On day two of META, documentary filmmaker and director KM Chaitanya spoke about his first feature film Aa Dinagalu. The film is based on the book Dadagiriya Dinagalu and is about the killing of Kotwal Ramachandra, a former member of Bangalore’s underworld.
“I made the film for selfish reasons”, Chaitanya began. “While others saw the story of an underworld don getting murdered, I saw a love story which was worth telling”. Chaitanya said he chose not to cast mainstream actors so that people would see the story for what it was—“otherwise, they will only see a star”.
Chaitanya kept the talk informal and shared his experiences of making the film. His solemn expression didn’t change as he recounted funny stories of working with the underworld. “Once, we shot with actual rowdies and not artists. But there were no untoward incidents”. People in the audience looked at each other, horrified, before bursting into laughter.
He also spoke about the problems faced by Kannada filmmakers. Commenting on the state of creative freedom in the Kannada film industry, he said that it was a fight for survival. “There are struggles and censor issues, but we learn to find our space along the way”.
The audience questioned the director about his career and the making of Aa Dinagalu. “It was a nightmare recreating the 1960s atmosphere in 2007. We filmed between six and seven in the morning, before Bengaluru came back to its 2007-self”.