelined as 'regional'.

What is the solution?
Ninasam enabled a revival of Kannada theatre. Cinema needs a similar movement.

Any other alternatives?
Cinema must be included in school curriculum. In Karnataka we almost pulled it off under the J.H. Patel government. I have seen children respond positively to Pather Panchali and Bicycle Thieves.

What about the role of film societies?
Many have petered out as they don't get films. In Karnataka, we have only two societies. But to watch good cinema in society screenings is segregation too.

What about Doordarshan?
Most good Indian cinema depended on DD screenings. DD was like oxygen, helping us recover half the costs of our low-budget films.

More than NFDC, good Kannada films were subsidised by the state government. But cinema needs enough audience to survive. Subsidies won't do.

You even made a television series.
Yes in 2001. It was a weekly series based on S.L. Byrappa's Grihabanga. We had 75 episodes.

Won't you work more for TV?
Not really. There's constant pressure to please, to keep up the trps.

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