'I noticed the audience warming up to The Blueberry Hunt at different points. The surprise was the reaction from the aam aadmi (the common man). They loved the film!'
Director Anup Kurian discusses his film.
Filmmaker Anup Kurian's recent film The Blueberry Hunt has been called 'bizarre' and yet, certain audiences have enjoyed it.
The film sees Naseeruddin Shah play the protagonist named ‘Colonel’, who waits for his Marijuana crops to harvest.
The film has been shot in Kerala, where the filmmaker hails from, and it has taken years for it to release in theatres.
The Blueberry Hunt is Kurian's second film after his 2004 release Manasarovar, which won accolades at several film festivals.
In this e-mail interview with Rediff.com contributor Vijay George, Kurian responds candidly about his film and the reactions it has garnered.
The Blueberry Hunt has received both bouquets and brickbats. Were you expecting this reaction?
Absolutely. During the screenings, I noticed the audience warming up to the film at different points. The surprise was the reaction from the aam aadmi (the common man). They loved the film!
They just wanted to watch a story unfold.
A few did not connect with the film. That was also expected.
Naseeruddin Shah has reportedly said in an interview that he regretted doing The Blueberry Hunt. Why do you think he said that?
I have no idea.
Are you happy with the reactions to the film?
When you make a film like The Blueberry Hunt, you are also experimenting with an uncommon style and storytelling. The film's best reviews -- reviews where you notice a sophistication in reading and analyzing -- were from cinema lovers on Facebook and WhatsApp.
This is a pattern we notice on IMDB and other forums...interesting analysis of films are by film lovers.
Why did the film get so delayed in reaching theatres?
In business terms, the delay happened because of a 'liquidity crunch,' which means I was broke!
Making a film requires funds. Taking the film to theatres, running an interesting campaign, making sure the film gets good screens/show times also require funds. This took time.
Some critics have called the film tepid and inert. How do you respond to such criticisms?
Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
You have adopted a narrative pattern that is bizarre at times, which Indians are not familiar with, leaving the viewers to make their own assumptions about the protagonist, Naseeruddin Shah. How is the response to your experiment?
The question shows you understood the film. The screenplay of The Blueberry Hunt will give you the feel for a thriller. The graphic novel follows the screenplay. The film extends the screenplay. We have Elephants, the Nagaland group Cultural Vibrants, a lazy sweet dog addicted to television and so on.
Colonel is a pet name given by the locals. No one knows his real name. This is a man who kills in cold blood, but takes out an earthworm from the pit he is digging and gently places it on the side.
You have Naseeruddin Shah, the great actor essaying the character. People have commented that it's beautiful and that they never expected the story to go this way. Even the music in the film (by Paresh and Naresh Kamath of Hipnotribe) was liked and disliked in equal measure. In our day and age, feedback is instant and diverse.
How was your experience shooting The Blueberry Hunt with actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Vipin Sharma and Aahana Kumra in Kerala?
Vagamon has unspoiled nature, lush on the screen, is difficult to traverse. The seclusion of the area, the feel that you are away from civilization probably helped the actors.
The film marks the debut of talented actors like Aahana Kumra, PJ Unnikrishnan and PT Manoj, as well as Marathi-Hindi playback singer Kirthi Killedar, lyricist Murali Bandaru, music director Dheen Dhayal and fashion designer Sarah Eapen.
Have you started working on any new project?
The last few years while waiting for The Blueberry Hunt to release, I was working on a screenplay...it is a man’s quest to find a cure for heartbreaks.