I did not want to bind my characters with my imagination – Ritesh Sil
He directed short films and then went on to becoming a playwright. A story lingered in his mind and pushed him to broaden his canvas. Ritesh Sil, the director of Kathputli, is all geared up for a pitch at the ongoing Film Bazaar in Goa. Pandolin spoke with Ritesh about his film, team formation and his views on platforms like these.
What is Kathputli about?
The film is about three characters of a family based in Rajasthan. The film for me is an insight on child marriages. Though we have seen child marriages in films, this story is about the aftereffect of a child marriage. This has nothing to do with the social setup. It’s about the imbalance between a family and how that affects the characters.
Where did the inspiration to make this film come from? Were there any references from stories, folklore or was it pure imagination?
Long ago, I had met someone who had suffered this. Not exactly what we have shown in our film but a part of it. I can’t name the person for obvious reasons. But yes, her story inspired me.
As far as references are concerned, I would say that it was pure imagination with a hint of an aerial perspective of life.
How did you go about casting for this film? Once, the casting was done how did you work with the actors considering the intense nature of the narrative?
When I started my casting process, I was looking for a person who was based in Rajasthan and had faced such a situation. All the efforts went in vain. I couldn’t convince anyone to act. Then I met Rashmi. I knew her from a very long time. She knew some people who had undergone similar situations. So, she understood the part very well. Plus she’s an actress so I didn’t think much and cast her for the lead part. For her husband’s part, I cast Ramesh Tiwari who has done a lot of films in Rajasthan. He’s very aware of the scenario in Rajasthan and also could understand my subject very well.
For the role of the son, I had cast someone but unfortunately, he fell sick just before the shoot. That’s when I took the call of playing the part myself.
The one thing that I was very clear about was that I did not want to bind my characters with the script or my imagination. I believe that every character is unique. I wanted them to feel free to explore. That freedom worked for the scenes and the actors’ performances have come out really well. As an actor, it was an advantage to know the script inside out and I tried giving my best.
How did you go about forming your core team of cinematographer, Sound designer and Editor?
The cinematographer of the film is Sunny Banerjee who shot Autohead. I told him that every story has a narrator and in my film, all the locations are the narrators. So every location should speak. I told Sunny about my vision and he understood it very well. I believe he has done a wonderful job at this film’s cinematography.
Micky is the editor of the film. He was the editor of Chauthi Koot. The moment I narrated the story to him, he got excited about the project. In fact, he didn’t even let me finish and had already started making his plans about how I should go about approaching the film. I realized that he’s the best person for this film.
Bob who was the sound designer of Chauthi Koot has done the sound for my film. Kathputli is heavily dependent on sound as it has very less dialogues. In total, there are just 15-16 lines. Bob understood the project and when he explained the soundscape of the film to me, I was truly convinced about his presence in the team.
How easy or difficult has it been to find producers?
I am also part of the production as it’s an indie project. It’s very difficult to manage everything in a sustained budget as well as with a small functional crew. But I must say that I had a really nice crew where we were 35 people and everyone gave their best. People never shied away from working. Everyone was very supportive. This made the process very easy to shoot.
What stage is your project in? What are your expectations from Film Bazaar?
Currently the sound pre-mix of the film is under process. The D.I and music is also left.
What am I expecting from Film Bazaar? I am looking for a co-producer, a distributor or a presenter who can back my film in its festival journey as well as facilitate its reach to the masses.
There are so many labs and festivals happening in the country. According to you, how have they given an impetus to more filmmakers?
For the kind of films that we (Independent filmmakers) make, it is not easy to get a release or distribution. These festivals and labs are helping us promote our films and get through the right set of people who can give a right direction to the film. Films get recognition in these festivals, which then opens a way in the commercial market as well. For any budding filmmaker, this is the only available path to the film market in India.