He doesn’t crow about his feats, appear on magazine covers, or give loud interviews. Why, even in the 21st century, he has the utter indecency to make films with a total budget of Rs 35 lakh (Aamir Khan‘s Lagaan had a marketing budget of Rs 1 crore; Rajnikanth‘s Robot cost over Rs 100 crore).
Yet, staggeringly, the Kannada film maker Girish Kasavaralli has quietly accumulated six national awards for his portrayal of the social landscape, winning a Swarna Kamal in each of the last four decades—for Tabarana Kathe (1986), Thaayi Saheba (1997), Dweepa (2001), Kurmavatara (2012).
The 61-year-old auteur in an Q&A in The Hindu:
What according to you is a political film?
Political films are not necessarily those that are made about politics, but anything that subverts our perception. No one can make a politically free statement, which is naive or contradictory in nature. The movie “Bairi” is a classic example where institutionalisation of religion is portrayed. What forms our perception by viewing it makes it a political or a non-political film.
Photograph: courtesy The Tribune
Also read: Why national media avoids national awards