By Utpal Borpujari in Ahmedabad
It’s been over 15 years since M S Sathyu last made a film, but the veteran director has lost none of his sensitive touch in handling hard-hitting social themes, and his latest film Ijjodu (The Incompatible) is ample proof of that.
The director of the classic Garam Hawa, in his new film that had its world premiere at the 1st Ahmedabad International Film Festival, focuses on the degradation of the “Basavi” cult in Karnataka leading to many of the so-called Basavis becoming prostitutes.
“About two years ago a Swiss NGO found out through a survey that there are about 1,000 such Basavis in Bellary district alone who have been forced to become prostitutes. It is that information that led to the making of this film,” Sathyu told Deccan Herald after the well-received screening of the film.
Shot in some beautiful locales in Karnataka, including in areas with Hoysala era temples, the film is the first in Kannada of National Award-winning Malayalam actress Meera Jasmine. The others in the cast include Anirudh, Srivatsa, Nagkiran and Arundhati Jathakara.
Sathyu, however, has not directly referred to the degeneration of the cult but has given an artistic twist to the subject by instead dealing with a debate of belief and non-belief.
“The treatment of the film comes from a song of Berndette, which said that for those who believe, no explanation is necessary, and for those who do not, no explanation is possible,” said Sathyu.
The film focuses on a young photo journalist’s brief encounter with a girl who was made a ‘Basavi’ at the altar of the village deity to ‘save’ people hit by a devastating epidemic.
Incidentally, this is the first Kannada film to be produced by Reliance Big Entertainment.