Producer Guruprasad Bhat writes about his Satyavati journey.
Most of us choose to be strangers. To each other, to society, to asking uncomfortable questions and seeking uncomfortable answers. Whatever doesn’t fit our own definition of ‘normal’, we label as ‘strange’.
It was back in January of 2015 when a friend and I decided to not pursue a venture we had dreamt about. At that time, failed ventures were not new to me. The silver lining was that it was a period of great learning. It was around the same time that I met Deepthi. It was evident in the first few minutes to me that she is a person determined to succeed. Today, as I see the film come together, more so exactly how she had narrated it to me, it is very satisfying. It’s like the icing on the cake after a very new and creative journey for me, considering I am from IT. Yes, I have no film related background. I am (was) a stranger to the process and the workings of a film team.
Through the journey, I have also come to learn of Deepthi’s prior struggles in trying to make the film happen and it only reinforced a sense of satisfaction in me that I haven’t just invested in a good subject but also in the right person.
Corrective rape was a term that was alien to me until I met Deepthi and heard about the concept. And then, I was shocked. After she told me more about her homework, research and why this is an important story to tell, I was happy that I was associating myself with a story that is about something that needs awareness around it. It is an important story to tell the society because the success of any society depends not just on how it protects its legacies and traditions but also on how equal it is and how it treats people who ‘are different’. These are minorities – be it the introverts, intellectuals, the physically handicapped, the emotionally handicapped and oppressed or the LGBT. Their voices are feeble and usually lost in the din of the society. Often, a lot of these people get victimized in many ways and the perpetrators of such acts know well that they can get away with victimizing. And that is why crimes like corrective rape exist. The larger society that doesn’t want to have anything to do with these minorities treats them as strangers. Important questions are never asked. No attempts are made to find answers. Any discussion is conveniently brushed under the carpet of hypocrisy. Anyone who tries to talk about these subjects are given strange stares as well. ‘Why are you talking about gays? Are you gay too?’ – often, a question like this is enough to make a ‘normal’ person hesitant to ask further questions.
I found out about Satyavati via its first crowd funding campaign. I was a total stranger then. All I did was try to get in touch and see if I could be of any help. It was a life changing moment. Not only does my team have a wonderful story to tell today, but I am happy we are not strangers anymore. It also made me realize that often, to change things, all we need to do is ask. We won’t remain strangers anymore! We are all humans, and all we have is each other. None of us is getting out of here alive; we might as well make the journey for each other a happy one.
I am sure Satyavati will start a very important discussion, as it rightly should. I feel proud to see the way the film is shaping up. Although we have finished shooting it, we have a long way to go before the film can see daylight (or the darkness of a cinema hall). It has been an arduous journey with a lot of hard work, passion and sleepless nights put together by the entire team. Each time there was a schedule related pressure, people have stood up to make themselves count. The cast and crew have given nothing but support. When there is so much passion and sincerity, only good can come out of it. We have seen times when we needed to withdraw money but no ATM in the vicinity would work; we have also seen times when a shot would get delayed for one reason or another but when we finally are able to roll, we find that the moon has beautifully come into the frame making the shot a memorable one!
That’s all about the filmmaking journey. The more important debate is surrounding the subject of the film. It’s not a subject we should ignore or brush under the carpet. It’s not a subject we must choose to be strangers with. I made my decision – it has changed my life – and I couldn’t be prouder that I am not a stranger anymore.