Art of cinema

Art of cinema

Walter D’cruz takes the path he believes in even though it goes against the currents of conventionalism and commercialism.

Writer and award-winning documentary director Walter D’Cruz is scouting for UAE-based talent to be part of the cast and crew of his debut feature Puthapp, finds out Deepa Gauri

Walter D’cruz takes the path he believes in even though it goes against the currents of conventionalism and commercialism.

That is why he is unhesitant to describe his debut feature film titled Puthappu (The Blanket) as an ‘art movie.’ He says that those who deny the dichotomy of arthouse and mainstream films are simply refusing to take a stand.

“I believe that, more than ever before, arthouse movies have greater relevance now,” says Walter. “The Malayalam film industry, even the so-called new generation cinema, has become so utterly commercialised that it is important for arthouse films to find and define their space.”

He is only being fair. After all, Kerala has one of the most illustrious histories in contemporary cinema with veteran directors like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Aravindan, John Abraham and Shaji N. Karun cutting a trail that few ever ventured into. They brought global glory and fame to Malayalam cinema before arthouse films were branded as pretentious and too intellectual.

“Independent film directors have always been a minority,” says Walter, “but that does not diminish their significance because they inspire new cinematic expressions and push the boundaries.”

Walter is going the next step by reaching out to talent in the UAE to be part of the cast and crew of the film, which is essentially about the romantic and emotional turbulence of an artist. “There are so many people here who were once active in independent cinema and then turned into their shells simply because they are expatriates. I want to reach out to them as well as emerging talent.”

With Puthappu, Walter is attempting to create a new idiom in independent filmmaking where the talent drawn is not limited by geography, more so because the film’s ethos is universal. “There is definitely a prototype of Van Gogh’s life in the film,” says Walter. “The acting will be both stylised and natural, and the script has a strong literary leaning.”

Confined to the boundaries of the artist’s studio, Puthappu does not however limit itself to the lives of the protagonists – the artist and his muse. It also explores how the happenings in the world affect them at all levels.

Having earned acclaim for his documentary film on artist TK Padmini titled The Girl Who Flew A Kite, Walter has also been a co-writer of the feature film Thakarachenda.

His documentary on Padmini, an artist who died young leaving behind a rich legacy of paintings, won the special jury mention at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala. It also won the award for best documentary at the Female Film Festival and state television award for best director.

Puthappu started off as a short story, which was being planned to be made for theatre before it finally took shape as a feature film.

Walter has already completed the audio CD of the film, which is essentially the musical rendition of a poem by A Ayyappan, composed by Anand Mettunkal and recited by accomplished poet Anwar Ali.

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