• Sat, Jul 20, 2024

Enter Srinivas

interviews Aug 16, 05:49pm

YATIN DAWRA  “I think the madness and chaos of the mind makes us do what we want to do.” says Srinivas Sunderrajan, aka Vaas,


“I think the madness and chaos of the mind makes us do what we want to do.” says Srinivas Sunderrajan, aka Vaas, aka the bassist for Scribe, as he comes out of the jam room and we find him sitting on the director’s chair for the second time with his new project called Greater Elephant, a film that, unlike his first – The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project (TUKKP) – is more metaphorical than metaphysical. The film, which won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature at 2011's South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF) is currently seeking crowd-funding help in order to ensure distribution within India. 

“What if the mahout wakes up the next morning, and finds that his elephant is missing?” is the big bang singular thought of Greater Elephant that set its universe into place. It was back in college when Mr. Vaas’s eyes stumbled upon a man with an elephant, “as one of those small ‘observations’ in your head which then develops slowly into an idea, concept, story, script and finally materializing into an audio-visual medium like films!” We chat with him about his new project and his views on the independent film scenario in the country.


How was the experience of shooting The Greater Elephant different from The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project?

TUKKP was much more personal and external involvement (huge cast/crew/production etc) was negligible. With Greater Elephant – since the script required a motley cast and various locations, the entire production was upped in comparison to TUKKP. I collaborated with a lot of new, creative and innovative people/minds, and the energy and vibe was excellent. Though there were some compromises, but at the end of the day, we all have no complaints because we really enjoyed the journey and in the process – found our own purpose in life!”

Even though it isn’t Bollywood, it certainly doesn’t feel like parallel cinema. Where do you think your films stand in the country?

“It’s difficult to categorize such films into already existing genres or tags. A year back I would have used the term ‘indie’ – but right now, it’s a very exploited term. Similarly, ‘small budget/no budget’ cinema also have no place to stand. I am not sure whether I want to make films to be categorized into anything – because that defeats the purpose of the medium and spirit. Minimal fabrication/guerrilla approaches are used because of the lack of support system (financially and man-power wise). If answered at gun-point, I would definitely say that Greater Elephant is mainstream because it’s a story everyone can relate to!”

The producers, however, don’t find it mainstream enough to interpret it into a business proposition, which is why Srinivas has gone to the people and adopted the crowd sourcing approach. What is crowd sourcing? It is like Goku asking the people of the Earth for their energies to form a spirit bomb. If you are not a Dragon Ball fan then the term for you is ‘public-funded-movie-project’. We get our super saiyan to talk more about this technique.

What is your take on the crowd sourcing? What made you think that people would want to put their money into an independent film?

“Well, I think crowd sourcing is a novel approach/platform. It has a very ‘independent streak’ about it. For people like us, who have struggled to raise funds from corporates because of our belief in stories, crowd funding is a boon, for the lack of better adjectives. One can never predict human behavior. That’s why I jumped onto the crowd sourcing platform to test the waters. The choice to contribute is completely left to the people – there’s no force whatsoever. It’s just the blind belief that people usually crib about the lack of good stories in films. And that’s why they look at independent cinema to give them that satisfaction. Such lovers of cinema/story are the ones who would contribute (excluding friends/families/relatives etc).”

What is the procedure involved? Is there anything that the contributor gets in return?

“You usually get in touch with the crowd funding organizers (in my case, Wishberry.in) and then follow the yellow brick road! Oh yes, depending on the contribution, the person gets back some kind of a souvenir in relation to the film. For example, a contribution of 2,500 rupees will you get an exclusive T-shirt of the film or for 5,000 rupees you get an autographed DVD of the film. So for every contribution there’s like a return gift that is not ‘money’ but a ‘part of the film’. 

Crowd sourcing makes the contributor a part of the art but does it give the art the mass? Does it go beyond its utility and get people on to a common cause? A cause that directs liberation? Does it? Does it? We get Utopian in our little talk.

“In our country, an ‘artistic explosion’ means CHAOS in the literal sense. There’s hardly a collective consciousness in the ‘art scene’ to actually transform into a full fledged revolution. We’re all on the brink of something beyond that. The focus should be to self-sustain rather than revolt,” is what Mr V has to say. The better world may also feature a documentary by him on apna music scene as he confesses to giving it a thought.

Coming back to Greater Elephant, the film rests in those final stages of distribution and Vaas is looking at you to provide support so that it reaches a theatre near you. Type your way to http://www.wishberry.in/Greater-Elephant-13523 to know more about the film and what you can do about it.

Check out trailers of his films below:

The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project 

Greater Elephant 


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