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‘Killa’ soars on the wings of experience

By Sachin Chatte

Few directors hit bull’s eye like Avinash Arun has with his debut film ‘Killa’. The film won the prestigious Crystal Bear at the Berlin Film Festival this year and subsequently has won several other awards including the Silver Gateway at the Mumbai Film Festival.‘Killa’, selected to the Indian Panorama section of the 45th International Film Festival of India, was screened in the presence of a packed audience that included the likes of Mohsen Makmalbaf, who was also curious to watch the film. The film is partly an autobiographical account of the director.  “My father’s job was such that he used to get transferred every now and then and every time I forged some kind of a bond with one place, it was time to move”, said Avinash, speaking to NT Buzz.

The story is set in the Konkan area (it was filmed at Guhagarh). A little boy moves to a small village with his widowed mother. He is a bright child and gradually makes friends with children who have different traits. “Children have a small world, but they are very mature in their own right. The key was not to treat them as children”, said Avinash, who has extracted remarkable performances from the children. Parth Bhalerao has received a lot of praise for his performance and was also seen in Bhootnath Returns, thanks to ‘Killa’ and the word of mouth publicity that he got.

Avinash has been influenced by several directors, right from Tarkovsky, Bergman to contemporary filmmakers like Christopher Nolan. “A creative person has two tools with which he can work – experience and imagination. You can bring a great deal to the table with whatever you have experienced in life and that in turn can help your imagination soar”, he said.

Couple of years ago, he made a short film ‘Allah is Great’, which won quite a few accolades and Avinash, who is also a cinematographer, is presently filming Neeraj Ghaywan’s new feature. “Usually when I am behind the camera, the praise I get is that the frame or shots were very good. But, as a director now it is also nice to hear them saying good things about the story as well”, he adds.

The theme of the film, about kids growing up and forging bonds of friendship with other children, is universal and this was recognised in Berlin where it won the Crystal Bear. “I was very happy because the hard work paid off. The child actors were over the moon when we got the award.”

The film also stars National Award winner Amruta Subhash, who plays the role of the mother. The film is likely to be released in February 2015.

Avinash hails from Solapur and graduated from the Film and Television Institute, Pune and assisted the likes of Umesh Kulkarni and Anil Mehta before taking the plunge.  Still basking in the glory of ‘Killa’, Avinash has some ideas for his next project. While we discussed films he said something that is worth pondering over:  “If there is too much drama in the story, then it becomes filmi, whereas if a slice of life is presented in a proper manner, without dramatising or underplaying it, that is the perfect combination, and that is what the audience identifies with”, he said.

(‘Killa’ will be screened at IFFI again on

November 29 at 7.45 p.m.)

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