Indie Odia film explores lesbianism, tribal folk dances and more

Updated: Dec 07, 2016, 15:30 IST | Krutika Behrawala

Watch an indie film from the eastern state, Odisha, to unlock mysteries of an unknown artist and delve into the lesbian conjurings of the mind

Capital I includes a sequence on Sambalpuri tribal Folk dance of Odisha
Capital I includes a sequence on Sambalpuri tribal Folk dance of Odisha

The cops break open the door of an abandoned house somewhere in Odisha, only to find no one inside. Instead, they discover pieces of paper containing abstract artwork and poetry, all stamped with a mysterious signature, Capital I. Curious about the unknown artist, Piyali (essayed by Pallavi Priyadarshini), a psychology student, and her physics professor embark on a journey to find out more about this person. What follows is their transformational journey with hallucinations et al, which forms the crux of the “existential psychodrama,” Capital I. Touted as the first independent feature of Odisha, the 85-minute film (Odia with English subtitles) that released in Bhubaneswar last month will premiere in the city this weekend. The screening is presented by 1018MB and Gaysi.

Actor-co-producer Susant Mishra and debutante Pallavi Priyadarshini
Actor-co-producer Susant Mishra and debutante Pallavi Priyadarshini

Laws of existence
“The concept of the film revolves around a quote by [French writer-poet] Andre Breton, who is considered the father of surrealism. It says, ‘Living and ceasing to live are two imaginary solutions; existence is elsewhere’. The film is an attempt to throw light on several psychoanalytic perceptions, including existence beyond life and death,” says 29-year-old Kolkata-born, Odisha-based filmmaker Amartya Bhattacharyya, who makes his feature directorial debut with Capital I. Last year, he won the National Award For Best Non-Feature Cinematography for Benaras — The Unexplored Attachments.

A still from Capital I
A still from Capital I

Unravel the subplot
A narrative integral to the plot is a lesbian relationship featuring the lead character, Piyali. “She has a long-distance boyfriend in Delhi, who is unable to satisfy her sexually since he is submissive. Deprived of pleasure, she goes into a trance and hallucinates an alter-ego, who is a dominant feminine lesbian partner,” explains the director, who has also interwoven sequences of Sambalpuri, a tribal Folk dance of Odisha, into the film. “It carries the narrative forward. While most films only use songs as a means to carry the narrative forward, I have also included paintings and poetry that are integral to the plot,” he adds.

Director Amartya Bhattacharyya
Director Amartya Bhattacharyya

Completed on a shoestring budget of roughly R5 lakh in 2014, the film was shot on an entry-level DSLR, Canon 550D. “We shot in Bhubaneswar, Puri and the outskirts of Odisha. At a point, we would only have four or five people in the crew. All the actors are debutants,” shares co-producer Swastik Choudhury. The film has done the rounds of the festival circuit, and was an official selection at last year’s International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), the first Odia film in the 20 years of the festival’s history.

On: December 4, 12 pm 
At: Cinepolis, Shah Industrial Estate, opposite New Link Road, Andheri (W)
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Cost: Rs 225

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