Language : English + Hindi + Marathi | Running Time : 75 Minutes | Director : Srinivas Sunderrajan a.k.a Vaas
A movie about making a movie about making a movie. Phew. If Inception was a dream within dreams, The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project (TUKKP) is a movie within movies. Srinivas Sunderrajan’s (a.k.a Vaas) debut feature film is a true child of guerilla film-making – shooting people without their knowledge, making use of location happen stance and produced and distributed for a measly 40,000 INR, which is almost entirely crowd funded. (His production house is Enter Guerrilla Productions)
Born out of a true passion for cinema, TUKKP is a film which is larger than logic and larger than life, as the people on screen keep reminding us. A software engineer in Mumbai, Kartik Krishnan (Kartik Krishnan) is hunched over his desk, reading a post about Srinivas Sunderrajan (Vishwesh K) meeting Quentin Tarantino. Impressed with Srinivas’ filmmaking and his meeting Tarantino, Kartik maintains the website, the now defunct Passion For Cinema. Kartik meets him and asks him to direct a script he has written. What follows is the process of making a film- the storyboarding, casting, rewriting, technical conversations on how surrealism can be attained. The stand out is the staging of the scene which explains the power of the visual medium over the written word. Srinivas, in a moment of inspiration, sets up a scene – blower and tungsten lamp positioned in his head and deciding how he’ll bring the surrealism on screen; erasing the thin line between reality and dreams. The resulting conversation between Kartik and Srinivas – the writer and director – is the battle of ideologies, the might of the written word and the visual medium. If even everything else about the film would have been inconsequential, this one scene is testimony to what great staging can do to a scene and how the visual medium affects us so much more than the written.
The project is an incredible journey of ideas, the characters acting as objects more than people, allowing the subversion of reality for the surrealism to affect us. We are introduced to an unimaginatively named character System (D Santosh) to depict the struggle of making and releasing a film outside the mainstream, outside Bollywood’s nepotism and with new people. A parallel track in the movie is Kartik’s love for Swara (an wonderful Swara Bhaskar). She is his “Maya”, the dream image of a woman who is dressed in opposite shades to real life, is closer to him than in reality, and spends her time with him instead of speaking on the phone or going on unannounced trips for days with other people. His movie is about him in love with this Maya. His journey is the quest for love, the realisation of it through his passion for cinema. There isn’t any romance per se and it adds little to this ideologue the movie is and instead contributes to a climax which brings a strained surrealism that struggles to bind the movie together. It tries to make sense of auteurism through an unexplainable scientific phenomenon, larger than logic and stands out like a sore thumb. As an act of satire, highlighting our lack of self-belief but a prevalent trust in astrology, Srinivas also introduces an astrology robot, which appears on its own after a dream sequence. The sci-fi to speak for surrealism is brought early but the way the theme concludes appears forced into the script for a conclusion and out of place.
Even in his debut film, Srinivas Sunderrajan comes across as a technically competent film-maker who is a gamut of ideas. There is little to take home about the characters but his ideas are clear, filled with life and are more often than not incredibly staged. Over the last couple of days I’ve grown incredibly fond of what it conveys even if the ending is not to my liking. Yes, it falters after a point but even when it does it is beautifully idealistic, which cannot be said for most of our films.
The film is available on Fliqvine.com. Check here for more details and to watch the film.