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Magnificent obsession

Published on : September 29, 2011
Magnificent obsession


Karan Gour's ‘Kshay' is the only entry from India in the New Director's competition segment at the Chicago International Film Festival


Obsession can take you places. It is taking independent filmmaker Karan Gour to the Chicago International Film Festival in October for the premiere of his micro-budget film “Kshay”.

“The Chicago festival has a spotlight on South Asia. So there are a few other films from India that are playing but ours is the only one in the New Director's competition segment,” says Shaan Vyas, producer of “Kshay”.

The psychological drama starring Rasika Dugal and Alekh Sangal is about a middle-class couple down on luck and the spiralling downturn in their lives after an unhealthy obsession takes over the wife.

“Kshay” (it means “corrode”) poignantly explores how far obsession takes you, how much it can corrupt and corrode all the values you once believed in. Set in the backdrop of recession, Gour's drama dwells on the deteriorating mental health of Chhaya (Rasika Dugal), an artistic woman, consumed by her desire to bring home the statue of Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, an unfinished one at that, simply because she likes the beauty of it without the distemper. But the mysterious creator of the piece quotes a high price — one she cannot afford. What makes things worse is that the husband Arvind (Alekh Sangal) has a tough month with his finances hitting an all-time low.

Drawing global attention

Often spooky and surreal, the moody black and white film, like the statue in it, is without distemper or polish and employs its raw finish to keep the proceedings unpredictable. And it has caught the attention of festival programmers with its unique treatment of a genre rarely explored in this part of the world.

“‘Kshay' is about the personification of an obsession,” as director Karan Gour explains his abstract film, which he first wrote in 2007 as a 45-minute short.
Limited resources

With limited resources at his disposal, Gour shot the film with a two-member crew. Just him and his cinematographer Abhinay Khoparzi. Gour not only wrote, directed and produced the film, he also ended up doing sound design, the sound mix and the music with money borrowed from friends, family and colleague, while Khoparzi chipped in with visual effects.

It took four years and a series of unfortunate events before Gour was able to finish the film as the makers struggled with the usual indie problems — losing locations, shooting with sync sound in the middle of chaos and system crashes that made them re-edit the entire film.

“Even the foley in the film is live and not stock or sample sounds because that would've seemed dishonest,” says Darshak Vyas, executive producer. “For music, both Siddharth and Karan (music directors) did their versions. So we actually had two soundtracks for the same film. The final soundtrack was a fusion of both the compositions,” he adds.

“Kshay” is proof that you don't need big budgets to make a film. A healthy obsession will do. Click here

Copyright © 2011, The Hindu

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