With A Nomad River,Aditya Patwardhan debuts as a feature filmmaker. A debut feature film always makes the viewers curious. There are several reasons for it, and the most significant one is the suspense that a new director brings in.
A viewer can only speculate- what fresh will this new director have for him on the platter. What could be his style of the narrative? His film's philosophy and personal philosophy and how these are presented through visuals and sound also make a viewer curious about the new film and the new director. And one more reason that creates this inquisitiveness is the purpose of the film? A Nomad River is a thought-provoking film, and is worth watching.
Filmmaker Aditya Patwardhan speaks more about A Nomad River in conversation with Utpal Datta...
Utpal Datta: Please let me know why one should watch A Nomad River?
Aditya Patwardhan: The very first line of the film is what may compel one to watch it- "Once there was a river, a river that flows within all of us, one that often can't meet the ocean... A Nomad River." Every character, situation, and theme in the film parallels this nomad river, and this river seeks an ocean or a Home.
Using Indian classical music, I have shown the philosophical and metaphorical meaning and Home, and by including the metaphor of a bonsai, we see what happens to a nomad river when it never finds its Home. The above allegories and we saw parallels within all the characters in the film, including society and civilisation.
Utpal Datta: The film combines a documentary film and a fiction film. How does the idea come to your mind?
Aditya Patwardhan: As I was writing the storylines for the film centred on the Rally for Rivers campaign and Indian Classical music, one thing was obvious: the two were very distinct themes in looking through the lens of fiction and non-fiction.
Taking inspiration from filmmakers like Werner Herzog and Gianfranco Rosi, I focused on fictional storylines with real-life circumstances and characters. So, I wrote the fictional storyline of Suraj within his real-life job as a street sweeper, the imaginary arc of Adriana and Ravi following the real-life rally for rivers and the story of Kankana following the real-life sitar maestro Krishna Mohan Bhatt and his teaching.
Utpal Datta: What was the film's budget, and what were the challenges you faced while filming?
Aditya Patwardhan: The film completed production at USD 300,000 and support from friends, family, and organisations who helped with equipment and logistics.
One of the biggest challenges faced during the filming was to find a balance between the fiction and non-fiction aspects of the story.
Though we had pre-determined storylines, we couldn't follow the exact arc as the filming was all extempore and based on actual events. Not only for direction, but even the actors had to be on their toes to adapt to any logistic or filming situation changes and change the performances accordingly.
In Kankana's storyline, we had Pandit Krishna Mohan Bhatt, a musician's background. We could not expect him to learn lines and improvise scenes, so Kanakana had to steer conversion and make changes on the fly to ensure the scene achieved the correct sentences that could be later worked upon in editing.
In Adriana's storyline, as we were travelling through for most of it, there were many changes to the locations, travel arrangements, etc., where we had to cancel scenes and re-write them for a different location at a couple of hours' notice.
Given all the extempore and improvisational nature of the production, as you can predict, post-production became of the biggest challenges and was a great learning experience to go through.
Utpal Datta: How you can describe the financial arithmetic of the film?
Aditya Patwardhan: I am mainly focusing on the OTT platforms in North American and Worldwide for viewership and revenue.
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To know more about Aditya http://patwardhans.org/about/