Cinema is my way of exploring insecurities: Chaitanya Tamhane
(Sourced from PTI)
Cinema is a way of exploring insecurities, finding nuances and contradictions, and transforming it into a living, breathing story, says filmmaker Chaitanya Tamhane who is making strides internationally with his second film The Disciple. The film looks at the layered world of Indian classical music, and the making of it was a journey of finding answers and executing it methodically on paper, he said.
"It's the marriage of researching and finding nuances, contradictions, and complexities in this alien world of the Indian classical music, which I had no idea about," Tamhane said. "And then all of this is sort of transformed into an organic and, hopefully, living, breathing story, which you realize through the medium of cinema," the 34-year-old added, explained.
The Disciple has Oscar-winning Roma-director Alfonso Cuaron as executive producer. Cuaron, who met Tamhane through the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative for 2016-17, was so impressed with the story that he decided to back it. Cuaron was full of praise for Tamhane when they both sat down for an interview to promote the film ahead of its release on Netflix on April 30.
A Marathi film, set in the world of classical music in contemporary Mumbai, The Disciple encapsulates the journey of Sharad Nerulkar (actor-musician Aditya Modak), who diligently follows the traditions and discipline of his father and devotes his life to becoming a Hindustani classical music vocalist. However, over the years, Sharad starts to wonder whether it's really possible to achieve the excellence he's striving for.
Both the director and Cuaron called The Disciple a story that's grounded in humanity. "There is an increasing focus on individualism and success. We are a capitalistic, conquest-driven society right now. That's something I kind of wanted to get away from and explore something more real. The film is about the nuanced gap between success and failure where most of us lie," Tamhane said
The Disciple won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize and the Best Screenplay award at the 77th Venice International Film Festival. It was also screened at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was named a winner of the Amplify Voices Award. The film's international triumph has made Tamhane happy but the director looks forward to moving through genres, themes, and personal stories.
"It's a complicated thing, sometimes directors buy into their own story of having a signature. I, personally, want to become one with the story. I would want to be like Alfonso. For him, it's just the mastery and the control of the form," Tamhane said.