|Suddha (The Cleansing Rites)|
|Directed by||Ramchandra P. N.|
|Produced by||Sonk Films|
|Written by||Ramchandra P. N.|
|Edited by||Ramchandra PN|
Suddha, also called The Cleansing Rites, is an Indian film, the first-ever Tulu language film shot in the digital format. The 105-minute film was shot in 2004 in a village called Marnad near Mangalore, Karnataka, and was released in 2005. The film is an adaptation of the Tulu Sahitya Academy award-winning Tulu play called Bojja written by Mumbai-based playwright, Narayana Nandalike. Suddha was produced by three Mumbai Tuluvas Mohan Marnad, Surendra Kumar and Ramchandra PN. It was directed by Ramchandra PN, a graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India, Poona. Suddha was his first feature-length film.
Suddha depicts the death of the feudal system that existed among the Tulu speaking community in coastal Karnataka for many years, and the impact of The Land Ceiling Act which was ushered during the 1960s and 1970s, had on its social structure. It is the story of modern India – of changing caste equations and a realization of this reality among the land-owning class, albeit a bit late. Though the film is set in a remote village near Mangalore, it could well have happened in any other village elsewhere in India.
An ex-landlord family comes to terms with the fact that they are living in their last leg of feudal existence when it cannot perform a last rites in a grand manner in which it was once used to.
Use of sound
The uniqueness of this film is that it uses available lights and natural sounds. The sound tack or the sound design of this film as a text is something new to Tulu cinema. There is no background music in the film, carefully places sound effects themselves give the effect that music gives.
"The film uses the chirping of birds, flowing water and folklore-like songs extensively as its outdoor sound and ticking sound of clock for the indoor sound. The ticking sound of clock and a frequent presence of radio songs, successfully create a calm village house environment. The cinematography, by depicting the mud walls, wooden carvings of windows and doors and the lush greenery of the village helps to take this film to a next level."
International film festivals
Suddha has been screened at the following International Film Festivals.
- The Third Annual 'Bollywood and Beyond' Film festival, Stuttgart, Germany in the 'Cinema of Language' section in 2006
- 8th Osian's Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema, New Delhi 2006.
- The Split Film Festival, Split, Croatia, 2006
- Semi-finalist at the Moondance Film Festival, USA 2006.
- Austin Asian Film Festival, Austin United States, 2006
- The Chennai International Film Festival, Chennai, India, 2006
- Bring Your Own Film Festival, Puri, India 2007 (Inaugural Film)
- The Buffalo Niagara International Film Festival, 2007
- Karnataka Mini Digital Film Festival, India, 2007
- Swansea Bay International Film Festival, UK, 2007
- Golden Apricot International Film Festival, Armenia 2007
- Best Film in the Indian Competition Section at the Osian's Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema held at New Delhi, 2006.
- Best Film at the Karnataka Mini Digital Film Festival, India 2007
- Subash Padiwaal
- Boja Shetty
- Sharada Devi
- Sujata Mudradi
- Sai Krishna Kudla
- Aasha Marnad etc.
- Original Tulu play: Bojja by Narayan Nandalike
- Camera: Sameer Mahajan
- Audigraphy: Santosh Kumar
- Sound Editing: Amrit Pritam, Boby John
- Dialogues: Narayana Nandalike, Mohan Marnad, Surendra Kumar.
- Costumes, Properties, Continuity and Assistance: Sujatha
- Assistants: Ashok, Prakyat, Sunita
- Executive Producer: Surendra Kumar
- Location Manager: Ramesh Shetty
- Produced by: Mohan Marnad, Surendra Kumar, Ramchandra PN
- Production House: Sonk Films
- Screenplay, Editing, Sound Design & Direction: Ramchandra P.N.
- Shooting Format: Mini DV
- Duration: 105 minutes
The first Tulu cinema was released in 1971. Over the past thirty five years around 35 Tulu films have been made. The Tulu Film has no organised industry as such – in the sense that there is no comprehensive production, distribution and exhibition systems as it exists in the film industries of other Indian languages. The risk of making, distributing and exhibiting the film lies solely with the maker himself. The market for a Tulu film consists of only two districts (Dakshina Kannada and Udupi) in Coastal Karnataka, South India.
Digital feature film
Presently most independent documentaries in India are shot digitally. Over the years many short film makers have also sprung up, using the digital medium for their expression. But digital feature films in fiction are far and few in India. The Indian Feature film industry still prefers to shoot films in the celluloid format, although in recent times some films have been exhibited in the digital format. But films shot digitally either do not get a theatrical release (Pankaj Advani's 'Urf Professor') or are converted into celluloid and then released (Ram Madhvani's Let's Talk).
Alternative distribution system
Suddha got digitally screened in various colleges affiliated with the Mangalore University through DVD players and medium sized digital projectors. The Mangalore University caters to the two Tulu language speaking districts of Karnataka, South India. The local cultural troupes, amateur drama clubs and literary groups also helped giving platform to this film in its quest to reach its audience. Around hundred screenings have taken place; some of them in the most remote areas of the two districts. These screenings were facilitated by a modest grant from 'The Hubart Bals' fund, based out of the Netherlands.
"Half and [sic] hour to the first show, he switched on his TV set, connected it to a loud speaker, played some local music and smiled, ‘this would let the people know that a function is about to begin.’ Sure enough, the place gradually got filled and soon Kudkadi was seen excitedly talking about my film to his audience that mainly consisted of uneducated daily laborers working in and around the village."
(Source: Filmmaker's blog)
Writer and Filmmaker Ranjan Das in his regular column at mydigitalfc.com talks about how hard it was to get the film an audience.
"Mumbai-based filmmaker Ramchandra PN is a name that wouldn’t ring a bell to most filmgoers. In 2006, his Tulu language film, Sudhha, fetched an award for the Best Indian Film at the prestigious Osian Film Festival in Delhi, beating heavy duty competitors like Rituparno Ghosh, Girish Kasaravalli and Santosh Sivan. When he approached the owner of a giant media house and film lab in Mumbai, who incidentally hailed from his home state Karnataka, to hawk his film, the tycoongrumbled in Kannada —“Why didn’t you make the film in Hindi?”"
(Source: mydigitalfc.com article)
Tamara L. Falicov in her article named 'Migrating from South to North:The Role of Film Festivals in Funding and shaping global South Film and Video' also mentions this film in her article.
"The Indian Digital Feature film 'Suddha: The Cleansing Rites' (P.N. Ramchandra 2006), was shot entirely in Tulu language, spoken in two districts of Coastal Karnataka South India. The Hubart Bals Fund enabled the filmmaker to screen the film in these remote areas, where the public was grateful to see a film in their language."
(Source: Academia.com article)