An experimental short film “Kalawa’’ shot by the young filmmaker of Dahod, won an award for ‘The Best Experimental film’ at 7th Goa short film festival, 2020. This film was an endeavour to show humans and their concurrence with nature in an experimental manner. The film’s diverse method to present the issue got an eye of the festival from India and abroad.
Kalawa is a sacred thread used in Hindu rituals. It is tied up on hands or in the neck. In many regions of India, Kalawa is used to worship nature and trees. In the film, Kalawa is used at certain points where it gives hints about the central theme of the film.
Kalawa has been selected in 4 film festivals that incorporate an International film celebration in Shimla, Paris plays, Cinema Estudantil de Guaíba Brasil, and 7th Goa Short Film Festival where it won an honour. The film will continue its run in film festivals throughout 2021.
The Director Kaushik Garasiya is a new alumnus from Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. He accompanied the possibility of a test film about human’s greedy consciousness. After observing and discovering about the idea of the film with Vihang Rathod, who is pursuing a course in Editing at Satyajit Ray Film and TV Institute of India, Kolkata, Vihang came on board as cinematographer and editor.
Rahul Kaveeshwar, Kaushik’s FTII batchmate joined as sound recordist and designer of the Film. Afterwards, Vihang chose to produce the film as well. This film was shot in the timberlands of Devgadh Baria Forest range, Pipero-Dhanpur. Large portion of individuals in the film is friends and family who stepped for the first time on any film set.
Filmmakers rising up from the tribal region and community will have a different point of view with their movies. It sounds promising for the fate of indigenous culture and stories in their future film cinema.
The idea came up when Kaushik Garasiya was doing the location scout of his student film Valan during his course at FTII. “At that time it was a simple thought that we human beings are taking more than what we actually need. While growing up we saw and heard stories about our ancestors worshiping the trees and nature in our native villages. But, at the same time, human penetrating the jungles and destroying it on an immense level. We wanted to show those both things in an experimental way and we ended up with this storyline,” said Garasiya.
“We wanted to shoot the film at the real-location. As Dahod is our hometown, we were look- in for the location nearest to the home. This film was shot in the real jungle near Dhanpur, 40km away from Dahod,” he added.
Most of the crew is based in Dahod only and majority of them were friends and family. Kaushik Garasiya and Vihang Rathod are childhood friends and they are in the same field for the last many years. For the sound, Rahul Kaveeshwar was Kaushik’s batchmate at FTII. Rahul and Kaushik had collaborated before for their student film at FTII. In this film, more than 90% of the crew belongs to the tribal community of the region.
This film was planned to shoot in 3 days. “We shot in the jungle for 2 days and 1 day in the city. Due to Covid-19, the post production delayed until September. We completed the shooting in January. It took 9 months to complete this short film. Shooting in real locations, especially locations like the jungle is really challenging as you can’t control everything”, said Garasiya.
He added saying “The spot we were shooting was 3KM walking distance from the place where we parked our vehicles. In the jungle, the light changes every minute. We very much relied on the real light source as we were very low on the budget. But we believe that the real location shaped us in a better way as filmmakers because it turns up with new challenges every time and we have to tackle it in the best possible way.”
This film was shot on Canon 5D Mark IV with the lens Tamron 24-70mm and Canon 70- 200mm with the Zoom H6 Sound recorder. They used reflectors and small LEDs as light sources.
During the shooting the crew had to face many difficulties which included convincing the forest officials. “Two days before the shoot, when we went for the last round of the location scout we heard a shouting voice in the jungle. We stopped and saw two men in uniform coming towards us. They asked us about the purpose coming to that place every day. I explained them about the shooting of the film and said to have all the permissions and papers in the car. One asked to come along with them and called someone informing to have arrested four men. We tried to convince him that we are filmmakers and tried to show the papers, but he refused to read. Later a forest officer came and I handed over the papers of permission which he confirmed with the higher authorities. The officer smiled after understanding what we were doing and told us that they had information about some suspicious people coming into the jungle everyday so they planned to arrest us,” narrated Garasiya.