Road film Gaali Beeja questions the rural-urban divide, but aesthetically
It’s a long road ahead. At least that’s what it looks like for road films in India. Only a handful of Indian filmmakers have delved into this genre. Joining this league is the multimedia artist Babu Eshwar Prasad. Eshwar’s debut film Gaali Beeja (Wind Seed) set on the highway that connects Bengaluru to Mumbai presents an interesting plot — juxtaposing the lives of rural and urban citizens. A road engineer, a movie pirate, a man who sticks film posters, a farmer and a woman biker — all their roads intersect metaphorically and literally.
“Basically, the film explores how the road has linked everyone’s life. While one of them (the road engineer) talks of road widening as a sign of development, for the farmer it’s the loss of agricultural land,” explains Eshwar who took a fancy to the road films genre when he watched the film Alice in Cities (1977) by the German director Wim Wenders during the 1990s. “My film is also an attempt at a conversation with world cinema, particularly with Wenders’ film,” says the artist-filmmaker.
The film has been screened at popular film festivals including the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.It will be screened in Bengaluru as part of the
Whitefield Art Collective. While the film has been gaining recognition and popularity, it’s taken a while for Eshwar to make it happen. After two years of pre-production, filming and post-production, his project faced another obstacle when the Censor Board refused to issue a certificate. “The Board has a set template and as per that my film was neither considered a documentary nor a feature film, it took 11 months to obtain a U certificate,” recollects Eshwar. He signs off saying, “Cinema is not meant to entertain all the time. It should be like a book, it needs to be relevant even after many years.”
Entry free. March 11, 6 pm. At VR Bengaluru, Whitefield.