This Bengaluru-based filmmaker’s family drama will be previewed at Cannes this month

Lights, camera, spotlight

author_img Anila Kurian Published :  12th May 2022 05:40 PM   |   Published :   |  12th May 2022 05:40 PM

After working on more than 120 original theatre shows under the banner Underdog Entertainment across south India, writer, director and actor Shruthi Raju will be previewing her short film What’s up With Indian Men in English and Telugu at Cannes on May 25. Shot during the start of the pandemic, the short film is not an official selection or in the world premiere status but will be viewable in Cannes Court Metraeg online Video Library via private access during the festival. Explaining the concept, Raju says, “The film is a reference for the feature which is being developed with the same title. The short film is for people and distributors to view and connect with us for us to make it into a feature film.”

The 14-minute-58-secondlong film is a comedy, family drama and social satire about a girl who has come back to Bengaluru after studying and working abroad. “The only way forward for her is to get married next and all the external influences — family, friends, brokers etc — are on this agenda. It’s about the different circumstances she has to go through for the process of marriage,” Raju adds. It’s a personal yet universal story. Like Raju says it’s relatable to women across cultures at the cusp of realising their dreams and the reality of expectations.

“It reflects the changing traditions of different generations and genres of an India in transition with all its trials and tribulations. It’s also a celebration of her irrepressible spirit,” she says. To be able to even preview it at Cannes is a huge step, Raju feels. “The behaviour and viewing patterns of the audiences have changed so much in the last two years and today, we are not just competing with local cinemas but with the international audience too,” says the filmmaker, who has worked in theatre since she was in college. But, she says, the film industry is a ‘whole different monster’.

“There are a lot of things you need to keep in mind, especially artistic integrity and also make sure that it’s commercially viable — it’s serious business. We are getting to learn a lot about the process and also understand how the market works.” Raju claims to already be getting calls from distributors about the feature film. “We will start working on it with the same cast after the Cannes debut. We’re yet to finalise the logistics and details. Nevertheless, we will definitely have a premier in Bengaluru once it’s ready as it’s our home city and it’s a story about the city,” says Raju.