Director, Swaroop Kanchi chats to IndieReign about his feature length film, Bengaloored and his experiences as a filmmaker.
Swaroop Kanchi is an influential, Bangalore-based, independent filmmaker who has been making films since he was sixteen years old. Kanchi has had a wide range of experience as a self-taught filmmaker, working both independently and briefly in Hollywood, with films that have featured in festivals such as the New York Film Festival and the UK International Film Festival. Bengaloored, now on IndieReign, is a critically acclaimed hit, and we wanted to chat with Swaroop about Bengaloored’s success.
This film tells the story of an aspiring writer who returns to his hometown, reunites with his estranged father and childhood sweetheart. Bengaloored is one of the best low-budget films of recent times and we just had to find out more about it. Swaroop was more than happy to share with us more about the film along with some great, inspiring knowledge he wants to share with other filmmakers. Take a look at what he had to say…
I worked on a film in Hong Kong called Hong Kong Dreaming, I thoroughly enjoyed the process of discovering so many things about the city, so I decided then that I’d make a film in my city-Bangalore, with local characters in the film but both the films are vastly different. I travel a lot, when I came back to Bangalore from Los Angeles after about a year, I saw such a huge change in the city, things were rapidly developing and the old was giving way for new. This became the crux of the story for me.
What were some challenges that you faced when making Bengaloored and how did you overcome them?
The thing about independent cinema is that we never have enough money or enough time. So Bengaloored struggled with both. Since I also produced and directed this film, my mind was distributed between the two. I loved the creative aspects and thoroughly disliked talking money.
It seems like you had a really awesome cast to work with, how did you find and cast Bengaloored’s actors?
The lead actor Harish Raj has acted in several films in India and his movies have won several national awards. So He was a big addition to the film, he bought in a lot of experience and visibility to the film. He had never done an English film but that didn’t deter him. Most of the other actors too were from the film industry in India. Some did extensive theater, once they all read the script and loved it, there was no looking back, they all knew they wanted to be a part of this.
Is there anything about Bengaloored which makes it unique?
Many things I feel are unique, this was one of the few if not the first Indian independent English films by 2010 that released so wide theatrically in India. That was a big victory for us. Though this had no big ‘stars’ it still got a distribution contract, theatrically for home video and the music got a label to release through. Given the budget constraints, I would say this was a very big deal.
What was it that fed your passion for film?
I love making things, even as a child, I would sit by myself and tell myself stories since I didn’t have an audience. I’d make up stories about Batman and Mandrake the magician, how they’d save the world, and how I’d help them, stuff like that. As I grew older I made my friends believe I had an evil twin sister, who is half crazy- I would run home, change into my cousin’s frock, run out and act wild and scare my friends who actually thought I had an evil twin. So I loved this aspect. Just making stuff up for fun. This is the root I think for me getting into films.
How did you get your big break?
I tried to work once on a film set as an Assistant Director. I learnt very quickly that I could never be a film director this way, because I was learning to assist not to lead. Not to create or visualize. So I took the direct path, sold all the furniture, whatever else I had to fund my own film. I gave me my own ‘Big Break’.
Based on your experience, what are three bits of advice you would give to new filmmakers wanting to make their own movies?
1. Whatever you do, do with courage.
2. Never be satisfied, keep working hard, keep learning.
3. Don’t wait for a miracle to happen, do it yourself.
Do you have any other films you are currently working on?
I just completed my first Hindi film. A typical ‘Bollywood’ film. I’m getting ready to release it theatrically. It’s untitled as yet.
Can we expect to see any other films that you have worked on uploaded to IndieReign soon?
I would love to get more of my work on IndieReign, I think it’s a great platform for filmmakers today. It’s easy to set up and easy to watch.
Bonus Question! If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive who would it be and why?
Hmm I guess I would take Marlon Brando- get a few acting tips.
Thank you for filling us in on Bengaloored and sharing tips and stories with us (my personal favorite would have to be when you dressed up as your ‘evil twin’). Take a look at the trailer for Bengaloored and watch it at IndieReign for as little as $3.00.
Click here to buy Bengaloored and do your bit to support independent cinema.