It’s a double bonanza for Ram Katru. Two of his films — Prakshalana, that he directed and Aayudham, that he produced — are the only Telugu films that will be featured at the Short Film Corner of the Festival De Cannes, where filmmakers can register and attend master classes, workshops and conferences to gain skills related to filmmaking and production. The event will take place in France between May 8 and May 19 this year and he sure is mighty excited.
“I have always been fascinated by films. Even in the US, where I spent 21 years to pursue a career in software, the love for cinema was always my mainstay. So much so that I enrolled in NYU Tisch School of the Arts for a programme in filmmaking. While it’s another story that I couldn’t finish it, I did manage to learn the skills,” he says.
While Ram didn’t act upon it immediately, he eventually returned to India and left his job to see what he’d be able to do in films. That’s how he collaborated with Sreedhar Rao, who directed Aayudham (a 22-minute short film), a crime drama that explores how an inanimate object like a weapon can create havoc in people’s lives, in early 2017.
“It was quite enjoyable for me to be part of the filmmaking process. That experience gave me the confidence to direct my first film as I was always hesitant. Prakshalana has been a journey of self-discovery and gave me a chance to view my own capability,” he shares, as he talks about the 19 minute neo noir drama.
The short film traces urban decay, as seen through the eyes of a taxi driver who works in the night. The story progresses as he meets various people who ride with him, while he gets to see impatience, opportunism, and other shades of grey commonly seen in humanity.
Talking about his first experience of directing a film, Ram shares, “We shot for seven days but did a pre-production of almost two months. The story takes place in the night and in a confined space of a taxi. So it was important to get the technicalities right and I am happy with the final result.”
So, is the team going to experience the extravaganza that Cannes is? “Well, we’d love to. But May is far and it sure can be an expensive affair. We will see the feasibility and decide by then,” concludes Ram, as he shares that Prakshalana and Aayudham have both gained recognition at international film festivals, held in cities like Venezuela, Moscow and Bucharest amongst others.