Chaitanya Tamhane The Disciple at Venice movie pageant

Saibal Chatterjee

It was method again in 2001 that India final had a Competition entry in one of many ‘Big Three’ European movie festivals (Cannes, Venice and Berlin) — Mira Nair’s Golden Lion-winning Monsoon Wedding. It has taken 19 years for the drought to finish. Chaitanya Tamhane’s sophomore effort, The Disciple, a Marathi-language drama located on the planet of Hindustani classical music, will vie for the highest prize on the 77th Venice Film Festival (September 2 to 12).

Tamhane’s new movie is a world aside from his 2014 debut, Court, which fetched him the Orizzonti Best Film award in Venice. Court was an unrelentingly grim examination of India’s justice system.

In The Disciple, Tamhane drifts into a very completely different milieu. Will he convey into play the identical unerring eye for element that made Court such an exquisite movie? “I was not familiar with either setting, which is what attracted me in the first place,” he says. His strategy to storytelling, which rests on a zeal to probe new areas and provide you with contemporary insights unsullied by preconceived notions, provides the 33-year-old writer-director the sting.

Says Tamhane: “The Disciple needed plenty of research. I required some knowledge of Indian classical music before I could start.” So, he deep-dived “without any agenda or story in mind” into what was a brand new area for him.

The Disciple, in response to the movie’s synopsis, is a few younger man who “has devoted himself to becoming an Indian classical vocalist, a lifelong quest in which few succeed. Initiated into this centuries-old tradition by his father, he follows his dream with sincerity and discipline, committing himself entirely to his artistic journey.”

The Disciple guarantees to be a distillation of Tamhane’s discovery of a Mumbai sub-culture. He wasn’t into Indian classical music as a boy. “I wasn’t even a listener. I was a ’90s kid, growing up on a staple of Hindi films, Marathi television and mainstream theatre,” he says.

So when, and why, did he resolve that he would flip the highlight on classical music in his second movie? “The starting point for me,” he provides, “were the anecdotes I heard about classical music masters of the past and present. These stories fascinated me…. Classical music obviously has a rich history.… It is a complex world with a lot of different nuances, contradictions and complications.”

Significantly, Tamhane has solid two classical vocalists — 30-something Aditya Modak and 77-year-old Arun Dravid — to play the important thing characters in The Disciple. The problem, he says, was to “find people who could sing and act, have screen presence, and have the inclination and time required for the project”.

When he began out, he puzzled if classical music was truly nonetheless alive and kicking in Mumbai. “When I actually started attending these concerts, I realised what a vibrant and dynamic sub-culture this is in the city. I was very surprised.” The Disciple, he says, is “a new way of looking at Mumbai”.

Does a visit to Venice seem doable on the juncture? “We are trying our best,” he says. Depends on the visas, flights and the scenario in Mumbai. We are hoping to make it even when it is just for the world premiere.”

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