The rant of every old Bangalorean is being echoed once again—the city has changed and there seems to be no going back. Speaking through the emotions and expressions of his protagonist Babruvahana, director Swaroop Kanchi, 26, addresses his engagement with change in his latest movie Bengaloored. Babruvahana, a young author, returns to Bangalore after 10 years to find that the city he grew up in is no longer home. The movie traces his attempt to escape the reality of change and the situations that force him to accept it.
Rolling reel: (clockwise from top left) Actors Harish Raj and Meghana play the lead in Bengaloored; On the sets of Bengaloored; and director Swaroop Kanchi talks about the inevitability of change.
Kanchi, who has been making short films from the age of 16, shot to fame with his 2007 film Hong Kong Dreaming, which talks about how a small fishing village became the big city that is Hong Kong today. “It was a movie about change and at the same time every time I came back to Bangalore after a gap of a few months, I’d see that the city had changed,” says Kanchi, who grew up in Bangalore’s Malleswaram area. “So in a way it’s my story and it’s the story of anybody who has lived in the city since their childhood,” he says.
The film has Harish Raj and Meghana, successful actors from the Kannada film industry, in the lead. The director debuts as an actor. Playing the role of Babruvahana’s childhood friend, Kanchi’s character as a monk is part of the change that the movie’s main character struggles to deal with. “When I say change, I am not talking about just the city, it’s the people, the culture and so many things that one finds hard to identify with after having moved away for a while,” he says.
The music, which includes five Hindi tracks and one in Kannada, has been composed by Vasu Dixit, the frontman of the folk rock band Swarathma. The decision to have Hindi tracks was a conscious one, to appeal to a national audience. “Though you will find elements of Swarathma in the music, I have made a conscious effort to break away and make it different,” says Dixit, who is making his debut as a film music director with this project.
Kanchi began work on the film’s script in June 2009 and finished shooting and editing the first cut by December. Keen on an all-India release, the director has been trying to find ways and methods to clinch slots with multiplexes. “It’s the big fish against the small fish, quite literally,” he says, talking about the past year that has had so many big releases. Almost all the promotion for the film has been done on the Internet and via social media networking. With an interactive website called www.bengaloored.com, a Facebook page and presence on Twitter, the film has been gathering support over the past months. But the fate of the film, he is aware, will be decided when the public views it. “ If it does well, we’ll call it commercial, else it’s an art film,” he quips not willing to categorize his low-budget film.
Bengaloored will release in select multiplexes in Delhi and Mumbai this Friday.