1:27 AM IST - Tuesday July 29, 2014

Wonderful moment for contemporary Indian writing: Shanker Raman

Locarno (Switzerland), Aug 9 (IANS) Shanker Raman, a choreographer-turned-writer-turned-director, one of the winners of the Grand Open Doors for his script “The Trapper’s Snare” here, feels this is the best phase for Indian film writers. He also believes that the Indian audience is open to a “different kind” of cinema.

“It feels fantastic to win the award. I’m delighted. What I’m going to take away from here is the experience of having met 11 other filmmakers from India, an incredible lot who have incredibly inspiring and courageous scripts and ideas,” Mumbai-based Raman told IANS.

He won the award and the prize money of 30,000 CHF (over $40,000) at the 64th Locarno International Film Festival. His yet-to-be-shot movie “The Trapper’s Snare” is set during the peak of civil war in Sri Lanka in the mid-1990s, and the fact that he received accolades for it, justifies that Indian cinematic writing is coming of age.

“I think it’s such a wonderful moment for Indian films and contemporary Indian writings. I had a wonderful time sharing ideas with them (filmmakers) and this is an opportunity we never have back home. After meeting them, I don’t feel so lone anymore. I would have never come out of my shell if I would have not met these people,” he said.

With the cash prize, Raman plans to shoot the film, his directorial debut, partly in India and partly in Sri Lanka. In development since the last two years, the film will be made in three languages – Tamil, Sinhala and English.

“This is my third film as a writer, and I have also been a cinematographer for many years. The story of ‘The Trapper’s Snare’ is a coming away story set during the peak of civil war in Sri Lanka in the mid-1990s. The film comes basically from my enquiry into what is the cause of conflict,” he added.

Explaining the context of his film, he said: “Sri Lanka has two aspects to it. First, it has seen great suffering. It is a place that has seen military campaign against minority faction which was trying to fight for an independent state that led to many genocidal killing and human rights violation.

“On the other hand, Sri Lanka has been a Buddhist state for thousand of years. It is also a place which has preserved teachings of Buddha in its pristine form. So it was interesting for me to see that how is a place that of Buddhist state can be responsible for this kind of violence.”

The film will be about 110 minutes long.

“It is a unique project and it’s not been developed for immediate consumption. So in that sense I’m not saying it is an arty film that nobody will understand. But it is a different kind of a journey,” said Raman.

He hopes to collaborate with producers back home as he wants his film to reach a wider audience.

“It’s not only about the award, it’s also about viewership. I am keen to find co-producers because I’m keen to find people from world over, with similar sensibilities, and who would want to take this project further with me. I would love the film to be shown in India and I am interested in co-production from any regions because a lot of times we have made films in India but it had never been on the world platforms, but only at film festivals.

“I want to show this film in India as well. People tell me there is no market, but I don’t believe that. When my last film ‘Autumn’, which I co-wrote and co-produced with Aamir Bashir, was screened at MAMI (Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image), around 1,200 people watched it,” Raman said with a sense of pride.


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