She, an upcoming Kannada telefilm, written, directed and edited by filmmaker Lohit Ravi, will release on MX Player on Friday, Lohit said in a conversation with Silverscreen India.
Speaking to us, Lohit, a Bangalore-based filmmaker who has directed 15-20 short films, said, “It is a crime thriller drama. Though I cannot reveal too many details about it, the film is about a girl who has faced injustice at the hands of powerful people and what happens when she goes after them. It is a female-oriented revenge thriller film.”
Lohit said that he has followed a hyperlink form of narrative, with two stories happening at the same time that will connect at the 40th minute of the film.
Calling himself a ‘big fan’ of Tamil filmmaker Lokesh Kanagaraj, Lohit said that he draws inspiration from his work. “Like his film Maanagaram (2017), which has four stories, this one will have two stories. It will go back and forth, hyperlinked with dialogues. Like Lokesh’s Kaithi, in She, I have avoided elements that are typically found in commercially successful films, such as comedy sequences. However, while Kaithi has a few fight sequences, mine does not have any. I initially had a 15-minute plot in mind, but as I wrote the screenplay, it became a one hour-long film,” he said.
She’s scripting began during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, said Lohit. The story came from an incident he witnessed on the roads of Bengaluru in 2019. “I happened to see this incident where the person in question did not get justice for what they went through. I cannot elaborate, but ever since I witnessed the incident, it has been pestering me. I was determined to make a film on it. I have exaggerated this scene a bit in the film; it takes place when the two stories connect,” he added.
The film was shot completely in Bengaluru except for a song sequence featuring a blind girl hitchhiking on a highway. This was filmed on the Tumkur highway.
She’s cast members all have a background in theatre. Barath Gowda plays the male lead. “He plays a character named Dhruv. I found the female lead Rishika Naik through Instagram. There is a three-minute monologue in which she has to cry and perform while narrating. This scene required the skills of a theatre actor. Along with them, there are about eight other cast members,” added Lohit.
Speaking about releasing the film on MX Player, he said, “It is a very big deal for us. We approached the streaming platform through the aggregators Purple Rock Entertainers who took over after post-production. Before filming, we had decided that She should be tailored for a digital viewing experience.”
“It was about 30-40 pages of content, and when it ran longer than an hour, I was determined to not release it on YouTube. The YouTube audience may not watch a film completely if you don’t hook them in the first few minutes. Since my script moves at a slow pace, I had OTT platforms in mind for the film’s release. We also shot and did post-production work as per OTT norms,” he added.
The filmmaker said that he had sent She to several streaming platforms, but some rejected the film even before watching it.
“Some big OTT platforms rejected the film directly, showing disinterest in Kannada films. A few platforms liked it but rejected it saying the genre is not in demand right now. That was when I met the aggregators in March who took over the job of approaching streaming platforms.”
“Of late, Kannada cinema is getting some recognition. There are two time periods — one before and one after KGF. After KGF, we have attained pan-Indian recognition as an industry. This has made it a little easier for Kannada filmmakers to approach people to showcase our work. However, things are still difficult,” he added.