Actor-filmmaker Ananth Mahadevan isn’t new to the film festival circuit, both in India and on international soil. Now, the National Award-winning director is elated that two of his films — ‘Bittersweet’ and ‘The Knocker’ — are official selections at the 52nd edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa. Ananth, who directed films like ‘Dil Mange More’, ‘Dil Vil Pyar Vyar’ and ‘Aksar,’ has been making films in Marathi and other regional languages. He has also acted in super hit movies like ‘Chandni’, ‘Khiladi’, ‘Baazigar’, ‘Baadshah’ etc.
Speaking exclusively in an interview, he said, “The short film ‘The Knocker’ came out of what was a filmmaker’s withdrawal symptom during the lockdown. I just had to get in front of behind the camera. Fortunately, I own an HD Sony camera. So, I got down to writing, directing, acting and (the toughest part) photographing the film and even editing on paper before stepping into a studio. Ashvin Gidwani took over the post-production and saw the film through to international festivals.”
‘Bittersweet’ is a dramatic probe into the horrific ritual of hysterectomy forced on women sugarcane cutters in the Beed district of Maharashtra. “The film was an official selection at the prestigious Busan International Film Festival and has done 13 fests since then. More importantly, two women producers made their debut with this film, Suchhanda Chatterjee and Shubha Shetty.”
Ananth adds, “I am happy. They tell me that this is the first time that a filmmaker has been selected in two categories at the IFFI. It helps me showcase my work as an actor and director to a discerning audience. A rare opportunity and a pleasant surprise.”
Sharing his thoughts on the trend of remaking cult films in Bollywood Ananth expresses his reservations. He adds, “Remakes are a strict no-no for me. I did do a remake of the ‘80s caper ‘Victoria No 203’ but it was a catch 22. If you innovate, the audience feels you haven’t done justice to the original. If I stick to a scene by scene remake, it disappoints me as I have made no contribution as a filmmaker.”