The strikingly beautiful Sruti Harihara Subramanian dons many hats — from that of a model to an actor, to an entrepreneur and a filmmaker. But it’s mainly for the latter that the young lady will be in the city this week. She screens her debut feature film, A Far Afternoon — A Painted Saga by Krishen Khanna, to Bengaluru’s art lovers at the National Gallery of Modern Art. “It’s a film about a national figure so it’s not restricted to any particular city. But Bengaluru has a strong art presence and we thought this film would be well received there,” begins Chennai-based Subramanian.
An actor with appearances in South Indian soaps, her curiosity about what it’s like on the other side of the camera is what saw her turning director. “I enjoy modelling, theatre and acting, but was always curious about being in the middle of what happens behind the camera. This film gave me a great opportunity to work on a full-fledged feature film,” she says, adding, “I have a company, Happy Wanderer Films, which does ad and corporate videos. This was something completely different and exciting,” she says.
The legendary artist, Krishen Khanna’s newly completed 20-foot painting inspired by memories collected over time, forms the focus of A Far Afternoon. Shot in Delhi, she shares how this project made her feel exhilarated and nervous at the same time. “It was thrilling to be working with such a legendary artist, whose works I’d only seen hanging on the walls of ITC Maurya in Delhi. But it was also quite intimidating because the general conception is that artists are moody and prone to tantrums. But Krishen was so warm and friendly. We even met his wife who was equally generous and welcomed us into their home with open arms,” says the model who considers Bengaluru her second home as her closest relatives live here. “I practically live half my life in Bengaluru, visiting aunts and uncles. I love the city and its people who are so open to new ideas and people,” she elaborates.
Approached by Piramal Art Foundation to film the 90-year-old seasoned artist in action, mainly as a way to archive the creation of the masterpiece, Subramanian shares that it unfolded so beautifully that they decided to turn it into a feature documentary. The film captures the artist, whose contemporaries include the likes of MF Hussain, as he goes about creating the 20-feet art piece, looks at his life as an artist, the various influences that have shaped him and touches upon his personal life too. With the film being selected to show as part of the international documentary competition at the All lights India International Film Festival, Kochi later this week, Subramaniam currently has her sights set firmly on victory.
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