Movie : Catharsis
Director : Prakhar Gautam
Hello Prakhar, welcome to Scénema! Tell us how your journey started in the films?
The journey started a few years ago after working in the theatre world in New Delhi and directing stage plays, this was the next step for me particularly after the Pandemic hit the country and almost killed the theatre scene in our country.
What does film mean to you?
Film for me is an audio-visual medium where emotions, events and moments can be looked at in a microscopic way. Time can be dissected and reshaped into any form the filmmaker wants to give it. I see film as a way of telling a story through frames which goes deeper than just words, for me it’s poetry.
How would you narrate your passion for films.
I think i love the process. It is amazing how something that starts as an infant unconscious thought in someone’s brain takes the shape of an alternate reality. In essence, it is one person or a few people’s journey looked from many different angles but the beauty I feel is how people interpret it in their own ways. For me personally, it is a reason to get out of bed.
Prakhar, how did you come up with Catharsis?
I think it comes from a very personal space. I won’t say that I have gone through every experience my characters go through in the film physically but mentally, psychologically and for some spiritually, I think I have felt all those things at some point or the other. The film essentially talks about people who are using their own personal experiences to create instances in stories which maybe different when you first look at them but at a more psychological level, the seed of thought is the same. So I wanted to see a world where creations of two different writers are fictitious people building an intertwined story where the characters express the state of mind of the writers whether it is being jealous of a person who has more money, or going through a writer’s block or being in a tumultuous relationship or feeling unsafe or anything else that they go through. Ultimately, giving it the form of a story or any piece of art provides them with mental relief.
Catharsis is one of the purest feelings. Why did you pick up this term to name your film?
I think the name of a film forms the character. Particularly when the narrative of the film is experimental. I havent been explicit about the narrative in the film and there is no exposition. The characters don’t even have names. So for me the actors aren’t portraying people but portraying emotions instead. For me the storytelling begins as soon as I tell someone that the name of the film is Catharsis.
The film focuses on mental struggle and its pangs. How challenging was it to come up with something that demanded extreme emotional power!
At times it was demanding. More so for the actors actually. Because mentally I have something in mind and as a person I might be in a state of mind where the actors are not. I was fortunate to get some wonderful actors who helped me through it by giving it everything. While scripting it was actually cathartic for me. I dont think it was demanding. It made me feel good.
Tell us how your casting procedure was! How did you finalise your actors?
These are all actors i have worked with in Theatre. Ajay, Yukti, Jashan, Priyanka, Supriya, Saratt, Bhavy, Ayush, Anmol. I think there were some very difficult scenes in the film. Some of the scenes demanded them to get out of their comfort zone. Do things which were uncomfortable but i think they are all beautiful actors and even more beautiful people who give everything to their director and spoil him.
Prakhar, I am sure you have your vision as a director. It’d be great if you could share them with us!
I think for me a film should say more than what the characters say. It should also say what the characters hear. It should also say what the characters don’t here but feel. It should also say what the character’s want to feel. It should also say what the characters don’t want to feel. It should also in a way represent what the world thinks about the character and how the character thinks about the world. Filmmaking elements give the luxury of creating an immersive experience which helps a filmmaker get into the mind of the viewer.
Where do you see yourself in the next ten years, in terms of filmmaking?
I am not sure to be honest. I would like to make more films. Make films which have a certain budget but for that there are many variables which need to fall in place so I don’t really have a vision for where I want to be or the kind of work I want to do. Whatever I get to do.
What elements do you wish you had incorporated in the movie? What are they?
The film was made at a shoestring budget so if we had a little bit more money, I would have liked to work on the art direction of the film better. Probably get better equipment and then there are scenes that would look better and more cinematic. But this also has its own beauty. Maybe. People doing weird stuff at real looking locations. Good fun.
Lastly Prakhar, what are you planning next?
Many things actually. A lot of them but like I said most of them depend on where the money comes from. Currently I am working on a documentary which is about Music and its different forms in India.