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Mehsana Ascent Gujarati Film Kundalu bags Seven Awards at Jaipur Film Festival

Kundaalu કુંડાલુ (or ‘Circle’ in Gujarati) is the first feature film to be shot in Mehsana, in Mehsani, a dialect of Gujarati.

The film is written and directed by Rohit Prajapati, and produced by 3 Peepul Productions in association with Geet Theatre. The producers, writer-director along with most of the cast and crew are from Vadodara, with a few from other cities of Gujarat.

A drama, slice-of-life film in Mehsani, the film has been shot in picturesque locales in the villages of Mehsana in north Gujarat- this is the first of its kind ever. With a gripping story and screenplay, power packed performances by the cast, taut direction, and melodious music to elevate the story, Kundaalu is ready to take the audience on a journey of emotions. 

The film કુંડાલુ ‘Kundaalu’ (or ‘Circle’) is a portrayal of rural life in Mehsana, northern Gujarat (India), where marriage is of paramount importance in society. The story revolves around Mangu and Vikas, whose paths intersect but are torn apart by a tragic turn of events. We follow their journey, as they eke out their lives, voiceless, unseen and uncared for, within the rigid confines of a society bound by its traditions and customs.

Kundaalu won 7 awards at the acclaimed 16th Jaipur International Film Festival JIFF-2024, with awards being announced on 25th January 2024.

The awards won are in Feature Film category: JIFF Indian Panorama, as below-

Green Rose Award – The Film which gives Global Message

Yellow Rose Award – Upcoming Film with World Premiere

Best Music Award

Best Sound and Editing Award

Best Cinematography Award

Best Costume Design Award

Best Production Design Award

This is a huge achievement for a Gujarati film, and these are the very first awards for Kundaalu. The team comprising of the producers, writer-director, cinematographer and editor, lead actors and choreographer were invited to attend the screening and awards ceremony at JIFF on 13th February. The event was organized at INOX GT in Jaipur, with audience comprising of media and journalists, local families, and other film makers.

At the start, the Kundaalu team was felicitated by Mr. Hanu Roj, Convenor of JIFF, with certificates. This was followed by a discussion on “Gujarati cinema” where the team addressed the audience, answering questions from the interviewer. The writer-director Rohit Prajapati described how momentous it is for a film like Kundaalu that’s set in a small village in Mehsana to reach a prestigious festival like JIFF, and hoped that this will serve as an inspiration to other small filmmakers to persevere and dream big. The producers Suchitra Parikh, Neena Arora and Priya Krishnaswamy described their own journey with Kundaalu. Calling themselves “Accidental Producers”, they shared how Rohit Prajapati had approached them in search of a producer, and shared 4 lines of a story. Instinctively they decided to produce the film, and later resorted to google to learn about the role of a producer, and set up their production house ‘3 Peepul Productions’. The Associate Producer Priyaank Gangwani spoke about how the team acted like a start-up, with everyone taking on multiple roles, to create the film, under the director Rohit’s vision. The lead actors Sonaalee Lele Desai and Swayam described their own journey and preparation for the roles of Mangu and Vika – as both were challenging physically and emotionally. Sonaalee mentioned that she was instructed by the director to succumb to the role fully, and to trust in the process. She said that after hair and makeup was done for the first time, she couldn’t recognize herself in the mirror. The Cinematographer and Editor Sabyasachi Bhattacharjee shared how he envisioned the film like a painting, and tried to capture the beauty and richness of the land, its people and culture. The choreographer Akanksha Bhagia described the process she followed of researching the traditional dances of the region, to carefully choreograph the dance steps to remain authentic in the film.

The film screening was a huge success, with audience giving a long ovation at the end, followed by positive feedback and fulsome praise to the team. The team was interviewed by journalists and media, and photo ops.

Written & Directed by: Rohit Prajapati

Rohit, writer and director of ‘Kundaalu’, belongs to a village in Mehsana, which is the setting of the film. Rohit says, “I was inspired by certain real-life incidents and people in my village, and felt the urge to make this film. I want to show life the way it is in our village, where social norms are still governed by patriarchy, with undue importance on marriage. Our film suggests that there is a Mangu and a Vika somewhere within us. Like Vika, we all have some character flaws or inadequacies, that we keep hidden from others, as we try to fit in. Like Mangu, each of us carries a burden, metaphorically or literally, that weighs us down or holds us back from living life on our own terms. I hope ‘Kundaalu’ brings the culture, customs and traditions of our village to life.”

Rohit Prajapati is a theatre practitioner, writer, director, actor, and acting coach, based in Vadodara, Gujarat. He completed his Masters in Performing Arts, with major in Theatre, from Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), Vadodara, in 2017. He is the founder of ‘Geet Theatre’ – a theatre production company that has built a reputation for good quality plays on stage. Rohit has written, directed and produced several award-winning plays, as well as short films. Along with writing stories, his interests include creating music compositions and writing lyrics. His passion for storytelling and music, combined with his ability to connect with actors, to create honest performances on screen and on stage, make him a versatile director. Rohit’s keen understanding of the Indian context, and its varied nuances, translates into his storytelling and directorial vision, both on stage and onscreen.

‘Kundaalu’ is Rohit Prajapati’s directorial debut film.

Produced by: 3 Peepul Productions

Incepted in February 2021, 3 Peepul Productions is an impact production house focused on stories rooted in the Indian ethos.

The founders – Neena, Priya and Suchitra – have varied experience in theatre, business, consulting and management fields.

They say, “We hope ‘Kundaalu’ connects with the audience and tugs at their heart strings, the way it did ours when we first heard Mangu and Vikas’ story. This film was a labour of love, with tremendous efforts and meticulous eye for detail, to ensure we created a story that was authentic and true to the land and its people. We are honoured to produce ‘Kundaalu’ as our debut feature film, and are excited to see the journey it takes with the audience.

Being Vadodara-based filmmakers and films production house, we’re deeply grateful for the unconditional support we’ve received from our entire team, cast and crew, and numerous well-wishers from the film fraternity, on this journey of making the film together. We’re deeply grateful and humbled by the love our film has been receiving and hope to bring our film to the audience soon, in 2024.”

With a slew of films in the pipeline, ‘Kundaalu’ is the first feature film of 3 Peepul Productions.

Their first short film “Vishwamitri Villas”, an inclusive film with deaf and hearing amateur actors, also the first ever in the world, was entirely shot on Zoom, and has won awards and recognition at film festivals in USA, UK and UAE.

The post Mehsana Ascent Gujarati Film Kundalu bags Seven Awards at Jaipur Film Festival appeared first on OUR INDIA.

The post Mehsana Ascent Gujarati Film Kundalu bags Seven Awards at Jaipur Film Festival appeared first on First News Post.

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