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‘We had to develop chemistry with each cow’

Marathi film ‘Kharvas’, the opening film in the Indian panorama non-feature films category deals with the pain a woman goes through upon losing her baby due to still birth. Director Aditya Suhas Jambhale enlightens

CHRISTINE MACHADO | NT BUZZ

Losing a baby, is one of the hardest and most painful things that a woman can go through. And Aditya Suhas Jambhale having seen 4 to 5 cases of still births within a span of 2 to 3 years began realising how illiterate he was especially with regards to the medical issues a woman faces after losing a baby in this manner. “In fact, 90 per cent people don’t even know what still birth is in the first place,” he says. And it was this very factor, the lack of knowledge, that prompted him to make a film around this theme. “When it comes to issues like pregnancy or menstrual cycle we tend to get awkward about it. However of late there is more awareness of it with films like ‘Padman’ also being made. So the need to talk about this was also a reason,” he says. To execute this film, he sat down with women who have undergone the trauma and also with doctors.

The film on one level tackles society’s attitude towards women who have suffered such a trauma. “After the tragedy happens the protagonist does not want people to come and pay condolence visits and tell her to move on. Instead people should give these women space. Let her cry for a minute and when she is ready, let her talk about it, be it 14-15 days or 2-3 months later. By not giving her space, you are choking her,” says Jambhale.

Society should also not judge these victims for the way they perceive things thereon, he says. “When a woman loses a baby, every time she watches a child, she may feel differently then on, she may feel jealous. We need to understand that this is normal. She is a human being and she has suffered a huge loss,” he says.

The idea for ‘Kharvas’, he says began forming in his head a year ago while he was shooting his first film ‘Aaba… Aiktaay Na?’, which went on to fetch him the National Award. And the most challenging part of shooting the film was the climax which took place in the cowshed around a pregnant cow. For this, he had to learn about cows and calves from the vet.

“Of course we couldn’t shoot with a cow that was really pregnant, so we had to go through many photographs to choose an appropriate cow to be able to cheat the audience. We also did a mock shoot so that we could explore different ways to make it look authentic,” he reveals.

However, while they may have had the plan down on paper, they had to keep in mind that the entire scene depended on what the cow did. “For the first two hours after we started rolling, we didn’t get a single good shot and began doubting whether this would work,” he recalls. Jambhale then had to change the way in which the scene would be shot, with the sound people finally having to be put on the roof.

Apart from the main cow, the team also had to deal with the other cows in the shed. “It had to be like an authentic cow shed, we couldn’t have just one cow. So, we had to learn the behaviour of each cow and had to develop chemistry with each cow,” he said.

He is now all set to work on a Punjabi feature film in Amritsar which will be done in Hindi.

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