Failures are pillars of success - was the tag line of the very first short film I ever made! This has proved to be true in many instances of my life. Here is another instance.
Im going to celebrate this one. Not necessarily for the awards but its like seeing one of your babies that nearly died, not only live but thrive.
I recall the first time A Mahari's Prayer was staged. It was 2016 in Bangalore and it was a premature baby. Before the show it was 3 days of no sleep like no sleep(after 2 wks of half sleep and 4 months of running around india)! I was attempting a mammoth task of making a series of experimental films (4) for a theatre show which was going to intertwine the stage and the screen. It hadn't been done before but I knew it was possible. We travelled all over south india filming it, it was in 5 different languages, 3 of which I just didnt know but managed to figure out with the help of some amazing folk! and We had a crew and cast of about a 100 and 4 extra talented and experimental dancers and one eccentric director (me!) who everyone trusted with absolute blind faith. Special mention to Pradeep who didn't know a word of Oriya but picked it up under a lot of pressure in 2 weeks! Shweta stood by him as the amazing costar that she was.
So didn't sleep for 3 days! and at 5:30 am the day of the show, we just finished editing A mahari's prayer and sound was about to be synched, when the sound engineer at the time, literally walked out. What was left to do? Riyas Bhai the editor and myself ended up doing the sound synch. After which I did the subtitles, we went to the auditorium in Bangalore about an hour before the show and they connected the hard drive to the projection system and the hard drive blew up!! Something in me instead of sinking to the floor, went on aeroplane mode. I believe it was me accepting Murphy's law!
Luckily I had saved another copy, secretly on my laptop of all of the stories, but because Mahari was the last one we had editied, the sound of this version was not fully synched and neither were the subtitles. A Mahari's prayer was the first story to be staged, Shwetha was ready and about to go on stage.
What was one to do but to announce a half hour delay and I sat there re-editing the whole thing trying to make it make sense.
I still remember how Shwetha trusted me. It was as if I asked her to jump in water not knowing its depth. And guess what...? she did it. She trusted in me and she trusted in her art. For this I'm forever grateful. That show, although we had many technical difficulties. The dancers made it happen and the audience enjoyed it. We also received criticism which I take full responsibility for. Yes I perhaps underestimated the size of that project!
A year and a bit later in Perth WA. We had the opportunity to restage this production. To be honest from the time I staged the show in Bangalore till the time I staged the show in Perth, I didn't stop working. I owed it to all those people who trusted me. So I kept developing it and when the artists came to Perth, they gave it all they had again. All the dance choreographies for their respective sections were done by them (Shweta Odissi, Shruti Mohiniattam, Prateeksha Kuchipudi, Avijit Kucipudi). Sreenath Muthalaya did the contemporary choreography which was enhanced by Jordan Muthu. I'm happy to say that the Perth production was successfully staged.
We had wanted to tour this production! but of course COVID...
I did however decide, enter the recording of this production, each section separately, into various film competitions. The first production I've entered is A Mahari's Prayer and I'm so grateful that its been an
Official Selection in Phoenix Short Film Festival (Toronto)
Finalist in Eurasia International Monthly Film Festival (Moscow)
and its won
Best Stage Play in 4th Dimension Independent Film Festival (Bali)
Best Performing Art Award in Cineville Calcutta Global Cinefest (Kolkatta)
Best Experimental Film Chhatrapti Shivaji International Film Festival (Pune)
Best Multimedia Film in Indo-Global International Film Festival (Mumbai)
Best Experimental Film in Platonic Film Festival (Punjab)
I just wanted to say thank you to the team that stood by my madness throughout it all. Thank you for your trust and these wins are for you. From the bottom of my heart 😊🙏 and Well done guys!!! 🙌❤️
I truly pray that this production doesn't stop here and we will be taking this around the world like we planned!