Abbas Kiarostami’s poetic approach has influenced me: Praveen
Filmmaker Praveen Morchhale is highly inspired by the understanding of human nature and humanity that auteur Abbas Kiarostami brought into his films. It was this influence that led to the making of Morchhale’s second feature Walking with the Wind dedicated to the Iranian filmmaker.
The film was part of the recently concluded NFDC Film Bazaar Recommends (FBR section). In a chat with Pandolin, Morchchale shares his love for Kiarostami’s art, shooting in Ladakh and his plans for the film.
Tell us about the central idea and objective of Walking with the Wind?
My movie is very poetic; it is like a poem and has many interpretations which may differ according to the viewers’ level of cinematic understanding. The basic idea is to capture the serenity of the people, nature and socio-political condition, which is metaphorically shown in the film. More than that, it is the journey of a child, and a child here could be a metaphor for an adult as well. Basically, it is a film where you do not have a particular central theme. You can have multiple themes running parallel in the movie along with different interpretations.
What was the inspiration behind this film?
My movie is dedicated to the art and cinema of auteur Abbas Kiarostami. I love his portrayal of cinema where humanity speaks. The story of Walking with the Wind is about rural people who are living in a seemingly different world altogether. It is untouched and very pure at heart. It reflects universal cinema and can be understood by anyone in the world.
How has Abbas Kiarostami influenced you as a filmmaker and person?
I am not influenced by him as a filmmaker, but more from his art and understanding of human nature and humanity. His innovation in cinema was absolutely marvelous. His camera and the way he directed movies is very inspiring. It is his poetic approach that has influenced me more than the content. He used to love films that were open-shut; his movies had uncertain endings, so I did get influenced by that kind of a cinematic tool and art.
The trailer looks beautiful, can you share something about the locations and what role do they play in the film?
I believe locations play a crucial role in movies. I treat them as characters because the landscape has a symbiotic relationship with the flow of the story and characters. I cannot remove any of them as they co-exist with the story. If I had shot the film in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh or Rajasthan, it would have had a different feel altogether. So I have a fixed visual plot for every story, which gets shot in particular areas only. It makes the film poetic and lyrical in narration. It’s like the canvas of nature where you can put your stories and spiritual journeys like a painting. So the right location is very important to me.
What drew you to shoot the film in Ladakh?
As I said, landscape plays a very important role in my movie. Walking with the Wind is about a boy’s spiritual journey towards life and the chair is a metaphor for an imperfect family and society. When I show the hardship of running with that chair, the landscape gives a beautiful meaning to the film, which is very important. When I had developed the idea of the film, I traveled to Ladakh twice and after understanding the landscape and people, I shaped the story accordingly.
What were the challenges faced on a film like this and how did you overcome them?
We were shooting at a height of 14000 ft. so we couldn’t work properly because of lack of oxygen. There was a language barrier since nobody knew Ladakhi and we have made a movie in the local language without knowing it. One of the actors, playing the role of the father, is also our second director. I used to tell him what expressions were required and I was dependent on him for the authentication of all expressions and dialogues. Apart from this, everyone in the film was a non-actor, they had never seen cameras in their lives and were local villagers but they performed wonderfully. I am lucky to have them because of their real expressions. When you’ll see the film, you’ll see the beauty and reality in their expressions.
What is your objective of getting the film to Film Bazaar?
Film Bazaar is a wonderful place to showcase your movies and share ideas. It is also a great place to meet people who are a part of independent cinema. Film Bazaar plays a wonderful role in the growth of India’s independent cinema. From here, our movies get a chance to be viewed by the world. It’s a window for the entire world.
Where do you plan to take the film next?
We are looking forward to an international premiere at a reputed film festival and for that we are showing movies to programmers and directors. Looking at the subject, beauty and quality of the film, we are positive that this film will reach its destination. A filmmaker can only make a film. I have made the film as per my vision and artistic capabilities, but the film has its own destiny. If it has an international appeal then people will connect with it globally.
We made my first film, Barefoot to Goa’without any planning, but just with our hearts. Once it was over, it automatically started flying everywhere, in fact, it will be screened in Australia in December this year. The filmmaker should just be an artist while making the film and do it with honesty rather than calculating profits and fame. Ultimately cinema is an art and we should treat it that way.