April 16, 2007

FilmASIA - Part two. Umesh Maddanahalli.

Where were we? Ah yes.

...One more point on the program before the break and the last movie. A stage interview with Umesh Maddanahalli. Kannada actor, sculptor and visual artist. And a great guy.

Interlude. I did not have my notebook and pen with me to scribble down notes. And since I was able to talk with Umesh some more during the further course of the evening I might mix up some answers. So all I´m able to tell you is vaguely what I remember.

During the interview (with questions prepared by BW friends Boomer, Eduardo and yours truly) Umesh spoke about the diffences between the Hindi and Kannada (or in fact all south-indian) cinema. The casting process. Typecasting. Movie scripts. And the target audience for the Kannada cinema.

What Umesh said (who btw. lives in Graz at the moment) is that Kannada cinema is a typical south indian cinema if you take for example the way it projects cultural peculiarities.
With a wide range of topics and, this is a point we further explored later that evening, a cinema that is directed at the local audience. In Umesh´s opinion the vast part of NRI´s is a Hindi speaking audience. There is not much of a Kannada speaking audience outside of Karnataka, so its cinema naturally aims at the local audience only.

One difference to the Hindi cinema would maybe be the way the modern Hindi cinema mixes customs of various culture groups like Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, vagairah, vagairah and thus creates new more unified habbits and cultural customs, whereas the Southindian cinema still sticks very much to local customs. And thus maybe seems more traditional to us.
As to the casting process, there are screentests and castings like in any other film industry. Even if Umseh himself was "discovered" at a parking lot while waiting for a friend.
The movie script issue depends on the filmmaker and the film. There are the ones that shoot with a full, ready, bound script just as there are changes that get made on the set or other productions that work without a written script or storyboard.

There was not much time for the interview due to the delay caused by Don problems (see previous post) so Umesh had not too much time to further his toughts but after a few shots for the paparazzis (read: me and a professional photographer) who took some pics of the celebs (read: Babsy, Dorothea, Umesh and Oliver the organizer)

we invited Umesh to come along for a drink and spent the next 4 hours talking films. We actually had planned to watch the late show with Kal Ho Na Ho but Ezri, Ulli and I skipped that in favour of chatting on about our favorite subject with Umesh (Though choice, duh!) So we raided the local Kebab stand and moved on to a fantastic place the "Parkhaus" a pavillion in the middle of a park where we sat outside until 2 am. And quoted LRM and got more stories out of Umesh.

Perfect day. Great people.

PS: Umesh, if you read this. Yell at me if I got anything wrong. I shall yell at you in return if you don´t get in contact the next time you´re in Vienna. :-D


Anonymous said...

The most funny thing - Around 1 am Umesh said "Now lets talk about something else. :)


Maja said...

Oh, it all sounds like a blast! Thanks for the detailed report, very enjoyable to read :) I'm sure the festival was successful enough to be repeated sometime soon *fingers crossed*

Anonymous said...

Hi, was struck speechless by Umesh's comment that there is no NRI -type audience for Kannada movies outside India - HOW VERY WRONG!!!!!

Pardon my (capital) yelling - please let him know that there is a sizable kannadiga population living outside the country. Here in Dubai, in my very unprofessional estimate, kannadigas are next in number to malayalis. However, while it is very easy to get mallu, even tamil movies, books, hardly anything in sight in kannada.

babasko said...

hi anonymous
I will surely tell him if or when I meet him again. I put his remarks more or less uncommented in the posting, my knowledge of southern indian cinema is still very sparse. and here in austria, the NRI community is mainly punjabi and hindi speaking.