Kavitha Lankesh: I would rather work with children than any big star
Her English-Kannada bilingual Summer Holidays is a children’s adventure film that is set for a monsoon release
Kavitha Lankesh’s Summer Holidays is her attempt to make a Blytonesque children’s film. The film, set for monsoon release, marks the debut of her daughter Esha along with Indrajit Lankesh’s son Samarjit, Sonia Hegde and Anish Angre.
This is a bilingual and Kavitha plans to first do a pan-India release of its English version and then screen the Kannada version. This was meant to be a summer release but logistical problems caused delays, she says. “However, this entertainer can be watched by children in any season,” adds the director.
The film follows these children who go on an adventure and stumble into a mystery. The story ends with a message on conservation. “It is a light-hearted film, told from their point of view,” she says. “I didn’t want it to be preachy and boring.”
In fact, Kavitha had taken a lot of inputs from the kids too. “Since we have lost that innocence, we tend to dumb down a story or take a patronising tone. But, I wanted the film to reflect their point of view,” she says.
The film also has Prakash Raj and Suman Nagarkar playing key roles. “My sister Gauri Lankesh too has a guest appearance in it,” she says.
Kavitha is known to make films with inspiring messages, but she believes that you can’t force a lesson down anyone’s throat. “I can’t do without a message, “ she says, adding, “But this is also an adventure. It is close to the slice-of-life genre.”
How easy was it to work with children? “I gave them a free hand and did a workshop with them which made it easy. Moreover, I am quite good at dealing with children. Almost all my films which had children have won awards. In fact, the children in the film had fun and forgot they were in front of a camera. I had to remind them off and on. They thought of the whole thing as a holiday,” she says.
“I would rather handle children than any big star,” says Kavitha, adding, “There is an innocence about them, a purity.”
Her style of working is his different from her father P Lankesh and brother Indrajit Lankesh. “Though I have not seen my brother’s work, I have always followed a corporate style of working throughout my career. I remember, when I did Crazy Loka with Ravichandran, I gave him a bound script and he was shocked,” she says.
She is confident that Summer Holidays will win over children. “Especially those in their class tenth,” she says. “I say this with confidence because I had a special screening with around 500 kids. They all loved the film.”
Kavitha feels that today’s films fail to connect with urban children. “We have good films about the lives of rural children, but we need to think about bringing an urban flavour into children’s films. That is why I wanted to make this a bilingual, in English and Kannada. Urban and middle-class children are exposed to English films, and I have targeted this category and am going for a pan India release,” she says.
Summer Holidays has music by Rohit Gandhi, cinematography by AC Mahender and editing by Jony Harsha.