Thought Box



by Vinta Nanda April 16 2023, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 40 secs

Vidivaanam (a first dawn) explores a deeper reflection of very basic concern for our very existence through music, movement and verse, reflects Sharada in a quick conversation with Vinta Nanda

Sharada Ramanathan is an Indian film director, cultural thinker and writer.  She made her directorial debut in the 2007 Tamil film Sringaram, which won three National Film Awards. Her second film Puthiya Thiruppangal is awaiting release. In 2014, she directed Natyanubhava, a documentary film about Indian classical dance, featuring the top dancers and film technicians in India.

Vidivaanam, a short film directed by her, is an unusual collaboration between arts and the cinematic. And, the sound of the music is only of percussion instruments. It features today's top Bharatanatyam dancer Priyadarshini Govind and India's foremost theatre actor Vinay Kumar of Adishakti repertory. The film is shot by Madhu Ambat, music is composed by Selva Ganesh uniquely using ONLY percussion instruments, and in a rare gesture underwritten by a leading hospital at Chennai, Kauvery Hospital.


We had a quick chat with Sharada about her latest venture Vidivaanam.  

How did the making of this film come about?

We made a short called Adivaanam - The Horizon, during the COVID lockdown, which was a reflection of how a calamity we had brought upon ourselves had universally affected every single human on this planet equally. A phenomenon we had seen for the first time in our lifetimes. Vidivaanam is a post-COVID reflection and reminder of what we have been through and a wake-up-call to at least now start becoming the change. So, we decided to do something unique. A short film, using dance, movement and theatre to express this message.

Where did the inspiration come from?

The inspiration came from one's own motivation to express a deeper concern about the human condition in relation to its environment and health. 

Talk a bit about the journey and process of the making of this film.

It struck me that art and poetry can be evocative mediums to express a thought. When I spoke to Priyadarshini Govind and Vinay Kumar, they were willing to give it a shot. Both have moved out of their comfort zones (and their very busy schedules!)  to explore this collaboration. Madhu Ambat, of course, is always game to try something new and lights up like no other DOP can. Swati VAR, the writer and poet, and I, did multiple sittings to find the best possible words and verses to convey the thought.

When Selva Ganesh saw a couple of rushes, he was inspired to try and experiment with just percussion instruments for the background score. Sathish Suriya is a new-age editor who saw this as a break from his commercial projects. So even in the process, all the participants had a take-away!

It is not often that you get support for a project like this, But Kauvery Hospital underwrote the costs and are hopefully the happier for it! We need an abundance of support for basic but profound thoughts to become creative expressions that can then become a chain of consciousness. How great would that be?!

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