Filmmaker Shaji N Karun’s latest, Olu (She), had its world premiere at the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival yesterday.
Set amongst the stunning backwaters of Kerala, the film tells the story of a woman, Maya, who is gangraped and dumped to die.
But instead of dying, she discovers another life in the depths of the backwaters. As her story becomes entwined with mythologies from different cultures, fantasy, nature and art, the film explores the idea of the purity of love.
Speaking about Olu, Shaji emphasized the role of fantasy and imagination in making films: “Cinema for me is a kind of discovery. Olu is a fantasy film. Fantasy and ideas are very important in a film.”
The auteur recollected the way in which watching his grandson smile inspired him to contemplate the role of imagination and dreams, an idea that found fruition in the film.
Emphasizing the centrality of nature in the film, he pointed out that nature has always influenced stories. “The moon is the main character in the film,” he said. “Many poems are written to the moon when in love. This kind of fantasy is very important in art.”
He also appreciated the significance of his film being premiered in the cinema-loving city of Kolkata. “I am very proud that my latest film is getting its world premiere here in Kolkata,” he said, and spoke of his many connections with the city.